Monday, April 16, 2018

Teachers rising up in rebellion of 'everyday heroes': Randi Weingarten

Oklahoma teachers' walkout happens when you don't prioritize education:
Teachers rising up in rebellion of 'everyday heroes': Randi Weingarten

Melissa Smith has 30 students in her criminal justice class in an Oklahoma City high school — but only 20 desks. Remedial help for students struggling with reading and writing is gone at English teacher Anna Graven’s Oklahoma City high school, so each year they fall further behind. A student in Ada, Okla., just found Blake Shelton’s name in the plate pasted on the inside of one of her dog-eared textbooks. The country music star used the very same book in 1982 — 36 years ago. Many textbooks (if teachers even have any to distribute) are even older and held together with duct tape. A 20-year science teacher in the Sooner State left the profession to make more money as a part-time dog groomer.

Teacher advocacy for excellent, equitable, safe and well-funded public schools and livable wages started long ago, but the recent walkouts that started in West Virginiaand spreading across the country have captured the attention of the public because of the David vs. Goliath nature of the battle.

Teachers are standing up for their students and themselves against largely red states with weak labor laws and where governors and legislators have opted for tax cuts for the wealthy instead of investments for children. This has left education conditions deplorable and educators pauperized. The movement has even become a verb of sorts. “Don’t Make Me Go West Virginia on You” was the message on an Arizona teacher’s sign as she protested at her state capitol.
This movement is a rejection of years of austerity budgets that have stiffed education funding and kids’ futures in favor of tax breaks for the wealthy and corporations. Twenty-nine states spend less today on public education than when the recession began in 2007. But educators, students and parents are taking on the budget shortfalls with tangible results.
West Virginia, with a Republican governor and GOP-majority House and Senate, voted to give public employees, including educators, a 5% raise, and created a task force to fix health insurance costs, rescinding the premiums hikes in the meantime.
Oklahoma, also with a Republican trifecta, voted for the first time in 28 years to raise taxes to provide new revenue for teacher pay raises and school funding. 
The days of passive resignation are over. Educators, students, parents and concerned Continue reading: Oklahoma teachers' walkout happens when you don't prioritize education:

Latest News and Comment from Education