Why teacher strikes keep happening (and why there’s no end in sight)
American teachers in the past year have mounted the most sustained educator protest movement in decades. Their relentless string of mass walkouts continues this week in West Virginia, where education unions abruptly called a statewide strike on Monday evening, and in California, which is bracing for a districtwide strike in Oakland on Thursday.
The movement started with cries for better pay and benefits for educators, and more funding for schools and classrooms. But it has evolved into a protest against the argument that has driven the bipartisan education reform agenda for the past two decades: that traditional public schools and the people who work in them are failing, and that they must be challenged by charter schools, private school vouchers, test-driven accountability and other forms of pressure to improve.
Here’s the latest on the teacher walkouts:
Why do teachers keep going on strike?
The teacher protest movement began in the run-up to the 2018 midterm elections. Educators in six conservative and swing states with weak unions — West Virginia, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Arizona, Colorado and North Carolina — thronged capitals to demand that politicians raise education budgets, sometimes by instituting new taxes.