Why teachers keep striking
More American workers – 533,000 – were involved in strikes or work stoppages last year than at any point since 1986, according to Labor Department data released Friday. The driving force behind this remarkable development: educators who are finally fed up with years of cutbacks and government indifference to public education. The two largest labor actions of 2018 were statewide teacher strikes in Arizona (involving 81,000 teachers and staff) and Oklahoma. “Statewide major work stoppages in educational services also occurred in West Virginia, Kentucky, Colorado, and North Carolina,” the Labor Department noted.
In 2019, teachers will continue standing up for public education. Last month, 33,000 educators in Los Angeles picketed, and thousands of parents and students rallied in support. On Monday, Denver teachers went on strike for the first time in 25 years.
The Los Angeles teachers succeeded in winning a new contract that, in addition to a 6 percent pay increase, brings reductions in class size; more nurses, counselors and librarians; and less standardized testing. The contract also includes a mayoral and district endorsement of a state school funding measure called Schools and Communities First; a district call for a moratorium on charters; a reduction of searches that criminalize students; and an immigrant defense fund.