Teachers in This Red State Just Shut Down All The Schools
Teachers are angry
Part of the reason Bernie Sander’s campaign during the 2016 Democratic Primary appealed broadly in red states was because he was talking about issues that have universal support. Abortion and gun rights may cause a political divide, but asking for higher wages is something every working-class American wants.
This is the case in West Virginia too, where a political “revolution” has been taking place, possibly in response to the progressive ideals Sanders garnered support for throughout the country. Or maybe folks there are just sick and tired of Republican dogma.
This revolution concerns teachers’ earnings, which have been ridiculously low. College professors at best make around $81,000 with a doctorate degree, while middle school and lower grade instructors make less than $50,000.
After state and federal taxes, most teachers barely earn the cost of living in the United States. This is a situation that will only get worse courtesy of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, which removes the ability for civil servants like teachers to write off expenses on their tax returns. Expenses like the school supplies most teachers buy for their students out of pocket, due to under funding of schools.
As a result, most of the teachers in West Virginia’s public school system have participated in a walk-out, resulting in the institutions shutting down due to the staff shortages. In addition to this, over 1000 individuals are at the West Virginia capital building in Charleston protesting the low income with the slogan “Fed up, fired up!”
The walk-out has been in the making for sometime, having garnered support under the social media hashtag #55strong, a reference to the number of counties in West Virginia. With official support from the Bernie Sanders-inspired group “The People for Bernie Sanders,” the walk-out is planned to last two days.
This isn’t the first time a teacher protest like this has happened in the state. On February 2, 2018, hundreds of teachers temporarily left the schools over the West Virginia Senate refusing to provide a three percent pay increase, as well as the legislature pondering a proposed rule that would eliminate teacher seniority.
Considering West Virginia, like most red states, is right-to-work and has no law protecting collective bargaining, these instructors are risking their careers by participating in these walkouts. But considering their livelihood is already impaired by mediocre income, and that their profession is an essential one, what choice do they have? And that is exactly the problem with “right to work” laws, and restrictions on bargaining. What they really mean is you’ll be lucky to work for less, and forget trying to strike a fair bargain.
And all to work in the crosshairs of maniacs, teaching and protecting our children. Teachers definitely deserve better.
Featured image by Tillsonbburg, via Getty images.
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