A year ago, teachers in every school in all 55 counties in West Virginia closed down the schools when they walked out to protest low pay, high healthcare costs, and the looming threat of school choice.

They were promised a 5% salary increase, a commission to figure out how to low healthcare costs, and a veto by the governor if the legislature tried to pass school choice, which would drain even more money away from the state’s ill-funded schools.

The legislators lied. They are in the midst of passing legislation to pull the rug out from under the teachers, the kids, and the public schools. The legislature wants charters and vouchers, even thought the governor promised to veto such a bill.

The teachers are going out again.


CNN reports:

(CNN)Almost a year after West Virginia teachers and other school employees shut down schools across the state, demanding higher pay and better benefits, union officials announced Monday night they would go on strike again.

“We are left no other choice but as of tomorrow, we are calling a statewide strike of our teachers and our service personnel,” said Fred Albert, president of the West Virginia American Federation of Teachers chapter. “We’re left no other choice. Our voice has been shut out.”
Last year’s work stoppage lasted nine school days and resulted in almost daily rallies at the state capitol in Charleston. It ended after lawmakers brokered a deal that resulted in a 5% pay raise for teachers and school personnel and created a path toward better health insurance.
But this year, tensions have swirled for about a month in West Virginia since the state Senate brought forward a dramatic omnibus education bill that was poised to reform the education system across the state, according to Dale Lee, president of the West Virginia Education Association. While the bill did include the promised pay raise that resulted from last year’s strike, it also included the introduction of charter schools to the state as well as the creation of education savings accounts that parents could tap into for homeschooling or private school tuition.
The bill has bounced around the state Legislature for the past few weeks, spurring worry among education advocates and teachers in West Virginia, and some changes were made in the House of Delegates to walk back some of the most sizable proposals. Pressures came to a head on Monday when the bill returned to the state Senate, which added an amendment that reinstated a lower number of charter schools and would allow for 1,000 education savings accounts. The bill in its amended state passed the Senate on Monday night.
Mitch Carmichael, president of the West Virginia Senate, tweeted about the bill on Monday evening, writing, “Comprehensive education reform that will improve student performance, provide parental choice and empower teachers is coming — because parents, taxpayers, and job providers want our broken public education system fixed now.”
CNN reached out to Carmichael for further comment.
Union leaders and other activists said Senate lawmakers who proposed the bill did not speak with anyone in the education community about the substantial changes proposed in the bill