20,000 US Teachers Are On Strike in West Virginia: Shocking Reasons + Map with Closed Schools
West Virginia is all over the news headlines. While teachers continue the strike, the schools across the state stay empty for the first time in a decade. According to The Washington Post, the strike has had an impact on 277,000 public school students, which resulted in closing all of 680 schools in the state’s 55 counties.
Why Are U.S. Teachers On Strike?
The shocking report by the National Education Association has revealed that West Virginia ranked 48th for average teacher salary nationwide. According to the same report, the state was 1 of just 5 states where the median teacher pay went down in 2016.
The teacher crisis has been caused by a series of business tax cuts leaving the WV budget with the insufficient amount of funds to give public servants a meaningful pay rise. More than a half of West Virginia’s 55 counties border a state with higher wages for educators. Last spring, there were 700 vacant positions in education.
The situation is compounded by the fact that most educators are still repaying their student loans. With 1-2% pay rise, taking any more loans to continue education is likely to jeopardize one’s financial stability. The pay rise bill signed by the Governor Jim Justice on February 21 didn’t suffice West Virginia teachers. The legislation failed to cover the insurance and health care costs. Hence, the educators went on strike.
The History of West Virginia Teacher Strikes
Previously, West Virginia educators went on strike almost two decades ago, in 1990. Then, the schools were closed for 11 days. The current teacher walkout was initially scheduled to last for Thursday and Friday. However, the WV local unions decided to continue into the last week of February. The president of the American Federation of Teachers-West Virginia, Christine Campbell, announced in front of thousands of educators that schools are to be closed on Tuesday, February 27.
How To Find Out Which Schools Are Closed?
The West Virginia Department of Education has put up a map showing which schools are closed to date. If you wish to get timely updates and be the first to learn if your school is open, do the following:
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