West Virginia Teacher Strike

A work action has been initiated today in West Virginia, and all county schools (save one) are closed because of a really bad education bill that the Senate is trying to ram through:

A little less than a year since the start of West Virginia’s first statewide public school workers strike, leaders of the state’s three major school employee unions called Monday evening for another strike to begin, starting Tuesday, over the education overhaul bill.

All but one of West Virginia’s 54 countywide public school systems canceled school Tuesday. The outlier was Putnam County, which is among West Virginia’s wealthier counties and is near the state Capitol.

“We are taking action,” said Fred Albert, president of the West Virginia branch of the American Federation of Teachers union. “We are left no other choice, but, as of tomorrow, we are calling a statewide strike.”

He briefly referenced that he’s been told there’s support in the House of Delegates for a version of the bill that the unions oppose.

Long story short, the Republican led legislature in the state, which did not even mention “comprehensive education reform” as a legislative priority before the session started, has been up to their usual bullshit. Sen. Majority Leader Mitch Carmichael, who is as wingnutty as they come, was dead set on retribution for last year’s strike, so some heretofore relatively unknown Senator introduced a piece of ALEC written legislation with all sorts of nonsense, to include charter schools, union-busting, and a whole sort of stuff that had no chance in the House of Delegates.

The Senate, being the Senate, passed it anyway despite the fact that Republicans in the House said they hated it, the Republican governor said he would veto it as is, and virtually everyone who has ever worked in or works in education said the bill is horrible. It then went to the House of Delegates, which promptly stripped most of the crap (you can get a good look at the changes here) and passed it with a bipartisan majority. It was then sent back to the Senate.

Once back in the Senate, they promptly went back to putting all the crap back into it, including jacking up the number of charter schools, removing a provision that said legislators can not profit off charter schools, and reincluding measures to punish unions and prohibit striking. The Senate Republicans refused to allow the minority party to see the bill, and wanted to rush a vote for last night, but there was so much outrage that the votes were postponed until today. It’s a bad bill, but these are Republicans and don’t give a shit. My Senator, William Ihlenfeld (you might remember I volunteered for him and we fundraised for him) put it this way:

Last night, the comprehensive education reform bill was amended by a 18-16 vote and now will go back to the House of Delegates for consideration. Changes from the most recent House version include the increase of charter schools from 2 to 7 and putting ESAs back in after they had been removed. The amendment (130+ pages worth) was worked on all weekend by the majority without any input from the minority, and then provided to everyone 10 minutes before we were asked to vote. This is not how government is supposed to work but it is how the West Virginia Senate operates in 2019.

I voted against the Senate Amendment because of the expansion of the charter schools provision, the addition of ESAs, the uncertainty of what else was in the amendment (even the lead sponsor admitted she hadn’t read all of what was being proposed), the lack of real input from West Virginians, and the oversized influence from outside interests like ALEC and the the Koch brothers-funded Institute for Justice. We don’t need outsiders to tell us how to run our system of education in West Virginia but that’s what has happened with SB 451.

The House Version that was passed last week wasn’t perfect but it was much better than the mess of a bill that the Senate passed out originally. What the House sent back to us was a gift and Senate leadership should have accepted it and said thank you. Instead, they refused it, and added back in much of the garbage that the House had removed.

I’m hearing that the House of Delegates may have the votes to pass the Senate version but that the margin is very slim. I encourage you to contact your representatives to let them know how you feel. Make sure that your voice is heard as you may be able to persuade those who are on the fence.

If you are an educator and will be in Charleston today, please stop by my office in W-229 and say hello. If you need a place to put your jacket, charge your cell phone, or fuel up (I have lots of candy), my office is your office. I hope to see many of you today at the Capitol, and despite what the Putnam superintendent did, we are still #55Strong.

We’ll see what happens next. Now we have to watch as the legislature tries to ram through campus carry over the objection of every educator and educational establishment in the state.

29 replies
  1. 1
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷 says:

    We’ll see what happens next. Now we have to watch as the legislature tries to ram through campus carry over the objection of every educator and educational establishment in the state.

    Their opinions don’t matter to the GOP, Cole, as I’m sure you’re aware. They’re just a bunch of libturds, after all //

  2. 2
    rikyrah says:

    Good for the teachers 👍

  3. 3
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    Parents who suddenly have to find a place for their children during the day will be flooding the phone lines.

  4. 4
    Kay says:

    I’m proud of them.

    Charter teachers are also going on strike, BTW. Much smaller, but in a way smaller is much more difficult.

    PARMA, Ohio — After a last-minute negotiating session over the weekend failed to reach a deal improving teaching and learning conditions, Summit Academy Parma teachers officially went on strike Tuesday morning outside of the Stumph Road school.
    “Since we announced the strike last Tuesday, we met Friday for an 11-hour negotiation,” said Summit Academy Parma Intervention Specialist Mike Meyers, who is a member of the union negotiating team. “The teachers were willing to go into the weekend, but one of the negotiation members of the Summit Academy Management team was not able to stay past 1 a.m.

    Some Chicago charter teachers just came off a 9 day strike.

  5. 5
    Brachiator says:

    Republicans just can’t help themselves. They just gotta do venal shit under the cover of political darkness. The federal level Republicans pulled this same act in crafting the tax bill without input from Democrats.

    The state Senate must think that the average citizen hates teachers and children and public education.

  6. 6
    MattF says:

    Time for another strike. Looks like WV Republicans have a need to be smacked hard, repeatedly.

  7. 7
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Brachiator:

    Republicans just can’t help themselves. They just gotta do venal shit under the cover of political darkness.

    It’s what criminals do.

  8. 8
    rikyrah says:

    @Brachiator:

    Republicans just can’t help themselves. They just gotta do venal shit under the cover of political darkness.

    Uh huh
    Uh huh
    Truth

  9. 9
    SenyorDave says:

    @Brachiator: Republicans just can’t help themselves. They just gotta do venal shit under the cover of political darkness. The federal level Republicans pulled this same act in crafting the tax bill without input from Democrats.

    As long as the people of West Virginia continue to elect a majority of Republicans to the state legislature (59% of both state House and Senate is Republican) and to the governor’s office (current governor switched from Dem to Rep in 2017) there is no reason for The Republicans to behave otherwise.

  10. 10
    Matt says:

    removing a provision that said legislators can not profit off charter schools

    Every member of the GOP is a criminal, given even the smallest profit opportunity. Lock them all up.

  11. 11
    stinger says:

    Political crooks hate having a well-educated populace. So do billionaire crooks, to ensure a vast subrace of low-wage earners.

  12. 12
    Ruckus says:

    @Brachiator:

    The state Senate must think that the average citizen hates teachers and children and public education.

    I’m sure they do but as usual it’s projection. What the average citizen hates is politicians. Having been lied to constantly by republicans and told that all politicians are the same for decades now, many citizens don’t trust anyone to do anything reasonable for them. The only saving grace now is that the republicans have gone all in, like the dude who stated that the Klan should go clean up and a lot of people who were complacent because both sides, are realizing that it isn’t both sides. Will it be enough? Will the women be able to go in and clean house, once again, after the men couldn’t help themselves but shit everywhere? Let’s hope so and support moms everywhere, to get it done.

  13. 13

    It’s heartening to see teachers striking. We need more and stronger unions in this country. An awful lot of the economic backsliding we’ve been through over the last 40 or 50 years happened because the unions dwindled. If we can get back on track as a society, we’ll have unions to thank in great part, teachers’ unions in particular.

  14. 14

    If you want labor friendly policies vote for Ds. Simple.

  15. 15
    Brachiator says:

    @Ruckus:

    I’m sure they do but as usual it’s projection. What the average citizen hates is politicians. Having been lied to constantly by republicans and told that all politicians are the same for decades now, many citizens don’t trust anyone to do anything reasonable for them.

    Two things are required for a lie to be effective. Someone’s got to tell it, and someone has got to believe it. Governments are not going away. We are not going to have anarcho-libertarian Nirvana anytime soon. So citizen distrust is pointless, and anyone who stubbornly depends on that while letting state (or federal) governments do stupid shit will never get out of the hole that they are digging for themselves.

    @Smedley Darlington Prunebanks (formerly Mumphrey, et al.):

    It’s heartening to see teachers striking. We need more and stronger unions in this country. An awful lot of the economic backsliding we’ve been through over the last 40 or 50 years happened because the unions dwindled.

    Unfortunately, I think unions are pretty much played out. I don’t see them coming to our rescue anymore.

  16. 16
    ThresherK says:

    I’ve read about all the “God is Not Dead” movies. Waiting for that lot to write teacher strikes into the evulz’ plans for the next one.

  17. 17
    cmorenc says:

    @Smedley Darlington Prunebanks (formerly Mumphrey, et al.):

    It’s heartening to see teachers striking. We need more and stronger unions in this country. An awful lot of the economic backsliding we’ve been through over the last 40 or 50 years happened because the unions dwindled. If we can get back on track as a society, we’ll have unions to thank in great part, teachers’ unions in particular.

    Unions didn’t “dwindle”, they’ve been incrementally strangled by legislation (during times of GOP congressional/legislative control) and administrative policy/rules (during times of GOP control of Presidency/governorships) – but also because the greedy/corrupt leadership of too many unions a few decades ago gave an unfortunate assist to GOP efforts to weaken and undermine support for unions. For example, the Teamsters Union under the late Jimmy Hoffa, so closely tied-up with the mob that they successfully put out a hit on him when they thought he crossed them. Unfortunately, that’s the image of unions too many Americans still have.

  18. 18

    @Brachiator: They could make a comeback in our second gilded age.

  19. 19
    daveNYC says:

    So the House of Delegates stripped out the garbage, the Senate put the garbage back in, and now the Delegates are looking like they might pass it? Did something meaningful change, or was the initial rejection just theater?

  20. 20
    JaySinWA says:

    @Brachiator:

    Two things are required for a lie to be effective. Someone’s got to tell it, and someone has got to believe it.

    “A lie is not a lie if the truth is not expected.” is a “joke” from salesmen that we are seeing played out. There is a war on truth and objective facts that means your second requirement is not a requirement at all since the objective is destruction of faith in any truth at all.

  21. 21
    JaySinWA says:

    @daveNYC:

    Did something meaningful change, or was the initial rejection just theater?

    Someone is whipping the rebels into submission.

  22. 22
    Karen says:

    @stinger: That’s why a lot of schools around the country have gotten rid of Civics. They don’t want people to know the Constitution or their rights. If they had their way people wouldn’t be taught to read.

  23. 23
    wv blondie says:

    Patricia Rucker is my state senator, and she’s a f*ing moron.

  24. 24
    Anonymous At Work says:

    If there is one benefit to Trump, it is his demolition of the paper mache excuses. Everything Republicans now do is nakedly about power. Usually, there’s more than a little racism, which is still about power, in there as well.

  25. 25
    Fair Economist says:

    18-16? So it would have been a tie and failed if Ojeda hadn’t backstabbed us by quitting.

  26. 26
    khead says:

    The WV House killed the bill. Teachers back to work tomorrow.

  27. 27
    laura says:

    @Brachiator: Please! People still want and need Unions. Unless the tender mercies of the Owners of America are acceptable to you in their present form.
    I’m writing this after having walked my 6hour shift on the picket line at Marin General Hospital – and I left the house at 4am to make the drive there and 2 hours plus drive back.

    If you want to support workers generally, and Union workers:
    Never cross a picket line
    Shop with worker friendly vendors like Costco
    Support striking workers
    Vote Democrats into office.

  28. 28
    laura says:

    @laura: and another thing…..the Supreme Court nuked my career from outerspace with the Janus decision. 20 years as a Union worker and 20 years as a Union Business Rep. Now, I’m expected to put the same amount of effort into representing non-members as I do on Union Members. If I fail to meet the expectations of those free riders and their anti-union law firms, I get sued PERSONALLY, not in my professional capacity.
    So I’ve got a stake in this.

  29. 29
    Ruckus says:

    @Brachiator:
    Probably dead thread but still

    So citizen distrust is pointless, and anyone who stubbornly depends on that while letting state (or federal) governments do stupid shit will never get out of the hole that they are digging for themselves.

    So very true. However that doesn’t mean that citizen distrust doesn’t exist.
    And for example do you trust the current government? Yeah I didn’t think so. Neither do I. But I’d also bet that both of us do see government that we can trust and that is the difference. We see the distinction between shit and shit with honey on top and a decent government. A lot of people don’t see that.

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