Why Teachers are Still on Strike

In a movement sweeping through multiple states across the nation, teachers in the public education system have been on strike in statewide fashion, fighting for pay equality and public justice in the workplace. In states like West Virginia, Arizona, Kentucky, and Oklahoma, educators are facing serious cuts to the resources available to them, despite incoming student numbers increasing and thus the demand for employees in public education also increasing while availability to resources plummets. For such large numbers of teachers to be put in the position to take on more students and fully educate them without the proper resources has undoubtedly hurt the public education system, and is one of the plethora of contributing factors to why these educators are still on strike today.

In West Virginia, teachers were on strike for almost three full months, fighting for equal and fair pay in the workplace. Teachers like the ones in West Virginia have been unfairly compensated for their work for years now, and the current political climate has only made this more challenging for these educators. Teachers in states like Oklahoma, for instance, are among some of the worst paid educators in the nation,  average salaries coming in at around $45,000, a number that puts them at 50th worst pay out of all the states in the union. To top this all off, it can be observed that teacher pay has decreased a solid two-percent from 1992 and 2014, and the raises educators are asking for are mostly being only half-fulfilled.

The issues with how finances are dispersed throughout the system goes further than fair wages, too. Many of these schools are also under-resourced, many unable to provide adequate school supplies for all of their students. In states like Kentucky and West Virginia, teacher’s wages have decreased around three-percent in an eighteen year period, while real per-pupil spending increased over thirty-five-percent in that same period. It is because of these numbers teachers are performing walkouts, strikes, and demonstrations.

It is imperative from here on out that we start to see education systems functioning in a way that takes into deep consideration the needs of the teachers and the students. These educators are public service workers to the country, and to foster education growth in the nation’s youth is of utmost importance. If the minds of the future are not nurtured with the proper resources, teachers won’t stop fighting until they are. The persistence of the teachers demonstrated by these strikes should only further display this and confirm that this battle isn’t over until we see improvements in how we treat public education.