CHARLESTON, WEST VIRGINIA 一 Three years ago, West Virginia education workers set the stage for what would be a series of strikes by teachers and school service personnel across the country. 55 Strong showed the power of solidarity in 2018, striking for a much-deserved raise and the promise of a permanent fix to PEIA, and once again in 2019 over the nefarious omnibus education bill. Now, Republican legislators are putting forward a series of retaliatory bills aimed at breaking this working class movement. Codifying the illegality of public employee strikes, imposing rigid guidelines against “divisive” curricula, reducing the requirements for becoming a certified teacher, and advancing charter school legislation that will drain public resources are how Republican legislators show their appreciation to our educators.
The Mountain Party opposes in the strongest possible terms these anti-education bills. They do nothing to advance the cause of equitable education in West Virginia, nor do they provide the tools necessary for retaining qualified educators. Instead, these bills will simply provide the impetus for veteran teachers to flee the state, opening the doors to further privatization and decimation of public schools.
We believe that all public employees should have the right to engage in collective bargaining, and must retain the right to engage in collective action where needed.
We believe that our teachers know our students best, and can devise engaging lessons without the imposing oversight of those who have never been in their position.
We believe that education certification should not be so brazenly loosened, as teaching is a highly-skilled profession and should attract those with the knowledge and pedagogy to work in that field.
Furthermore, we believe that charter schools and educational savings accounts unnecessarily drain funds away from public schools and place them in the hands of private corporations. The Mountain Party unequivocally supports West Virginia’s teachers and school service personnel in their opposition to these reactive bills. 55 Strong began during a time of deep crisis in our state. Their perseverance and courage rang out from the hills and ignited a revolution nationwide. Now, with the eyes of the country set yet again on West Virginia, Republicans are showing how they truly wish to govern when no opposition is given to them. Undoubtedly, our educators are worn out from having to fight this fight year after year. Only true solidarity with our educators from all working class people in West Virginia can stop these attacks on our education system.