Greetings from the Burgh, where we are tracking a series of teacher strikes about to hit as the school year starts.
Teachers Strike at 42 Schools in Washington State
In the suburbs of Seattle, teachers have gone on strike at 42 schools in the Kent School District. Teachers say they want higher salaries, smaller class sizes, and more mental health support for students.
“Students and education staff need a level of support we aren’t getting,” Kris Hill, an English teacher at Kentwood High School, told KIRO-TV. “Counselors, in particular, have been one of our biggest concerns — they have about 400 students each. I have 150.”
Peoria Teachers Move to Strike
In Peoria, Illinois, teachers are also threatening to strike. Teachers says they are upset that federal money isn’t being spent on raises for teachers.
“The dollar amount that we’re apart here with contract negotiations, you’ve got the money, and you will be okay in the future to take care of the teachers. We’ve got to do something to retain teachers that we have, recruit new teachers, and boost morale,” Matt McCaw, Peoria Federation of Teachers bargaining chair told WMBD.
Philly Support Staff Could Strike Next Week
In Philadelphia, over 2,000 support staff have voted to strike next week unless demands are met for better working conditions and higher wages.
“There are still workers in our bargaining unit at the Philadelphia School District who make poverty wages. There are workers in this bargaining unit who have not been trained to mitigate asbestos, they have not been trained to de-escalate dangerous situations in schools, they have not been trained on what to do if there is an active shooter. This is unacceptable,” John Bynum, Assistant District Leader at SEIU 32BJ told WCAU.
300,000 Teacher Shortage Nationwide
Conditions are ripe for more strikes with school districts facing a massive teacher shortage. Nationwide, schools are 300,000 teachers short of where they need to be to meet the need of students. Union leaders cite the burnout from COVID as well as low salaries and crowded classrooms.
“The political situation in the United States, combined with legitimate aftereffects of covid, has created this shortage,” Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, told the Washington Post. “This shortage is contrived.”
Help Us Track Teachers’ Strikes
As teacher strikes happen across the country, please send us tips at firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can track them.
Alright, folks that’s all for today. We will be back with much more tomorrow.
Love & Solidarity,