West Virginia is in the middle of its second-ever teacher strike. Teachers, this time joined by school service personnel, walked off the job Thursday, when thousands came to the state Capitol to show their frustration with legislators and Gov. Jim Justice over what the employees believe are inadequate pay and benefits and harmful legislation. Of the employees who didn’t come to the Capitol, many demonstrated outside their schools and in their communities.
By a wide margin, members of the House of Delegates approved a bill Tuesday that would force state officials to eventually implement work requirements for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, commonly referred to as food stamps.
The House of Delegates passed a bill Wednesday that supporters say will reduce the number of burdensome regulations in state government while opponents say the bill targets an issue that’s not an issue
Friday, Carmichael made a motion with his hand to ask for quiet. It had some effect. Part of what he said had to do with his belief that the Legislature already has made several moves to improve pay and to shore up the Public Employees Insurance Agency. He also thanked teachers for being here.
He got a few words out, but they were muffled by the crowd of thousands. During part of Carmichael’s talk, some in the crowd chanted “O-je-da,” a reference to the Democratic senator from Logan County who is running for Congress.
West Virginia teachers want Gov. Jim Justice to know they are not dumb bunnies.
“He underestimates us. He underestimates us. He doesn’t think we’re as smart as we are,” said Melissa Turley, a middle school teacher in Logan County. “To refer to us as dumb bunnies just shows us that he’s not very smart.”
In the Needville Independent School District just outside Houston, Texas, the superintendent reportedly sent out letters threatening three-day suspensions for any student who joins in on walkouts…Now colleges are standing up for the teenage activists, saying it won’t affect their admissions decisions if they get suspended for protesting.
According to Bradley, then-Gov. Gaston Caperton had reneged on the promise of a 5 percent pay raise and fully covering the cost of health insurance of the teachers who were 49th in pay. Bradley quoted the governor as saying, “On the issue of teacher compensation, there isn’t a whole lot of dispute between teachers and this office,” he said. “We agree that they are paid too little, period. But it’s another thing to find the money to make a difference.”
It is now 28 years later and the issues haven’t changed. The state of West Virginia is still 48th or 49th in teacher pay depending on the source. The average pay in West Virginia is $45,000 which is misleading when the base pay is $33,000. Most teachers can work close to 20 years and not even reach average pay.
Has anyone else noticed a different feeling in the air leading up to this teacher strike compared to 1990? A feeling is difficult to quantify, but perhaps it started a few weeks ago as teachers sent delegations to their county school board meetings.
Frustration over low pay and non-existent across-the-board raises has been building for years, as teachers quietly continued to perform their jobs dutifully despite an average pay level that ranks among the lowest of the 50 states.
Since 1950, the U.S. population has more than doubled, while West Virginia’s has shrunk by about 10 percent. The state has among the lowest rates of workforce participation, ranks low on educational attainment, ranks 49th in per capita income, and ranks 50th in U.S. News and World Report’s list of best states for business environment.
According to participants, who for obvious reasons didn’t want to comment on the record, it was a rather contentious affair — particularly since Loughry’s reorganization resulted in many senior administrators being demoted out of leadership positions through the consolidation of 27 divisions down to six.
Education is a public good. The states with the highest percentage of college graduates — Massachusetts, Colorado, New Hampshire, Maryland, New Jersey, and Connecticut — are the most prosperous. The state’s with the fewest college graduates — Alabama, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Arkansas and West Virginia — are the poorest. It’s as simple as that.
Last month, the Trump administration opened the door for states to, among other things, make employment a condition for Medicaid, the insurance program for the poor. It has already approved Kentucky and Indiana’s waivers, and at least eight other states have asked the federal government for permission to make similar changes. Several more are likely to follow suit.
New provisional data released this month by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that drug overdose deaths declined in 14 states during the 12-month period that ended July 2017, a potentially hopeful sign that policies aimed at curbing the death toll may be working.
It’s hard to put a number to the cost of the opioid crisis. But that didn’t stop Minnesota’s largest county from trying. After being caught by surprise when various costs started spiking, officials decided to take a hard look at the budget.
“Nine terrified children ran from one of the classrooms when the gunman paused to reload, while two youngsters successfully hid in a restroom,” Judge Robert B. King, of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, wrote in the majority opinion. “Another child was the other classroom’s sole survivor. In all, the gunman fired at least 155 rounds of ammunition within five minutes, shooting each of his victims multiple times.”
“We as a country failed our children,” said a visibly angry Andrew Pollack, whose daughter, Meadow, was among those killed in last week’s high school massacre. “I can’t get on a plane with a bottle of water. But some animal can walk into a school and kill our children. … It should have been one school shooting, and we should have fixed it.”
State and local officials who have clamored for years for the federal government to increase spending on infrastructure projects like highways, transit and water systems won’t get much new money under President Donald Trump’s infrastructure package. But they could get help building those projects more quickly.