In the past year, we have seen a number of districts and teacher organizations demand better working conditions through marches and strikes.
The most impressive one was West Virginia in February 2018; this strike essentially shut down the entire state of education as schools in all 55 counties were involved. Recently, the 2nd largest school district in the US, Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), had their first strike in 30 years; they were offered a generous salary increase, retroactive, but declined that initial offer in order to hold out for more, more that was needed for their schools and their students. This felt very impressive to me as well, it demonstrated the true teacher spirit, which is centered on service and kids.
LAUSD, its name, its size, its demands, allowed for an extreme spotlight on the state of education, and there were plenty of nervous watchers around the country. As an educator, what do I have to say about all of this?
It’s about time.
I believe that a living wage is a human right.
I believe quality education is a human right.
I believe that striking is a human right.
I do not necessarily agree with every tactic employed, or every demand, but I fully support the pursuit of better schools, and better working conditions for teachers, and kids.
Teachers deserve to be compensated for their work, and students deserve the very best school environments, schools enriched with trained staff, rigorous learning material, and a focus on their whole person (social, emotional, mental, and academic needs).
The victories over the past year are only the beginning of a long-standing battle for better education for every student, and every education professional. I only hope that we continue to discuss our collective needs and hopes for the future, and bring them into fruition — every child, and every educator, deserves the very best learning environment each and every day, we can make that our priority, and we can make that a reality.