Readers who still think teachers are striking over money should look at what just happened in West Virginia. A year after the state’s 20,000 teachers struck to get a 5% pay raise and no reductions in rich benefits, they walked off the job Tuesday to kill an education reform bill that would have increased school choice and accountability.
The West Virginia Education Association gave the walkout order to defeat legislation that would have allowed all of seven charter schools in the state over the next three-and-a-half years. The bill would also have created educational savings accounts for private or online schools and removed seniority as the only criterion for teacher layoffs. Competition and judging teachers by student performance are mortal threats to the union K-12 monopoly.
Sorry to say, Republican Gov. Jim Justice surrendered so fast that West Virginians should start calling him the former Governor. On Tuesday he promised to veto the reform if it passed, and legislators in the state House of Delegates shelved the bill indefinitely. The de facto Governor now is teachers union chief Dale Lee. The losers are the state’s children, who score below the national average in test results.