Friday, April 27, 2018

Teachers won't to take it anymore ...

Ever since the Great Recession began in 2008, states have been responding to shrunken tax revenues by cutting funds for schools. Mostly that means holding down or cutting teacher salaries and benefits.

According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities:

Most states cut school funding after the recession hit, and it took years for states to restore their funding to pre-recession levels. In 2015, the latest year for which comprehensive spending data are available from the U.S. Census Bureau, 29 states were still providing less total school funding per student than they were in 2008.

... In 19 states, local government funding per student fell over the same period, adding to the damage from state funding cuts. In states where local funding rose, those increases usually did not make up for cuts in state support.

In West Virginia, Kentucky, Oklahoma, and now Arizona and Colorado, teachers have had enough of pay freezes and increasing payments for health insurance. They want respect and to be compensated for the undeniable value of their work.

Most of us agree with them according to an NPR/Ipsos poll.

Just 1 in 4 Americans believe teachers in this country are paid fairly. Nearly two-thirds approve of national teachers' unions, and three-quarters agree teachers have the right to strike. That last figure includes two-thirds of Republicans, three-quarters of independents and nearly 9 in 10 Democrats.

... the 63 percent approval rating of "national teachers' unions" among the general public was 21 points higher than the approval expressed for "the U.S. Department of Education leadership."

That difference was driven by Democrats, 80 percent of whom approved of the unions, while just 37 percent supported the Department of Ed. Among Republicans, 55 percent expressed support for unions and 54 percent supported the Education Department.

Until it breaks through, you never know where insurgent energy for justice will come from, but it is often contagious once it breaks through.

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