Opinions

Teachers Strike in West Virginia

I am all too familiar with the struggle that teachers face. Many people fail to realize that these individuals are nurturing the future generations. These individuals not only see students everyday and teach, but they become mentors. They not only teach students, but they manage most of the events and extracurriculars in the school. They shape students to become better human beings, and trust me, I know this from personal experience. I would not be where I am today without my high school teachers. Unfortunately, these individuals who care so much about the future of students are underappreciated for all the work they do.

I know this first hand. In my hometown of Galloway, New Jersey, my former teachers had started several school years in the Greater Egg Harbor Regional School District without  contracts. Last time I heard, there was a stalemate between the union and the school board over the multiple issues such as salaries and benefits. The union states that the board’s offer would also result in pay cuts. I am no stranger to seeing good teachers getting mistreated, and taken advantage of for all of the amazing things that they do for their students.

That’s why we must celebrate the victories when teachers finally get what they deserve. In West Virginia, after nine days of classrooms getting shutdown due to a teacher strike, a deal was finally made.

According to NPR, “The state’s governor and teachers union announced…they had reached a deal to implement a 5 percent raise for state employees across the board. And a little later in the day, lawmakers passed the measure with a unanimous vote.”

NPR also stated “Both Justice and the West Virginia Education Association celebrated the agreement even before members of the state’s House and Senate convened a conference committee to discuss it.”

Do not get me wrong, this is something to celebrate, however it is upsetting to know that it takes this much to make not only lawmakers, but people  realize that teachers are valuable individuals within this society. Personally, I find it quite disturbing that it takes this much protesting and speaking up for teachers to receive what they deserve. Is it really that hard to give the people who help shape students decent pay? Is it really that hard to give a human being a salary that they can make a living on? Is it really that hard to give these individuals decent compensation for quite literally raising the next generation of Americans? I do not find it reassuring that the education of 277,000 students had to be impacted before people started to realize that these teachers are essential and vital to not only society, but the communities they thrive in.

I believe this reveals on going issues within the educational system. This is just one of the many problems with America’s public education system. Let’s take a look at the reality of public education: Little to no parent involvement, schools closing due to lack of funding, overcrowding, lack of diversity in gifted education, stagnant school spending, the school to prison pipeline and so much more. Not all public schools are like this, however, there are a large amount of them that are. Americans need to start paying attention to where they send their children for eight hours of the day, and lastly, they need to start caring by getting educated about these issues.

Source: NPR.

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