Senate votes; West Virginia teachers say strike won't end

Gas companies dictate policy

Oklahoma comes closer to joining West Virginia in a major teacher strike

Yet, as the West Virginia Education Association noted on their Facebook page, the Senate had actually made a colossal mistake, and sent the wrong bill back to the House.

The rest of the committee members have supported the 5 percent, which was already passed 98-1 by the House.

"They believed that we were bluffing when we said we would hold their feet to the fire", Lee said while calling for the strike to continue. But the Republican-controlled state senate balked and offered a 4 percent raise, with an eye toward saving $17 million in the state's budget. "For crying out loud, we are putting our children at risk", he said in a statement on Saturday.

"What spurred this momentum was so many teachers across the state are at their wit's end", said Teresa Danks, a third-grade teacher in Tulsa who is also the founder of the nonprofit Begging for Education.

There was such a crowd that Capitol Police became concerned about midday and, at least temporarily, shut down the entrances for the general public.

So many teachers and supporters crowded the capitol that the state public safety department and fire marshal barred entry to any more visitors. All 55 counties announced school closures for Monday.

"You can't put students first", read another demonstrator's poster, during a rally in early February, "If you put teachers last".

In related news, public school teachers in Oklahoma- a state with similarly low pay for its educators- are in the midst of planning a statewide strike of their own, and are no doubt following developments in West Virginia with rapt attention- as we all should be. Additionally, I truly want goodness for all of our state employees and all West Virginians.

Educators are trying to get the state Senate majority to agree to an average 5 percent raise, saying that, plus a task force on health insurance, is the key to re-opening West Virginia schools. "The bill will now go to the House for a vote". Community members have given Vasale fruit, cheese sticks and pizza to help feed the kids while they're at her house. In fact, states like California and Florida compare far worse, with only three months of average rent per month in income.

Lawmakers from the state Senate and House convened Monday afternoon to try to reach an agreement that meets teachers' demands. By comparison, teachers in NY state average about $75,000 per year. The suggestion was rejected by the Republican leadership.

As English teacher Katie Windicott noted in a New York Times interview, a 1 percent pay raise "equals out to 88 cents every two days".

The teachers are eager to return to work but need more than a promise by the Legislature, Joe White, executive director of the West Virginia School Service Personnel Association, told CNN. It looks now like the teachers militancy to strike at time when their students are leading lockouts. Please remember, only about 10-20 percent of the people on the PEIA insurance system are school personnel, the other 80-90 percent of the public employees on PEIA include our DOH workers, DHHR workers, WV corrections workers, and our WV state troopers just to mention a few.

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