We’re several days into the Teacher’s strike or work stoppage or whatever you want to call it. I have so many words to say about the subject – most of them are cursey, yelly words directed at the State Senate. I’ve made my position on education quite clear over the years and it will never change. Education is incredibly important. Not all education comes from books or classrooms and right now, we are all getting a hell of a lesson in how government works and how easy it really is to shove a stone in the cogs and bring everything grinding to a halt.
I absolutely stand behind our teachers. WV has one of the lowest pay scales, is 45th in education, and currently has a teacher shortage in the hundreds. There are hundreds of vacant positions, hundreds of teachers who are desperately needed but no one will fill them. Why won’t teachers come to West Virginia? See that pesky pay scale thing. Why are teachers leaving in droves? Again, see that pesky pay scale thing. That is all before we throw in the insurance issue which is ultimately what this whole kerfluffle is about when you boil the numbers down. It’s so bad here, they’re discussing lowering the requirements for teachers. How can we compete nationally when we can’t get teachers in our classrooms?
The State Senate is holding every child, every parent, every teacher hostage and they will likely never suffer any consequence for it. It’s a game, a power play, and it isn’t fair. Not to the teachers, not to the kids, and not to the parents. We haven’t seen the end of this, not until the Committees have met, discussed, brought the right bill to the vote and actually passed it and the Governor has signed it. Then we’ll get back to normal. Then we can look to the future and hopefully start filling those vacancies and bringing up that 45 number.
There are a number of people where I’m at who are floating a petition so the kids don’t have to make up the time in June. I disagree with that personally. I think our kids deserve to learn those days worth of stuff. I’ve got a kid who needs to take his SATs and AP tests so we can start looking at colleges for him – maybe he doesn’t need those days, those lessons, those discussions, but maybe he does, maybe his friends do. Some people might think that’s punishing our kids, making them go into June but it isn’t. It’s investing in their future. There are plenty of places where kids are in school to mid-June. You want to keep your summer plans, call the Senators, call your Representatives and tell them. Get angry at the people who are really holding everyone hostage by dickering around and trying their level best to destabilize our public school system. It might not be perfect, it might need a lot of work, but it’s better than the alternative.