Mar 5, 2018
West Virginia teachers are on strike for affordable healthcare and a pay raise. These teachers have pay that is ranked 48th out of 50 states and the District of Columbia.
Very serious about their strike, teachers planned ahead of time. They involved community groups and churches in solving a problem that they did not create, but which would be critical to their success. They needed to figure how to keep school children fed during their strike.
The poverty rate for children in West Virginia is 25 percent! Some undernourished students eat only one meal a day – the one they get through their school lunch program. Schools being closed during the strike might have cut children off from a vital source of food. With a quarter of a million students no longer in school, extra child care would need to be organized, and teachers planned for this as well.
Teachers resolve all kinds of social problems every day for their kids. In the U.S., the social safety net has been ripped to shreds. The charity of teachers and individuals has been stepping up to fill the breach for years.
In the wealthiest country in the world, the resources exist for the needs of the population to be met socially, at the level of society. But the money is being given – in one way or another – to the wealthiest tiny percent.
What is going on during this strike may appear to be just another day in the life of a teacher, but actually, what is going on is at a higher level. Strikers are showing that they can organize social remedies above and beyond what governments and businesses would ever do.