West Virginia Teachers Striking Over Law That Would Allow Charters and Vouchers for Special-Needs Students

Walkout unmasks how unions put kids second when it comes to publicly financed education.


Nick Gillespie

Public schools in 54 out of 55 counties in West Virginia shut down today, in anticipation of a statewide strike by teachers. The reason? Legislation that would, among other things, create a voucher system that could be used by special-needs children to pay for private school and allow for as many as seven charter schools. Charters are publicly funded schools that operate with more autonomy (and less funding per pupil) than traditional public schools. West Virginia doesn't currently allow charters.

The pending legislation, whose final form hasn't been hammered out, would also give teachers a 5 percent pay raise. In 2018, West Virginia teachers struck for higher pay, eventually getting a 5 percent salary hike and inspiring other walk-outs around the country. From NPR:

Details of the controversial bill have changed—sometimes dramatically—as it bounces between the two legislative chambers. At one point the Senate version of the bill would have allowed an unlimited number of charter schools. The House bill subsequently limited the number of charter schools to two and killed the voucher program; the Senate's amended version permitted seven charter schools and reinstated vouchers for up to 1,000 students who have been bullied or have special needs.

In short, the specifics are in flux. But the state's three teachers unions are watching carefully.

"They have made this bill so ugly in the Senate, and we've been told they have support in the House," [Fred Albert, president of the American Federation of Teachers' West Virginia chapter], told the Gazette Mail. "We feel that we have no other measure but to send the message that we're following this hour by hour."

And making sure that as few kids as possible have choice in education.

Read more here.

According to U.S. News & World Report, West Virginia ranks 45th among the states in K-12 education. West Virginia is one of just seven states that doesn't allow charters.

Related: "What Really Drove Los Angeles Teachers To Go on Strike?"

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  1. When will parents learn that the teacher union gives no shits about your children?

  2. From the linked article:

    “That bill angered school workers because it would’ve allowed unlimited charter schools to form in West Virginia, which currently has none, and would’ve provided public money for private-, online- and home-schooling and tutoring through vouchers, called “education savings accounts.” Full-time public school students would be barred from having ESAs.

    That version of the bill also would have allowed county boards of education to downplay or disregard seniority in deciding which employees they lay off or transfer to other jobs when they are faced with layoff decisions.”

    Can’t allow competition and you have to protect seniority so established teachers can chill in the lounge more relying on the younger TAs to deal with the kids.

    1. Wouldn’t it be funny if the charter/voucher schools paid teachers more than the government schools? Oh, but they expect results? Fuck that shit.

  3. It’s for the children.

  4. Just like how the left claims to have compassion for the poor, when in reality they don’t give a flying fuck. All they care about is their power, not how good these schools are.

    That’s a feature, not a bug.

    1. :… flying fuck”, excellent, see my post directly below yours.

  5. Why do airline safety instructions always tell parents to put on their own oxygen masks first, children second?


    Now you know why the State must come first.

    1. Because a child is incompetent and a competent adult should make sure they’re not going to pass out first before helping those who can’t help themselves. Basic crisis management. Duh, McFly!

  6. Look, all you need to know is that choice is bad and state-run institutions are always the most efficient way to do things.

    -Teachers Union

    Now, consider these are the people who are teaching your children. Yeah, what could go wrong?

  7. For some reason — unlike doctors, lawyers, accountants, financial advisers, security guards, airline pilots, and other people in careers where they have the potential to royally screw up someone’s life — teachers must not be subject to competition.

    1. Well, doctors, lawyers, and to some extent accountants are protected by unions (state certification boards, the AMA & Bar, etc) from competition. It’s a big reason why both are so expensive.

      1. Fair enough. But taxpayers aren’t forced to pay the salaries of government-sponsored doctors/lawyers/etc. and then pay for the same service again if they want to use non-government-sponsored ones.

        1. We sort of do, actually. Who do you think pays public defenders?

          1. “sort of” is doing a lot of work in that comment.

  8. Did we victim-blame when Sally field held up the “Union” sign in Norma Rae?

  9. I’ve been having a semi-regular conversation with some teacher members of my family. I don’t antagonize them about it (they have become hypersensitive to criticism) but I do asl questions that probe whether they understand who is paying, who the customer is, what the product is etc.

    Thdy have no awareness of any of that. They repeatedly discuss issues from the perspective of having total autonomy to both design and implement their preferred policies.

    1. I tried in the past to explain to them that their obliviousness and disregard for what parents and taxpayers value is one of the things fueling charter schools. Lack of results is another. Every time the discussion veered off into “critical incidents theory” and extollations of social justice, and how it will be transformative, and until systems of education that respect “black and brown” student needs are implemented nothing will change. Charter schools are racist attempts by the powerful to detract from the transformation of education.

      I then ask what makes them think they can demand parents give them money and their children. It usually breaks down at that point.

    2. Trying to not antagonize statists is only possible by staying away from them. If you ignore them, that pisses them off. If you try to reason with them, you are anarchosplaining or fascplaining. If you try to agree with them, they just dig deeper and deeper until their own inconsistencies bite them in the ass, and that’s on you again.

      1. They are family. Changes things a little bit but your point is taken.

  10. Government schools are public jobs programs that, unfortunately, have to deal with children.

  11. Can all of them. Replacements can’t be any worse.

  12. “When school children start paying union dues, that’s when I’ll start representing the interests of school children.”
    – Al Shanker – President, American Federation of Teachers (AFL/CIO)

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