STATS: West Virginia sparked the nationwide teacher rebellion with their two-week, statewide walkout in 2018.
STRIKE DATES: February 19-20
CRITICAL ISSUES: One year after their historic walkout, West Virginia educators went on strike again to stop a pro-privatization, anti-union bill. The leaders of West Virginia’s three educator unions called the statewide strike in response to Republican legislators’ efforts to push through a bill that would have legalized charter schools, funneled public funds into private schools through vouchers, and created financial penalties for teachers who go on strike. The bill was clearly retaliation against the earlier strike, with billionaire- backed privatizers hoping a win in WestVirginia would stop educators’ momentum and the string of pro-public education strikes across the country.
West Virginia teachers spent only a few hours striking on February 19 before the House of Delegates postponed the bill indefinitely. Teachers stayed out one more day to ensure that the bill was not sneaked back onto the agenda, and their two-day show of strength killed the bill.
VOICES: West Virginia teacher Jay O’Neal: “Ever since our action last year, teachers here have been watching in awe as these strikes keep popping off acrossthe country. But folks here were watchingLos Angeles—the second largest district in the country—particularly closely. They saw that the main issue in LA was that privatization, and charters specifically, had decimated and defunded the schools. It really woke people up. And then, when just a week after LA won, the Senate here drops this bill—well, educators already knew why charters were so bad for our students.”