how West Virginia’s Education Bill Will Punish Children #West_VirginiaFebruary 11, 2019
County school boards will be allowed to disregard how long a person has been teaching when choosing which workers to lay off.
That means teachers who are more openly critical as well as union-oriented ones will become easy targets for punishment, while their quieter colleagues will be discouraged from speaking out.
Beyond the way it suppresses our teachers’ ability to organize, the bill allows for the establishment of the state’s first charter schools.
For now, its future, and that of West Virginia’s public school system, remains unclear.
And just like West Virginia teachers set a strong precedent for organizers seeking equity in other states, legislation like this could set a dangerous precedent for politicians interested in using bullying tactics to silence the voices of their constituents, even at the expense of the state’s school children.
Just 11 months ago, West Virginia public schoolteachers took to the streets demanding a pay raise and more funding for health insurance.
Their efforts in 2018 resulted in seemingly positive change and a more sustainable wage, one that would prevent teachers from having to choose between their commitment to the students of West Virginia and their ability to make ends meet at home.
And their protests empowered teachers across the country to make similar demands.
In the 11 months since their strike, teachers in Oklahoma and Arizona have protested, and so have teachers in California , who walked out last month.
That’s partly why the education overhaul bill that was passed in the State Senate last week serves as a grim reminder that the fight for a better educational system is not over.
West Virginia’s law is unique from the majority of other states’ anti-bullying laws in that it focuses not just on developing procedures to investigate claims of harassment, but that it also focuses on the importance of appropriately punishing those who commit the bullying. While the school boards are given latitude to develop appropriate disciplinary action, some of the suggested punishments include warnings, suspensions…