Teachers across the nation decided to stand up this year for both themselves and their students. While several things were accomplished because of their protests, many teachers still remain frustrated with the lack of changes they are seeing.
Arizona: Teachers in Arizona were requesting a 20% salary increase for next school year, in addition to raises each year after that. Six days of protests led to a law being passed that will raise salaries by 20% over the course of three years.
Colorado: State employees were looking for adjustments to their retirement program, while teachers in the Pueblo City School District protested for five days against unfair wages. While the state employees were not victorious, the local strike in Pueblo yielded good results, with teachers seeing a 2.5% raise.
Kentucky: Teachers were looking for changes to the recently passed pension reform bill, in addition to overrides of Governor Bevin’s vetoes of budget and revenue bills. While no changes were made to the pension reform bill, the governor’s vetoes were successfully reversed.
North Carolina: The North Carolina Association of Educators was requesting an increase in wages. After a day of protests, the legislature passed a bill promising a 6.2% raise by next year.
Oklahoma: The teacher’s union in Oklahoma was seeking a $10,000 raise for teachers and a $5,000 raise for support staff. Nine days of protests led to a $6,100 raise for teachers and a $1,250 raise for support staff.
West Virginia: Teachers protested for nine days over unfair wages and changes to their health insurance plan. The governor finally agreed to a 5% raise for teachers and signed an order to fix their insurance program.
Teachers were also protesting for better school funding. Lawmakers in Kentucky agreed to a funding increase of $4,000 per student. In Arizona, a bill to provide new textbooks and updates to school facilities and technology was passed.
Disappointment at the lack of changes has led many teachers to pursue roles in public office. Teachers like Travis Brenda from Kentucky are seeking election next year and have vowed that they won’t stop fighting for themselves and their students until real progress is made.