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Teachers

Massachusetts Illegal Teacher Strike Wave Rolls On

A wildly successful, illegal three-day strike by the Andover Education Association in November has reverberated statewide for educators in Massachusetts. The lowest-paid instructional assistants got a 60 percent wage jump immediately. Classroom aides on the higher end of the scale got a 37 percent increase. Members won paid family medical leave, an extra personal day, fewer staff meetings, and the extension of lunch and recess times for elementary students. Andover is 20 miles north of Boston, and the strike involved 10 schools. For 10 months and 27 bargaining sessions, the Andover School Committee had insisted that none of these demands was possible.

Teachers Push For Ceasefire, With Education, Agitation, Resolutions

When Becky Pringle, president of the 3-million-member National Education Association (NEA), the largest union in the country, tweeted, “We join our partner organizations along with Jewish and Muslim leaders across the globe in an urgent call for an end to the violence,” it was one more step in the growing movement among union activists demanding a ceasefire in Palestine. Teachers unions including the Chicago Teachers Union, the San Antonio Alliance of Teachers and Support Professionals, and the Massachusetts Teachers Association were some of the first unions to sign on to a ceasefire resolution spearheaded by the United Electrical Workers and Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 3000.

50 Reasons Why Portland Teachers Are Striking

There are more than 4,500 educators and 45,000 students in Portland Public Schools (PPS) in Oregon —and that adds up to about 50,000 reasons why Portland Association of Teachers (PAT) members are going on strike tomorrow. These dedicated educators and students don’t have what they need—and deserve—to be successful.  Here are 50 more reasons:  REASON #1: Enormous Class Sizes: Portland teacher Tiffany Koyoma-Lane has had as many as 31 students in her third-grade class, competing for her attention. Frankly, not all of them get it. “The difference between 21 and 31? Every student and family gets less of me,” she says. Class size caps would improve learning, union members say.

First-Ever Strike For Portland Teachers Tackles Student Needs

The Portland Association of Teachers (PAT) walked out on strike today, closing 81 schools. The 4,500-member union is demanding more counselors, more planning time for teachers, more support for special education students, smaller class sizes, and increased salaries and cost-of-living adjustments. The union’s demands “are a paradigm shift for the state of Oregon,” said ninth grade teacher Sarah Mykkanen. “We aren’t just reacting to something negative, we are demanding a whole new view of what schools do, of how schools give students what they need.” The union represents classroom teachers in the Portland Public Schools.

The Chicago Teachers Union Won Big; What Comes Next?

On the last Friday of summer break, Stacy Davis Gates was in high spirits. At a back-to-school party in the parking lot of Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) headquarters, she bounced from one group to another, smiling as she posed for photos with alderpersons, union activists, parents and children. Davis Gates, who has been the president of the CTU for a little over a year, has good reason to be happy. In April, Brandon Johnson, a former middle school teacher and CTU organizer, was elected mayor. And Chicago Public Schools (CPS) CEO Pedro Martinez, who often mentions that he’s a product of CPS, was also at the party, beaming and shaking hands.

Southern Washington Educators Are On Strike

A huge picket line stretched nearly a half mile around the Washington State Evergreen Public Schools headquarters on Sept. 1. It was the first day of school, and 1,500 educators from Evergreen County, on the third day of their strike, were joined by 450 Camas County educators who had been out since Aug 28. Evergreen School District No. 114 is a public school district in the state’s Clark County, and serves the city of Vancouver, Washington. Passing cars honked, and chants rose from a sea of red Tee-shirt-wearing teachers, all carrying strike signs reading “Evergreen Education Association: ON STRIKE!” Numerous local area businesses put up signs in their windows supporting the educators’ strike.

‘Big Bargaining’ In Oakland Led To Big Gains

After a seven-month contract campaign and a seven-day strike, the Oakland Education Association won substantial raises and broad benefits, including “common good” demands. It was a hugely popular tentative agreement—ratified with a 90 percent yes vote, with nearly 80 percent of members voting—in large part because of our “big bargaining” approach, meaning an expanded bargaining team with robust communication back and forth with the members. Thanks to big bargaining, the union has 50 new leaders who have developed confidence and skills. Now they want to learn how to keep up the fight at their schools by enforcing the contract.

Plenty Of Black College Students Want To Be Teachers

A growing problem in American classrooms is that teachers don’t resemble the students they teach. Eighty percent of the nation’s 3.8 million public school teachers are white, but over half of their students are Black, Hispanic, Asian, Native American and mixed races. The small slice of Black teachers has actually shrunk slightly over the past decade from 7 percent in 2011–12 to 6 percent in 2020–21, while Black students make up a much larger 15 percent share of the public school student population. A Black teacher can make a positive difference for Black children. Research has shown that Black students are less likely to be suspended and more likely to be placed in gifted classes when they are taught by Black teachers.

New York City Teachers: Vote No And Fight For More

Three years ago, we were essential frontline workers, heroes that kept this city running. Now; we are barely worth 3%. But our value is *so* much more than what this contract offers. Yes, there are some decent things, the city knew they couldn’t get away with giving us nothing, so they sprinkle in a few concessions to make it appear like they care; a sign on a bonus, a reduction in time it takes to move up in pay scale. These victories matter and we deserve them. We also need to be sober and honest with ourselves that sub inflation 3% annual raises, even with bonuses, utterly pale in comparison to what teachers desperately need and deserve in todays economic landscape, and essentially amount to a pay cut from previous years.

The 2023 Oakland Teachers Strike: An Assessment

At the end of May, I closed the books on my tenth year as a classroom teacher, my seventh in Oakland Unified. When the year got underway back in August of 2022, I was hoping for something that had eluded me for most of my time in OUSD: an uninterrupted school year. While contract negotiations were set to take place, I did not anticipate any major escalation on the union front. For most of the year, that proved to be the case. But then shortly before spring break, word spread that the Oakland Education Association (OEA) bargaining team wanted to escalate to a potential strike before the end of the year.

Teachers’ Strikes: Government Is Refusing To Negotiate

Teaching unions have accused the government of stonewalling and refusing to enter into negotiations, as teachers in England and Northern Ireland started a fifth day of strikes on Thursday. Dr Mary Bousted, a co-head of the National Education Union, apologised to parents facing another day with their children not in school, but said teachers were striking for the future of education. She said there were strike exemptions for vulnerable children, and for children in years 6, 11, and 13 who were preparing for exams. “I apologise to the parents and say that this is not what the National Education Union wants to do, it’s not what its members want to do,” she said on the BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

65,000 Los Angeles Education Workers Are On A Historic Three-Day Strike

Los Angeles, California - 65,000 workers from Service Employees International Union Local 99 and United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) began a three-day strike on Tuesday, March 21. SEIU Local 99 workers are striking amidst contract negotiations around higher salaries, more full-time work schedules, better treatment, and more staffing. The SEIU workers represent a broad cross section of school staff, such as bus drivers, custodians, campus aides, and cafeteria workers. The union claims that apart from refusing to budge on key workers’ demands such as a 30% raise and more full time hours, the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) is also harassing and threatening workers for participating in union activity.

Black Educators Are Reimagining A Better School System

Woodbridge, VA - The plastic sign displayed prominently on De’Ana Forbes’ classroom door is especially fitting this week. In big bold letters: ​“Warning! History Teacher Zone. Your understanding of the past may be corrected at any time.”  It’s early in this sleepy suburb 45 minutes outside Washington, D.C., and the sun is still rising over Freedom High School as students jog inside from late-arriving buses, backpacks half-hung over shoulders with winter coats swinging. They push through crowded hallways and hurry to first period.  Forbes, 28, who teaches U.S. history and social studies, is one of many teachers across the country participating in the annual Black Lives Matter at School Week of Action, held this year February 6 – 10.

‘If They Strike, We Won’t Cross The Picket Line’

Los Angeles, California - Following weeks of uncharacteristically gloomy days, the weather broke late in the afternoon on Wednesday, March 15, seemingly in preparation for the 4:30 PM Unite for Los Angeles Schools rally in Grand Park outside City Hall. The gathered crowd buzzed with excitement and righteous indignation. Drums and horns sounded, signs and t-shirts were given out and street vendors peddled everything from cotton candy to tacos, making the event feel more like a music festival than a rally. Our headliners? Leaders from two of the largest unions in Los Angeles County.

Teachers And Education Workers Set To Strike!

Los Angeles, California - On Wednesday March 15, tens of thousands of teachers and education workers rallied at the steps of Los Angeles City Hall.  The joint rally of K-12 teachers (UTLA) and education support staff (SEIU 99) was organized to announce plans for both unions to go on strike, with SEIU 99 taking the lead in the fight for better wages, improved staff to student ratios, and an end to harassment by administrators. The mood was lively, with a mariachi band made up of teachers playing for the crowd, teachers and support staff dancing to the music, and pockets of teachers and education workers striking up impromptu chants and banging on homemade drums.
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