#RedForEd: West Virginia Teachers Strike over Charter School Bill Governor Vows to Veto

Thousands participate in a protest at the Arizona Capitol for higher teacher pay and school funding on the first day of a state-wide teachers strike Thursday, April 26, 2018, in Phoenix. A sea of teachers clad in red shirts and holding "Money for Schools" signs reached the Arizona Capitol to …
AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin

West Virginia teachers will continue to strike into Wednesday, although Republican Gov. Jim Justice has vowed since January he will not sign into law an education bill allowing charter schools and education savings accounts in the state.

The New York Times, however, reported the teachers’ strike led to an immediate “victory” when the West Virginia House of Delegates voted Tuesday to table the bill. Similarly, the Associated Press reported union leaders were celebrating the decision of the West Virginia House of Delegates to kill the education bill that led to the strike:

The West Virginia strike – the second one in a year – is being fueled by #RedForEd, a social media campaign that is the mantra of a socialist movement supported by the national teachers’ unions and first launched in Arizona by Marxist teacher Noah Karvelis.

“It was clear today that the House heard our voice,” American Federation of Teachers’ West Virginia chapter President Fred Albert said Tuesday about the tabling of the bill, although he added that the teachers would be “staying out one more day to make sure that this is a dead bill tomorrow.”

However, since January, Republican Gov. Jim Justice had already been pledging to veto such a bill if it arrived on his desk.

The Associated Press reported January 29 that Justice pledged a veto and urged lawmakers, instead, to pass an additional five percent raise for teachers and state employees without the charter school expansion and education savings accounts that are the main issue for the unions.

“You’re going to take all of the good that we’re putting together and ruin it,” the governor said. “When you have the opportunity to give, you ought not give and put a receipt in the box.”

Justice is especially opposed to charter schools.

“For crying out loud, we have to concentrate on our public schools,” he said.

Earlier in January, West Virginia Metro News also reported Justice said his state was not about to gamble on charter schools.

“I just believe that today as we strive to provide a better education for everyone, we don’t really need to cherrypick the privileged until we get our public education system in a really good way,” he said.

Republican State Senate President Mitch Carmichael supports charter schools, however, and said not voting for them is the equivalent of voting for the status quo.

Republican State House Speaker Roger Hanshaw said he generally supports educational reform but not specifically charter schools.

“People mean different things when they use that term,” he said.


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