Teaching Profession News in Brief

W.Va. Teachers Go on Strike Across State

By Madeline Will — February 27, 2018 1 min read
Jennifer Hanner, a first-year teacher from Harts, W.Va., center, holds a sign last week, outside the state Senate chambers at the Capitol in Charleston, W.Va. Teachers statewide went on strike Thursday over pay and benefits.
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

All 55 counties closed down schools because of the walkout. The strike—the first in 30 years—is considered illegal, but that hasn’t stopped hundreds of teachers from heading to the state capitol to protest.

West Virginia teachers’ salaries are among the lowest in the nation. According to National Education Association research of 2015-16 teacher salaries, teachers in the state make an average of $45,622. The national average is $58,353. Teachers have called on the West Virginia legislature to fund both pay raises and the public employees’ health-care program.

The night before the strike, Gov. Jim Justice, a Republican, signed legislation that will give teachers a 2 percent increase starting in July, followed by an additional 1 percent hike in each of the next two fiscal years. At the governor’s request, the controversial benefits plan was delayed for a year.

Still, the state teachers’ unions have said the pay raise is not enough.

“Teachers and service professionals are tired of being told, ‘Wait ‘til next year,’ ” Dale Lee, WVEA’s president, told West Virginia Public Broadcasting. “There’s still a tremendous amount of anger and frustration.”

In 1990, West Virginia’s then-attorney general wrote in an official opinion that teacher strikes and “concerted work stoppages” are illegal and that teachers could be punished by being denied pay, suspended, fired, barred from teaching in a public school for a year, charged with a criminal misdemeanor, or even fined or jailed if they do not comply with a court injunction ordering them to return to work, according to local media.

In a statement, Patrick Morrisey, the state’s current attorney general, said his office would assist and support officials as they enforce the law.

State schools superintendent Steve Paine also called the statewide strike unlawful, saying in a statement that it “will have a negative impact on student instruction and classroom time.”

Teachers’ unions have lawyers prepared to defend teachers against any consequences, the Charleston Gazette-Mail reports.

A version of this article appeared in the February 28, 2018 edition of Education Week


School Climate & Safety K-12 Essentials Forum Strengthen Students’ Connections to School
Join this free event to learn how schools are creating the space for students to form strong bonds with each other and trusted adults.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Reading & Literacy Webinar
Creating Confident Readers: Why Differentiated Instruction is Equitable Instruction
Join us as we break down how differentiated instruction can advance your school’s literacy and equity goals.
Content provided by Lexia Learning
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
IT Infrastructure & Management Webinar
Future-Proofing Your School's Tech Ecosystem: Strategies for Asset Tracking, Sustainability, and Budget Optimization
Gain actionable insights into effective asset management, budget optimization, and sustainable IT practices.
Content provided by Follett Learning

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Teaching Profession Download Downloadable: 5 Ways Principals Can Help With Teacher Burnout
This downloadable gives school leaders and teachers various ways to spot and treat teacher burnout.
1 min read
Silhouette of a woman with an icon of battery with low charge and icons such as a scribble line, dollar sign and lightning bolt floating around the blue background.
Teaching Profession Massages, Mammograms, and Dental Care: How One School Saves Teachers' Time
This Atlanta school offers unique onsite benefits to teachers to help them reduce stress.
3 min read
Employees learn more about health and wellness options during a mini benefits fair put on by The Lovett School in Atlanta on May 8, 2024.
Employees at the Lovett School in Atlanta meet with health benefits representatives during a mini benefits fair on May 8, 2024.
Erin Sintos for Education Week
Teaching Profession Opinion How Two Teachers Helped Me Weave a Dream
A journalist and debut book author dedicates her novel to two of her high school English teachers.
Anne Shaw Heinrich
3 min read
0524 heinrich opinion keller fs
N. Kurbatova / iStock / Getty Images Plus
Teaching Profession Data Average Teacher Pay Passes $70K. How Much Is It in Your State?
Teacher pay is growing faster than at any point since the Great Recession. But it's lower than a decade ago when accounting for inflation.
3 min read
Illustration of a man holding oversized money.
Nuthawut Somsuk/iStock/Getty