Teacher Strikes in the USA

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Teacher Strikes in the USA

Postby willie23 » 04 May 2018, 04:04

Hello all,

I have been out of school now for 5 days because my teachers here in Arizona, USA, decided to go on strike. The reason, they claim, is that they want to force the Governor to increase the budget for Education in Arizona. AZ isn’t the only state that this is happening in: Oklahoma, West Virginia, and Kentucky are all experiencing teacher strikes.

My school district, DUSD, shut down all of its schools for 5 days starting last Thursday. Then, the administrators informed us that they would proceed to tack all of these days into our two month summer...which is really irritating for a lot of reasons. For one, my summer job starts the day after school let’s out. I’m not the only affected person. Many teachers in my District are Filipeno and miss their families back home in the Philippines. So, I know of several that have bought plane tickets to the Philippines the day after school let’s out...what are they supposed to do now? What I’m saying is, it seems as though the teachers that are going on strike are doing more harm than good.

These teachers claim that the State funds its prisons more than it funds schools. Many of our textbooks are 10 years old or more. We don’t have enough computers, and, most importantly it seems, teachers just don’t get paid enough. I have had teachers tell me that they can work in adjacent states and make 30K more...then why are they here? My teachers tell me that they are not in it for the money, that they are only here for us kids. Then why are they going on strike, that’s not helping us kids. At the same time, AZ is ranked 48 out of 50 US states in education. Really poor teachers in my state.

I haven’t heard any word from Governor Ducey about any changes. So what has this strike done for anybody except cause problems? I have been transferred to a New Mexico school because my parents are not interested in dealing with problems and they can’t afford to have me in school during the summer. NM is ranked 50/50, but we’ll see.

Is there anyone else affected? Any opinions out there?

Regards,
Willie

Edit: I don’t want to call any teacher from AZ on the site a bad teacher, I just have some poor ones myself. DUSD is not a great District IMHO.
Last edited by willie23 on 04 May 2018, 05:03, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Teacher Strikes in the USA

Postby asudevil » 04 May 2018, 04:17

Oh, Im SO going to follow this. Tell me again what district you are in. Just so you know why Im in. Im an Arizona teacher. I teach in Scottsdale Unified. So Ill let a few others weigh in to see if anyone else wants to get into this debate. I was thinking of starting one myself...but didn't have the time while at the capital. But that's just about over. So Ill see if any other AZ person weighs in. Then I will be happy to explain ALL of your concerns :)
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Re: Teacher Strikes in the USA

Postby brianp307 » 04 May 2018, 04:45

I’m not directly affected by this one, but I do teach in Texas and am interested in watching this discussion play out. Willie, to address one of your questions, I think it’s fair to say that while teachers aren’t in it for the money as their primary motivation, that doesn’t mean they don’t want to be compensated for their time and effort. It’s frustrating for me—and I would assume it’s frustrating for students—to see teachers who are really good at serving their students but choose to either move into administration or leave education altogether because they need to make more money for their families or to keep up with the cost of living. No one wants to strike, but I understand why some teachers are making that decision.
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Re: Teacher Strikes in the USA

Postby willie23 » 04 May 2018, 04:58

Hey asudevil! I myself prefer the U of A ;) but I know that Universities in AZ are pretty good. I’m in the Douglas Unified School District, or, I was. Not anymore. I met some Scottsdale people while at FFA competitions, and I’ve been there a few times. Isn’t that near or in Phoenix? ASU and U of A have always been super great to the FFA.

And Brian, Texas is awesome. I was born in Houston, love the Astros, and wish that’s where I could go to school. I can see where you are coming from, and some of my teachers have said similar things.

I’m fact, all my teacher’s reactions vary. My Geomotry teacher was down right angry, while AP World History teacher was a bit so/so as he is payed very well(being the head of the history department and committee chairman of a couple committees). My Spanish teachers said she sees the need for change yet thinks that striking is NOT the solution.

They also keep quoting some statistic: that on average a prisoner is given 30K a year while each student is given 3,500 a year. With the current budget. How accurate is that?
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Re: Teacher Strikes in the USA

Postby sinnybee » 04 May 2018, 06:47

I want to hear asudevil's thoughts on this.
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Re: Teacher Strikes in the USA

Postby mhsmith0 » 04 May 2018, 07:04

willie23 wrote:...
They also keep quoting some statistic: that on average a prisoner is given 30K a year while each student is given 3,500 a year. With the current budget. How accurate is that?

I'd probably say that prisoners aren't exactly *GIVEN* $30k a year, though the idea that being in prison costs $30k a year isn't something that strikes me as necessarily way off base.

One thing I'd say in response to the original post is that... strikes are by nature economically disruptive. The bargaining power that labor has in most cases (exceptions certainly exist!) is less than that of their employers, and over time labor tends to see their compensation and working conditions deteriorate, particularly in environments where unions are weak (idk arizona education all that well, but I'd guess that the unions in AZ aren't very strong). The main weapon against this is collective action of some sort, which often means... striking (there's also stuff like political organizing, but that's much harder in an environment where unions are weak to start with). Strikes are unproductive and cause economic damage... right up until the point where they work. To my knowledge they've worked in WV and OK recently, and I'd GUESS that with enough pressure they'll work in AZ as well. Sometimes conditions just push labor to a breaking point, and then you get the kinds of mass reactions (teachers strikes across multiple states seems like "mass reaction' to me, and I'd guess they're not done yet) that you're currently seeing. Not an ideal thing, but in situations where change can't really be forced in any other way, this is what you get.
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Re: Teacher Strikes in the USA

Postby asudevil » 04 May 2018, 07:40

willie23 wrote:Hey asudevil! I myself prefer the U of A ;) but I know that Universities in AZ are pretty good. I’m in the Douglas Unified School District, or, I was. Not anymore. I met some Scottsdale people while at FFA competitions, and I’ve been there a few times. Isn’t that near or in Phoenix? ASU and U of A have always been super great to the FFA.


So you moved to NM...with 2 weeks left in school?...and yes its a suburb of Phoenix.

They also keep quoting some statistic: that on average a prisoner is given 30K a year while each student is given 3,500 a year. With the current budget. How accurate is that?


It's based on per-pupil or per-prisoner funding. But a lot of the prison funding is federal where the school funding is more state based. It's also just the cost of having a prisoner for a year....vs the cost of having a student for a year.

But Ill continue to let this marinate and see who else comes along.
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Re: Teacher Strikes in the USA

Postby mhsmith0 » 04 May 2018, 08:51

http://time.com/5264647/arizona-teacher ... ium=social

Whether this is enough to end the strike I can’t say. But it’s quite a lot more than they had before and without the strike...
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Re: Teacher Strikes in the USA

Postby Don Juan of Austria » 04 May 2018, 09:13

I'm interested to hear your guys' thoughts too.
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Re: Teacher Strikes in the USA

Postby joe92 » 04 May 2018, 11:44

I'm not in the US but I work in the education industry in the UK (a pupil report writing service called DeRep) and will be following this thread with interest.

I may hear only the horror stories, but what I know of the US teaching sounds terrible. In the UK teachers are pretty unhappy. The average working week for a teacher is over 50 hours when including the lesson prep, data admin and marking, and exceeds 60 and even 70 hours a week during the summer exams period. They are paid reasonably well with starting wages at £19k (used to be £23k) and an average wage of £28k after 10 years in the profession, and if you become a head of department a wage approaching £50k is not to be unexpected. However, the level of moral in teaching is reaching an all time low. Ministers continually changing the curriculum for political points and not the child's benefit, Ofsted inspections getting so onerous it's considered a Big Brother type situation, the average class size increasing beyond reasonable levels due to the cuts and a lack of trust to let the teachers actually teach has led to a recruitment crisis in this country. More teachers are leaving the profession than entering it. We're losing experienced good teachers and replacing them with newbies who have an average career length in the industry of 3 years (most quit that quick!). I've spoken to a lot of teachers and it comes down to the same thing, stress.

As I said, I don't hear much but the horror stories for the US side of things. From what I understand there is a similar situation to above but also things like teachers having to buy lesson materials because the school's are so underfunded, and school shootings are something you actually have to consider as mental as that is. It sounds from this side of the pond like teaching in the US is even more stressful than UK teaching and the only way to be a teacher there is to not care about your pupils, or care and burnout. Slowly or quickly but burnout nonetheless. Would I be far wrong?

While the teachers in AZ may have received a pay bump, is it going to address any of the fundamental problems in teaching? Or is it a plaster applied to an axe wound? It might fix the problem for a short while but once inflation pushes everyone else's wages back up and the cost of living increases and their salary drops in real terms, what happens when the other problems haven't been addressed?

Like others I would be very interested to hear asudevil's take on this.
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