During the last few years, teacher strikes have been plastered across media outlets. Time Magazine even put teachers on its cover and dove into the struggles teachers face because of their compensation. Teachers are part of the backbone of our society. They expose children to opportunities that lead them to their careers, and they help shape future citizens. Teachers should not have to work extra jobs to make ends meet and to ensure they can take care of themselves and their families. Although there are other issues teachers want improved such as class sizes, supplies, resources, high-stakes testing, at the bare minimum, they don’t want to struggle financially to do a job they love. This is why teachers strike.
Because teachers don’t believe they are being heard, teacher unions got more aggressive with their tactics. Instead of rallying on days when schools were closed or speaking at the statehouse, strikes were organized shutting down schools during the school year. Now we are in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. School buildings are closed, and schools have shifted to at-home learning. Instead of being focused on working hard as Andrew Pillow recently wrote about, some are using downtime to make concerning posts on social media, especially in teacher Facebook groups. I keep in mind that some teachers are venting or using humor to cope with our current situation. However, there is nothing funny about suggesting teachers should strike after school buildings reopen.
Right now, school leaders across the country are trying to figure out plans for filling in the gaps for students who did not learn well during the coronavirus closures and to ensure students learn new standards next year. Next school year is not the time for anyone to strike. How can you say you care about children if you think going on a strike after a long stint of interrupted education is acceptable?
I have appreciated the parents who have a renewed appreciation for their children’s teachers. I anticipate those same parents will be extremely upset if teachers decided to shut down schools for more pay during the next school year. Teachers are getting paid during the coronavirus pandemic while some of their students’ parents are not.
I really hope these teachers that are saying that next school year would be a good time to strike are only joking even those I don’t believe these jokes are appropriate at this time. Teacher compensation is an issue. Good teachers are hard to retain in schools with the highest student academic need because the pay is not good. There is a time and a place to make a stand. The next school year is not that time. Our students cannot afford to have their education interrupted again.