What Would Ms. Frizzle Do?

May 11, 2018

If you know the show The Magic School Bus, then you know that Ms. Frizzle, the creative fourth-grade science teacher, could take on any task and adventure with ease. Well, this new challenge might even stump Ms. Frizzle.

This week is Teacher Appreciation Week. It’s the time of the year when we thank our teachers for all they do. So what’s with all the talk recently about teachers being unhappy? Here at Xyza, we have been tracking teacher strikes across the US, where teachers are fighting for higher wages and better funding for educational resources.

 

Here are some facts you might not know about teacher strikes:

The demands of teachers participating in strikes are not new.

By Brad Perkins (Flickr: Fair Contract Now) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
In fact, teachers have been unhappy with stagnant salaries and have been demanding pay raises for almost a decade in many states. But now teachers are losing patience and are refusing to work unless their demands are heard.

The strikes are spreading!

West Virginia seems to be where the first strikes began, but teachers are also striking in Kentucky, Oklahoma, Arizona, and Colorado, and teachers in two other states—North Carolina and Louisiana—will potentially strike as well.

Did you know that teacher strikes are illegal in some states?

 

That’s right. Teachers strike because they generally have no other way to get their demands heard, but some states, like Arizona, Kentucky, West Virginia, and Oklahoma, have laws against teacher strikes (although no teachers have been arrested!).

Is striking the answer?

Striking isn’t typically the first step teachers take to better their situations; many belong to teachers’ unions, which are groups designed to negotiate on behalf of teachers. But in many states, unions have not been able to secure increased wages, so teachers have taken matters into their own hands and organized protests on their own.

Organizing a strike has changed!

Photo by Florida Education Association, courtesy of State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory.

Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter are playing a big role in helping teachers to quickly coordinate efforts and share their thoughts. Can you imagine how teachers would have coordinated fifty years ago when the first US teacher strike started in Florida?

So … for this Teacher Appreciation Week, here’s some food for thought: If we care enough about our teachers to dedicate a special week to them every year, why can’t we treat them well for the entire school year by paying them a fair wage and giving them the resources they need for their schools and classrooms? What’s happening with the teachers in your area? Don’t know? Ask or interview your teacher and report back by emailing editor@xyzanews.com.

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