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Why teachers seem more willing to go on strike

August 23, 2022 / PSU-AAUP

Analysis by Zachary B. Wolf

August 23, 2022


(CNN)Teachers are on strike in Columbus, Ohio, demanding functioning air conditioning.

In Philadelphia, it's mostly bus drivers and other workers who want better wages and training.

These are local stories with distinct issues and details, but they feed a national narrative of discontented teachers and support staff who feel underpaid and underappreciated.

This week, it's Columbus and Philadelphia. Last school year, it was Minneapolis and Sacramento.

Teachers are increasingly comfortable resorting to strikes, a tendency that predates Covid-19 pandemic standoffs over working conditions. Think back to the 2019 Chicago teacher strike, or to 2018, when a wave of #RedforEd strikes won higher pay or other improved benefits for teachers in Arizona, Colorado, Kentucky, North Carolina, Oklahoma and West Virginia.

An Urban Institute review published in May of this year found evidence of nearly 700 teacher strikes between 2007 and 2019 -- most of those occurred as part of coordinated multi-district efforts after 2017. The analysis included any example resulting in at least one school closing in a district and also included "walkouts, sickouts and other work stoppages."

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