No matter what your personal feelings are about the West Virginia public school employees’ strike, I believe we have witnessed why teachers across the U.S. are woefully underappreciated. These dedicated men and women care about our children, and make unprecedented sacrifices to ensure students in K-12 are getting the best possible education.
Even as they prepared to go on strike over the lack of funding for the Public Employee Insurance Agency, teachers in Parkersburg, Charleston, Beckley and other cities throughout West Virginia were thinking of their students’ well being. They organized and rallied their colleagues to pool their money to purchase and package meals for the students who rely on the schools’ free breakfast and lunch programs. We should also applaud the businesses like Sam’s Club and Little Caesar’s Pizza, who also donated food.
These are the actions of dedicated and responsible educators, the same type that we are proud to say graduate from Marietta College every year and go out into the classrooms to provide enriching educational experiences across the U.S. We will share these stories of sacrifice and leadership with our students, so they understand what it means to be an educator in America.
We ask a lot of our teachers, probably too much. If you take a moment to get to know an educator better, you’ll learn they do so much more than teach the “Three Rs.” And now we’re even talking about arming them to protect our children from unspeakable violence within their schools.
Their demands were not unrealistic, and I’m glad to see the employees and the state could come to an agreement. These highly educated, devoted people deserve a fair wage and to know they will have affordable health care now and in the future.
Now they get to go back to work and continue to do the amazing work that they’ve been doing for years.
President and Professor of Management
Marietta (Ohio) College