Another school year brings a fresh wave of teacher protests over educator pay, school staffing, district funding and classroom priorities. (This week alone, teachers in Colorado have left the classroom while America’s third-largest school district braces for a possible third strike in seven years.)
With even more threatened protests on the horizon, we thought we’d take a quick look back at the marches that have defined the ongoing “Red for Ed” movement — the social-media-powered grassroots wave that has swept across the country and brought educators out onto the streets and into state legislatures, demanding better pay and resources.
It all began in West Virginia in 2018, with teachers striking in February in response to low salaries and spiraling health care costs.
Their victory there quickly inspired other educators and unions (located primarily in Republican-controlled states) to follow suit.
A look back at 18 months of marches since West Virginia:
January 2019 — California
In Los Angeles, sign- (and umbrella-) toting teachers and supporters rallied in the nation’s second-largest school district.
May 2018 — North Carolina
Near the bottom in national rankings of teacher pay, thousands of teachers and supporters marched for increased wages and better school funding in Raleigh.
April 2018 — Arizona
Arizona teachers staged a sprawling five-day walkout in 2018. Thousands of crimson-adorned educators brought their salary and school funding concerns to lawmakers in Phoenix, resulting in a 19 percent pay increase.
April 2018 — Colorado
Colorado’s underfunding of schools and shortchanging of pension funds were on the list of complaints resulting in a two-and-a-half-week strike in the spring of 2018. Educators rallied inside the capitol building in Denver to demonstrate.
April 2018 — Oklahoma
A statewide strike in Oklahoma, advocating for additional school funding, lasted nine days, with protesters marching in Oklahoma City.
April 2018 — Kentucky
Lacking a legal right to strike, thousands of teachers in Kentucky called out sick on the same days to march in their capitol in Frankfort.
February 2018 — West Virginia
Back where it all started: The seven-day protest in West Virginia (where it’s technically illegal to strike) sparked not only a pay raise but a movement of teacher activism.