Why teacher strikes are touching every part of America

Urban, rural, suburbanred, blue and purple, American teachers from across the United States have been on strike. So far this year, teachers have picketed in one of the wealthiest states — California, which has strong protections for public unions — and one of the poorest: West Virginia, which has rolled back union protections in recent years.

They’ve gone on strike in Denver, Los Angeles, Oakland and throughout West Virginia this year. They walked out in Arizona, Colorado, Kentucky, North Carolina, Oklahoma and West Virginia last year. They’ve rallied in Georgia and Virginia.

Donald Trump Jr., the President’s son, seemed to invoke striking teachers during a speech last month in El Paso, Texas, when he dismissed “these loser teachers that are trying to sell you on socialism from birth.”

While the strikes require solidarity, the reasons for them range from salaries and benefits to school infrastructure and class size to charter schools.

Each of these situations is unique and has its own local concerns, but each also shares the underlying issue of how America should compensate its teachers and educate its children.

The national takeaways, according to Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers, are that schools have been underfunded for years, that teachers have had enough and that parents are behind them.

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