CHARLESTON, W. Va.—West Virginia teachers will vote this week on whether to authorize a work stoppage to protest an omnibus education bill that would expand privatization of the state’s public schools. The measure, passed by the state Senate on a party-line vote Feb. 4, would give teachers a 5% raise, but also eliminate limits on class size, set up a charter-school program in the state, and give parents $3,200 for “educational savings accounts” that could be used to pay tuition at private, religious, or on-line schools. The West Virginia Education Association, American Federation of Teachers, and the West Virginia School Service Personnel Association oppose those provisions. “Actions will be dependent each day on the progression of the bill,” Jenny Craig, president of the Ohio County Education Association in Wheeling, told the Wheeling News-Register. “We will continue to push back against privatization, and public money coming out of the public school system. Even though this bill does good things, there are things we are unwilling to give up for students.” Gov. Jim Justice told reporters Feb. 1 that he would veto the measure. “This just irritates the peanuts out of me,” he said. Read more


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