Bookbag? Check. Trapper Keeper with paper and extra pens? Check. New school clothes, including the light-up shoes you begged for? Check. Teachers? On strike.
Mere days before the start of the 2022-2023 school year in Columbus, Ohio, their teachers aren’t ready to be in the classroom with what the district is currently offering in terms of better schools for the students as well as the teachers. Columbus Education Association union announced the strike on August 21st. This union represents over 4,000 teachers, nurses, and other education professionals inside the Columbus City Schools district.
With 94% voting to reject the school’s “last, best, and final” offer, the union was on strike for the first time since 1975. Given the teacher shortage across the country, this is not likely to be the only union on strike this year. Low morale, stagnant pay rates, increasingly crowded classrooms, smaller budgets, and school shootings make up just a few of the reasons behind their criminally low staffing and reasons for subsequent strikes.
In Columbus, it was even easier. They wanted better class sizes to teach their students, fully functional heat and air conditioning, proper maintenance, and schools to have full resources in every school across the city. This was not a gigantic hill for any school district to climb, and their lack of ability to simply give the students and their teachers the basic tools to be successful is shameful at best.
On August 22nd the school board hosted a meeting with a Facebook Live streaming of the event. This meeting resulted in an executive session for discussions on what to do. In preparation for the meeting, Superintendent Talisa Dixon gave a statement.
“It is my hope that we are able to come to a resolution quickly and get all of our students back in their classrooms with their teachers as soon as possible. It’s what our students deserve,” Dixon’s statement read. This was in addition to the city’s recreation and parks department opening nine recreation centers, so the students have access to “safe, adult-supervised locations and easy internet access.”
A school library media specialist also spoke with CNN’s Victor Blackwell about the situation in these classrooms. “Students move around to different buildings, like a college campus, and they never know from one classroom to the next if it’s going to be 50 degrees or 90 degrees… That’s what we’re fighting for — safe, properly maintained, and fully resourced schools where the air conditioning and heating work, and students don’t have to suffer.”
While some schools don’t have air conditioning, if they do, often only a “couple of rooms” have them, so needless to say, it’s bad. According to Johnson, those that do have it require drastic repairs as it is. It’s an improper foundation for students to learn in.
The Columbus school district has roughly 47,000 students enrolled. With classes still set to begin on Wednesday, the schools have decided to host schools virtually, with substitutes leading the way. Should the strike continue, the administrators may be the ones teaching the classes. With teachers filling the vast majority of the coaching positions, school sports may be outright canceled should this drag on.
As much as the liberal mainstream media tries to target guns as the biggest problem in school, they often forget just how vulnerable they are leaving these students on a day-to-day basis. They are there to be educated on many different subjects. From how to interact with one another properly in a social setting, to the basics of science, math, history, etc.
Just like they shouldn’t have to worry about being shot, they shouldn’t worry about hypothermia in the winter, or heat stroke in the summer. For many, the meals at school are the only ones they’ll eat all day. The districts owe it to their students to provide an environment free of distractions, so they learn all they can.