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 healthcare 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 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) not only sparked a pay raise, but a movement of teacher activism.