GOP bill punishes teachers, students

In case you have missed it, there was a "special session" of the West Virginia State Senate to pass a second try at a big ugly education bill. Teachers think that it is punitive. It includes allowances for for-profit companies to end up with taxpayer school funds through the formation of "public" charter schools. It suggests that all school employees should be trained to be better first-line responders to trauma-afflicted students, which sounds great, but doing that instead of getting more help for those students by employing specialist counselors, psychologists and nurses just puts more pressure on teachers who will continue to be just as hard-pressed to address these problems while also teaching their classroom full of children.

The GOP calls this the "Student Success Act," but 88% of the public responses to surveys and comment periods were opposed to charter schools. We see charter schools all over the country found committing fraud and stealing taxpayer money while not improving education.

On Sunday, to rub salt in the wound, Sen. Charles Trump added an amendment to the SSA to saying that teachers have no right to have a work stoppage, that employees may not be paid, no superintendent can aid by closing schools, no extracurriculars. This amendment harkens back to coal camps and other dreadful work conditions and makes me question how the Republicans claim to be the party of "smaller government" and "local control," as they seek to wrest control from local school boards and superintendents while possibly endangering students. If teachers and bus drivers and aides and cooks do have a wildcat strike, who is going to keep the children who go to school safe?

The Republicans had the votes to pass this nasty "education" bill. Please contact your legislators and let them know what you think.

Grace Gooding



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