In North Carolina, 20,000 Skip School as Teachers Strike Movement Swells

Photo: Caitlin Penna/EPA

(From The Guardian)

“It’s personal,” said the 48-year-old African American teacher Michelle Burton, a librarian in the Durham county school system, as she stood next to a marching band playing the Star Wars theme under a banner that said Education Strikes Back.

Burton was far from alone. She was one of some 20,000 teachers and their supporters who used personal days on Wednesday to call out of work, forcing 40 North Carolina school districts to cancel classes for more than 1 million students.

Using the Twitter hashtag #ItsPersonal, the protest marked the sixth state to go on strike since West Virginia teachers successfully struck in March, highlighting low salaries and poorly funded public schools. The series of strikes in the education sector have won plaudits from across the labor movement and have struck a chord as public opinion polling shows overwhelming support. They have also won concrete economic gains in terms of pay rises in states like West Virginia, Oklahoma and Arizona.

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