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Dear West Virginia Educators and School Service Personnel,

No change ever comes without courage. That is the lesson you taught us. 

Last spring, we were with you… at the Capitol, organizing food giveaways while school was closed, at honk-and-waves at busy intersections. We chipped in a few dollars here and there to raise a $332,000 strike fund to cover gas, and supplies, and electrical bills—especially for aides and long-term subs who lost wages. This spring, we were at it again. We were with you on the picket line in Putnam County. We were with you when you won the raise. We were with you when the Governor broke his promise on PEIA. We were with you when the omnibus got forced down our throats. 

And we brought our kids. We brought our kids, because we wanted them to see you, Educators and School Service Personnel, the people they already admire the most, out on the streets fighting for something bigger than yourselves. We brought our kids, because we wanted them to learn about bravery, about sacrifice, about standing up for something you believe in. We wanted them to learn how government really works. We wanted them to learn that real change doesn’t come from politicians; it comes from us. We wanted our kids to learn that government is theirs for the taking. 

We can win the best public schools for our kids. Educator and school service personnel raises—so we stop losing teachers to other states. A fix to PEIA. Debt forgiveness and college tuition. Mental health professionals and nurses to make our schools a place of healing. Much less testing. Much more arts, music, STEM, career and technical education, and life skills. Smaller class sizes. An end to consolidation. Stipends for classroom supplies. Pushing resources from the bureaucracy, into classrooms. But only if we have the courage to fight.

You taught us that.

Sincerely,

The people of West Virginia

(aka your students)

PS – This photo was taken at the AFT Convention of Educators and School Service Personnel in Charleston. Thanks for a great time!

See some of our plans to address this here: