The Education Plan
What We're Up Against
The West Virginia teachers and school service personnel strike sparked a nationwide movement, inspiring a generation of workers, parents, students and educators to fight for quality public education. But we have unfinished business.
The Good Old Boys in the Capitol want us to think that West Virginians are divided about education. We aren’t. We all want smaller class sizes, not larger. We all want mental health professionals in every school. We all want fewer education resources spent in Charleston, and more spent in classrooms. We all want significantly higher pay, supports, and benefits (including PEIA and loan forgiveness) for teachers and school service personnel–so we aren’t starting each school year with 900+ classroom vacancies.
The most important thing we learned from the strikes was that we can’t wait for any party or politician to save our schools.
- Provide the biggest teacher and school service personnel raise in West Virginia history.
- Gradually reduce class sizes.
- Student loan forgiveness for all WV public school employees who remain in WV and are employed in a WV public school. (See Take Me Home Plan.)
- Repeal the law allowing charter schools.
- Fully fund PEIA.
- Less testing, more teaching. Put WV teachers in charge of standards and classroom education–not out-of-state testing corporations.
- Give retired teachers and school service personnel cost-of-living raises tied to inflation.
- Adjust the school funding formula to better help rural counties.
- Less money at the top; more in the classroom.
- Direct more resources to hands-on learning; less on testing.
- Maximize the freedom of teachers to teach,
- Make West Virginia the best place in the country for technical education by funding all higher education.
- Protect the right of parents to homeschool their children.
- Add restorative justice options to school discipline policies in order to heal students and teachers, and to provide better alternatives to expulsion.
- Guarantee that a combination of substance abuse prevention, crisis response (Narcan/etc.), life skills, and mental health resources exist in every school, every grade, every class.
- Pursue the expansion of school-based health centers in order to assure every West Virginia child has access to healthcare.
- Transform public schools into after-hours community centers, complete with meals covered by federal grant reimbursement.
- Put at least one mental health professional in every school–to provide direct mental health services to children.
- Expand partnerships between high schools and Community and Technical Colleges, where students are able to graduate from high school with a technical certification or even an associate’s degree.
- Guarantee high quality, evidence-based sex education.
- Work with local partners to certify 100 West Virginia schools as “America’s Entrepreneurial Schools.”
- Expand locally developed efforts to reduce bullying, reduce the school to prison pipeline, and welcome children of all abilities, genders, and sexual orientations.
No one politician or slate of candidates can win this plan alone. We need you.
If you have an idea for how to make this plan stronger, or if you would like to lend a hand to win it, contact our co-chair Stephen Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org.