West Virginia teachers began going on strike on February 2nd, 2018 in response to their health care benefits being cut. The teachers stayed out of the classroom for nine days total, protested in the capital of Charleston and generated national headlines. They demanded a raise for public school teacher salaries, as well as an increase in pay for all public and state employees; with many teachers citing the fact that they often have to take on second jobs over the summer and on the weekends to help support their families. Teachers also asked for an increase in funding for schools as teachers addressed the fact that they will regularly dip into their own pockets to pay for classroom materials. After seeing the headlines generated out of West Virginia, teachers in Oklahoma began going on strike April 2nd with similar demands. Teachers are also preforming protests in Arizona, Kentucky, North Carolina, Colorado, Washington, and Florida.
The goals from the Oklahoma and West Virginia teachers who participated in this movement were similar. Both wanted an increase in teacher pay as well as an increase in pay for all state employees. Both groups also wanted additional funding for public schools to be allocated in the state budget by the state government. The short-term goals in turn reflect the longer term goals that participants in this movement have in mind. By increasing teacher pay, there will be a larger incentive for people to become teachers. By creating the incentivization to become a teacher, more high-quality individuals will likely aspire to be a teacher. With better teachers in place, students will become better educated and will be more prepared to be successful upon graduation. Also, by increasing school funding, teachers will have more money at their disposal, so the can update their classrooms with the newest materials, textbooks, and technology. These updated classrooms will make for a better, more productive learning environment for students, which in turn should increase their overall educational experience and again result in the students being more prepared and motivated to reach their goals upon completion of their public education. Outside of just education, increasing the salary for all state employees will boost consumer's confidence and led to more investments and spending within that state, which will in turn help boost the state's economy and revenue.