Hey friends. Feeling the need for an update on real-life here.
While I mentioned this in my post-meditation video yesterday , I figured it bears repeating here on the blog for those of you who didn’t get a chance to check it out.
I am a striking Columbus City Schools teacher. You may have seen us on the news, CNN, The Today Show, or any number of media outlets. Yes, I know I told you I resigned back in June. Long story, too much to get into right now as I’m readying for another day of afternoon picketing. Long story short, I did not resign yet, and I am on strike.
Why are we striking? The superintendent and board will have you believe it’s over our pay.
The 1000% unvarnished truth is that our 103 school building district in the heart of Columbus, Ohio, has been poorly managed and even more poorly maintained over the years (I have been here since 2001), and we are requiring the superintendent spend some of the $400 million dollars she was allocated from the federal government from COVID funds (ESSA funds) to do some of these tasks:
- Install, fix, and/or make functional HVAC in our buildings
- Hire people to remove asbestos in many schools
- Hire people to remove the lead paint still falling from ceilings and walls in many schools
- Hire people to fix roofs that fill classroom floors and hallways when it rains
- Hire people to exterminate rats, roaches, termite and other critters from multiple classrooms and buildings
- Hire people to remove dangerous crumbling walls and stairwells both inside and outside of schools
- Hire full-time elementary art, PE, and music teachers as well as full-time school nurses (most nurses travel to numerous schools and we usually only have a school nurse once every few days)
Instead of doing these things with the money, our superintendent has hired 120 top level administrators who DO NOT serve students, classrooms, or even visit classrooms. They have benefits and daily perks that we dream of: meditation spaces in their buildings, a comfortable and AC/heated office, and adequate lunch breaks.
Those are just the biggies, and we think they’re big enough to lose our paychecks and our insurance for the duration of the strike because our kids deserve better.
Regardless of your political, economic, social, governmental, belief in unions, teachers, or any other affiliation, we hope you support public education and us as we do this to support our students.
A federal mediator has called both teams back to bargain (the board has refused to bargain or even show up for bargaining sessions several times) at 1 pm today. I’d love to know in the comments what you’ve heard or seen about us, and for those who support us, know you’re giving us much-needed strength from where ever you are.
Off to relieve the AM picketers. More later.