Teachers are livid in Little Rock, Arkansas. And rightly so.
“Teachers will go on strike for one day this week over a state panel’s decision to strip their collective bargaining power and complaints about state control of the 23,000-student district, union officials said Monday.
The strike set for Thursday will be only the second time teachers have walked out of the job in the city’s history. The Little Rock Education Association’s announcement came after the state Board of Education voted in October to no longer recognize the union when the contract expired Oct. 31.
Union leaders call for the state to give them back their bargaining power. Before the contract ended, the Little Rock School District had been the only one in Arkansas where a teachers union had collective bargaining power.
The union wants to see full local control of the district restored. Arkansas has run Little Rock’s schools since the state board took over the district in January 2015 because of low test scores at several schools.
The state board voted to put the district under a local board that would be elected in November 2020, but it would have limits on its authority. The strike is scheduled on the day the state panel is set to vote on establishing the zones for the new local board.
‘As educators, we would rather be in the classroom with our students, not on the picket line,’ Teresa Knapp Gordon, the union’s president, said at a news conference outside Little Rock Central High School. ‘However, this community and the passionate, dedicated educators of this district will do what is necessary to protect the futures of our students.’
Though the union billed it as a one-day strike, Gordon left open the possibility of it stretching beyond Thursday if the panel doesn’t return full local control.”
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