Never before has there been so much labor unrest in America’s public schools. Teachers, understandably angry about low pay and harmful cuts in education resources, have organized statewide walkouts in West Virginia, Kentucky and Oklahoma. Arizona and Mississippi may be next to act. This time of tension and frustration is also a moment of tremendous opportunity — to increase teachers’ pay, acknowledge the importance of their work, strengthen accountability, ensure adequate education resources, and, most importantly, achieve the outcomes we need and want for all our kids.
We know this from experience. In 2002, one of us was a newly elected mayor; the other, the leader of the teachers union. We had plenty of disagreements, but we shared a fundamental goal: to provide students and families in the city we love great public schools. We both knew that must include raising teacher salaries, securing additional resources for schools, and raising standards and expectations for both teachers and students.
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