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West Virginia public school teachers hold a “55 United” sign—a reference to the number of districts taking part in their strike —inside the state capitol building in Charleston, W. Va.Scott Heins—Bloomberg via Getty Images
West Virginia public school teachers hold a “55 United” sign—a reference to the number of districts taking part in their strike —inside the state capitol building in Charleston, W. Va., Scott Heins—Bloomberg via Getty Images
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West Virginia Teachers

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For years, it has been universally acknowledged that American public school teachers are woefully underpaid—and considered a given that it has to be that way. Late last year, thousands of West Virginia teachers rose up and said, “Enough,” mobilizing on Facebook and defying their union to strike for fairer pay and higher standards. (They did it thoughtfully; while not teaching, they made sure students who qualified for free at-school meals got fed.) After nine days, West Virginia’s legislature granted them their first raise in four years. The teachers touched off a movement now playing out nationwide, inspiring educators in Kentucky, Oklahoma, and Arizona to follow their lead.

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