wvteachers21 AFT West Virginia/Twitter
Teachers in West Virginia have ended their two-day strike.

West Virginia teachers end strike after charter school legislation is killed

Teacher walked off the job across the state in opposition to a proposal that would have created charter schools and a voucher program for private schools.

West Virginia teachers have ended a two-day strike that succeeded in killing legislation that would have brought charter schools and private school vouchers to the state.

The Washington Post reports that the state's House of Delegates tabled the proposed legislation, just a few hours after teachers went on strike. But educators remained on strike Wednesday until lawmakers adjourned, marking the official death of the legislation.

“Senate Bill 451 is now dead," said American Federation of Teachers West Virginia President Fred Albert said. "It’s gone and will not be resurrected."

The fight over the education bill illustrates the continuing hostility between teachers’ unions and those who back charter schools, a conflict that helped persuade Los Angeles teachers to strike last month.

The West Virginia strike affected nearly all of the state’s 275,000 schoolchildren—all but one school system closed.

Opposition to the education bill was so fierce that teachers stood against it even though it would have increased their pay and allocated an additional $24 million for student support services.

But the original measure also contained provisions that teachers’ unions found unpalatable, including one that would eliminate seniority during layoffs and another that would make union members sign up annually to have dues taken from their paychecks.

But one of the most disputed provisions would have introduced charter schools in the state. It would also have established educational savings accounts — a type of voucher — for families of special-needs students and students who have been bullied.

As teachers continued holding vigil at the state Capitol on Wednesday, the House Finance Committee passed a bill being pushed by Gov. Jim Justice that would hike pay for teachers, school personnel and state police by 5 percent.

The bill contained none of the provisions that derailed the education legislation.

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