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Original reporting by Eric Boehm of the PA Independent
HARRISBURG — As teachers in Chicago grab national headlines with a strike that has left 404,000 kids out of school, Pennsylvania may be losing its infamous place as the most strike-prone state in the nation.
Like Illinois, Pennsylvania is one of a dozen states that allow teachers to go on strike. As recently as the 2006-07 school year, 13 strikes have occurred across Pennsylvania’s 500 school districts, and Pennsylvania has accounted for nearly half of all teachers’ strikes in the United States since 2000.
Teachers who plan to go on strike only have to give 48 hours notice under state law.
“There has to be some kind of reforms here,” said Eric Montarti, senior research analyst for the Allegheny Institute, a free market think tank in Pittsburgh. “It’s a powerful tool, and it inconveniences parents and costs taxpayers.”
After only one strike during the 2011-12 school year, none of Pennsylvania’s 500 districts have been on strike since the beginning of the new school year.
Montarti said a number of factors have reduced strikes in recent years, including the economic pressure on school district budgets and the unions’ recognition that strikes would not be well-received by the public when so many people are struggling to make ends meet.
Dave DaVare, research director for the Pennsylvania School Boards Association, said the low number of strikes this year is partially due to many districts adopting the wage freeze Gov. Tom Corbett requested in 2011.
In effect, that wage freeze caused existing contracts to be extended for a year longer, meaning fewer districts have contracts coming up for renewal now, he said.
Read the full article here.
Tags: pennsylvania, teacher unions, teachers, unions
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