“Saving West Virginia” is a great article by Kathy Kunkel, WV Working Families Party, by far the best report on the so-called “work stoppage” become wildcat strike in the West Virginia public schools.
Kunkel calls this a wildcat strike, and so does WV MetroNews corporate cheerleader Hoppy Kercheval now, which it basically is, especially by now, going against the wishes of the school employees’ labor organizations so-called “leaders,” Dale Lee and the other two complicit bumblers.
…when you compare teachers to other people with similar credentials, they are paid a whole lot less. Public school teachers make 17 percent less than other comparable college graduates. The more experienced teachers have it the worst, facing even larger pay gaps. And things have been getting worse, not better: teachers only suffered a 1.8 percent pay differential two decades ago. But while college graduates overall saw their pay increase between 1996 and 2015, teachers saw theirs decline.
The gap can’t be explained by educators having fewer credentials or doing valueless work. So what can explain it? One big reason we pay teachers at a discount is that we think of their work not so much as work, but as service.
Specifically, their jobs have come to be seen as an extension of women’s unpaid work. Elementary and secondary schools are teeming with women: Three-quarters of public school teachers are female. But in the more male-dominated field of academia, where women make up less than a third of professors, median pay is over $75,000 a year. On the other end, teachers in pre-kindergarten are paid far less than those who teach in K-12 education despite usually facing the same training and education requirements — and they are nearly 98 percent female.
In fact, teaching used to be a high-paid, high-status job when men held it. Then when women entered the field, the pay and prestige dropped. This is a phenomenon that has repeated over and over again — women push their way into a particular job, then the job starts to pay less — but it’s pronounced in work that requires taking care of other people. Such jobs are seen as “women’s work,” which both lowers its status because women are simply valued less, and also connects it closely to the work women are expected to do at home for free.