The struggles WV Teachers face with pay, healthcare, and other issues aren't unique to the mountain state, but West Virginia Teachers were the first to stand up. The 2018 Teachers strike made headlines around the world and inspired teachers not only in other states, but in other countries.
An invitation last spring led two West Virginia teachers across the Atlantic to the United Kingdom to speak to their public employees about the state’s teacher strike earlier this year.
Jay O’Neal, an eighth grade history teacher at Stonewall Jackson Middle School in Kanawha County, and Sarah Duncan, a visual art teacher at Walton Elementary and Middle School in Roane County, recently returned from a week-long trip to the U.K. where they spoke to teachers, unions and the public about their experience in the teacher strike.
Near the end of March, O’Neal said a teacher from the U.K. contacted him through LinkedIn and told him she had heard of the teacher strike in West Virginia and thought it was a great story. O’Neal said she wanted to see if any teachers from West Virginia would be interested in traveling to England to speak to teachers about the strike.
After determining the invitation was legitimate, O’Neal and Duncan found themselves on a plane to the U.K.
Similar to Kentucky, Oklahoma, Colorado and Arizona, public employees in the U.K. said they are facing budget cuts, lack of funding and the privatization of schools, and were deeply inspired by West Virginia’s teacher strike.
O’Neal said teachers in the U.K. were already pretty familiar with West Virginia’s nine-day work stoppage.
It's amazing what West Virginians can accomplish when the world is watching.