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Tipsheet

Teachers in Ohio’s Largest School District Approve New Contract to End Strike

AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File

Students at the largest school district in Ohio returned to school this week after the start of the school year was disrupted because the teachers went on strike. 

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The Columbus Education Association voted on Sunday to approve a new three-year contract with Columbus City Schools, ending the strike that began one week ago. As Townhall covered, CEA represents around 4,500 teachers, nurses, librarians, counselors and other education professionals. 

The deal between the union and the school district addresses the teachers’ wages and improvements to the school buildings (via the Associated Press): 

The pact calls for 4% raises each year of the contract. It includes plans for building improvements to ensure that spaces are climate controlled, reduces class sizes and offers innovative paid leave benefits.

“More than 4,000 of our members stood strong on the picket line, our community joined the fight, and we won victories on all three of these issues that will impact every one of the nearly 50,000 students in Columbus City Schools,” union spokesperson Regina Fuentes said in a statement.

The president of the Columbus school board, Jennifer Adair, said the agreement "puts children first."

Townhall noted how the union members went on strike last week for the first time in 1975. The strike came days before the first day of school, forcing the thousands of students to start the school year remotely. Despite this, the teachers union urged students not to engage in “any so-called synchronous and asynchronous ‘learning.’”

Since the CEA strike, other teachers unions have gone on strike across the country. Earlier this month, a union representing about 2,000 employees at the School District of Philadelphia voted to authorize a strike if their demands, fair pay and better training, are not met by Aug. 31.

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Last week, the school year was delayed in a Seattle suburb for about 25,000 students due to a teachers strike. Demanding more competitive wages and smaller class sizes, teachers at the Kent School District went on strike Thursday on what would have been the first day of the 2022-2023 school year, which Townhall covered.

On top of this, nationwide, school districts are facing a shortage of teachers. A report this month from The Salt Lake Tribune explained that the shortage of teachers in Utah is making it “incredibly challenging to operate” and staff are asked to take on extra duties, which leads to higher resignation rates.

Since the onset of the pandemic, COVID-19 lockdowns and remote learning have made devastating impacts on students, which Townhall has reported. Lower academic performance, chronic absenteeism and mental health challenges have become prevalent among students. A U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study this year found that more than 40 percent of teenagers felt "sad" or "hopeless" during the pandemic. This month, 50,000 students in Los Angeles were absent on the first day of school.

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