The Teachers’ “Red for Ed” Movement Is Far From Dead

In late February 2018, teachers and support staff shuttered schools in all fifty-five counties of West Virginia. Their strike inspired educators across the country and raised hopes that a long-awaited revival of organized labor finally may have arrived.

That spring, school employees in Oklahoma, Arizona, and beyond walked out to demand increased education funding and better pay. Confounding all expectations, these actions erupted in Republican-dominated (Red) states with weak labor unions, bans on public sector strikes, and electorates that voted for Donald Trump. The “Red for Ed” movement soon spread nationwide, with strikes throughout 2019 paralyzing school districts in Democratic cities such as Los Angeles, Oakland, Chicago, and Denver.

How has this Red for Ed movement developed over the two years since West Virginia? Have the walkouts strengthened educator unions and rank-and-file teacher activism? And to what extent has the movement been able to win its demands and effect broader

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Primary school pupil-teacher ratio ‘to be reduced by one student per class’

a little girl wearing a hat: Halle Langan 8 returning to school in Gardiner Street Primary School in August.

© Leah Farrell
Halle Langan 8 returning to school in Gardiner Street Primary School in August.

THE GOVERNMENT HAS pledged that pupil-teacher ratios at primary level will be reduced by an average of one student per class. 

In today’s Budget 2021 speech, Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform said this will be achieved by the addition of more teaching posts.  

“I’m delighted to announce today a further reduction in the staffing schedule at primary level by reducing the pupil-teacher ratio by 1 point to 25:1, by providing over 300 mainstream teaching posts,” McGrath said.

This is in addition to over 265 posts I’m providing for to meet demographic pressures across primary and post primary levels. 

McGrath had earlier acknowledged the “huge efforts of our teachers” in facilitating the return to school of students in September. 

On special education needs, the minister also outlined a government pledge to hire 990 extra

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Teachers union survey quantifies mental toll from remote learning

Those having the worst time are working on hybrid schedules, with students learning both in-person and from home at the same time, Education Minnesota found.

Union president Denise Specht said in a statement that schools should take any unnecessary tasks off teachers’ plates and stop requiring them to teach students in multiple places at once.

“That arrangement may have seemed like a good idea in August, but it’s not working in October and it may drive out hundreds of teachers by May,” she said.

29% ‘thinking about quitting’

The union said the online survey fielded 9,723 responses between Sept. 23 and Oct. 5. About 83% were teachers, with school nurses, counselors and aides also responding.

Overall, 29%t said they were “thinking about quitting or retiring.”

“Our public schools won’t function if thousands of educators burn out and leave. It’s time to adjust,” Specht said.

However, retirements since May actually are

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Merced City School District welcomes back special education students

MERCED, Calif. (KFSN) — Merced City School District staff members were eager to welcome back a small group of students on Monday.

A Franklin Elementary School special education teacher even made unique desks for her students, each designed to be their personal truck.

“The desks are built like trucks, so everything they need is in their truck,” explained Miss Bonita. “They have their keys, which are all their passwords for anything they’re logging onto.”

She’s hoping the rules of the road will help students adjust to the new classroom health safety rules.

“We keep our hands in the car, we have to stay in our seat when we’re in our car, our masks can come off in the car, pretty much all the normal rules we use in the car,” explained Bonita.

Roughly 150 special education students returned to the classroom for in-person learning on campuses in the Merced City

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‘Everyone is tired’ | Teacher shares thoughts as more schools reopen

Lauren Jewett said she is happy to be back with students, her concern is how these added expectations may impact teachers.

NEW ORLEANS — Schools reopening can mean more responsibility for teachers as many are now not only teaching in person, but virtually as well.

Monday, many teachers and students in New Orleans returned to their classrooms for the first time since March, including grades 5-12.

Lauren Jewett is an elementary special education teacher at a school in New Orleans. She’s been back in the classroom since Sept. 21 when younger grades began going back in NOLA Public Schools.

“I’m mostly serving students in person, but I have some virtual so I’m doing both at the same time,” Jewett said. “Everyone has to have patience and know everything will take longer.”

Because it takes longer to get kids in and out of school everyday, Jewett feels teachers have less time

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Lakewood elementary school teachers deliver books to kids during remote learning

First grade teachers Nicole Andregg and Patricia Birch found a way to stay connected to their students.

LAKEWOOD, Ohio — This year, the school year is unprecedented, and different on so many levels for everyone, including teachers.

Two first-grade teachers, from Hayes Elementary School in Lakewood, found a way to bridge the gap and connect with kids, through reading.

When their students started the school year off remotely, Nicole Andregg and Patricia Birch knew many of their students didn’t have what they needed.

“We also knew that a lot of kids don’t have books in their hands all the time. So we thought, ‘why don’t we just start a bookmobile?’ We can deliver books to children and say hi to them. And they’ll get to see our faces and have a little special treat from us,” Patricia said.

“They’re just smiling and beaming and we are, too,” Nicole echoed.


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West Orange District Prepares Teachers for Hybrid Reopening

WEST ORANGE, NJ — As the West Orange Public School (WOPS) District begins its countdown towards a Nov. 9 hybrid reopening, WOPS Superintendent Dr. Scott Cascone explained that the district is now preparing staff for their students’ return to brick and mortar classrooms. At the same time, the district’s autistic students started on Monday, Oct. 12 with a staggered reintroduction for other special needs populations between next week and Nov. 9.

Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction Eveny de Mendez added that when in-person classes begin the week of Nov. 9, the students will be broken in different cohorts–two at the elementary schools and four at the middle schools and high school.

She continued that in order to prepare for the incoming cohorts, the district is planning  professional development (PD) sessions centering around instructional strategies for teaching both in-person and remotely.

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Princeton Board of Education Profile: Michele Tuck-Ponder

PRINCETON, NJ — Incumbent Princeton Board of Education Vice-President Michele Tuck-Ponder is running for another term this coming election.

A resident of Princeton, Tuck-Ponder has held various offices in over the past 30 years, including Mayor. Tuck-Ponder says she’s a strong advocate for reasonable spending and cost saving measures. She wants to ensure all students get equal and excellent education without putting much burden on the taxpayer.

Read below to learn more about Tuck-Ponder and her platform for the upcoming elections in Princeton.

Name – Michele Tuck-Ponder

Age (as of Election Day) – 62

Position Sought – Member, Board of Education

Does anyone in your family work in politics or government? – No

Education –

B.S. Journalism, Northwestern University

J.D. University of Pennsylvania Law School

Occupation –

Executive Director, Destination Imagination (2017- present)

Previous or Current Elected or Appointed Office –

Princeton Township Committeewoman

Mayor, Princeton Township

Commissioner, Princeton Housing

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Highland Park Community Foundation Honors Highland Park High School Teachers with 2020 HPCF Golden Apple Award

The Highland Park Community Foundation (HPCF) has recognized three well-deserving Highland Park High School teachers with 2020 HPCF Golden Apple Awards. This year’s honorees are Josh Chodoroff, HPHS Band Director; Nairy Hagopian, Spanish Teacher; and Katrina Tolemy, Special Education Essentials Teacher.

“The Highland Park Community Foundation is privileged to honor Josh, Nairy, and Katrina as the HPCF’s 2020 Golden Apple Recipients,” said Sara Sher, HPCF Golden Apple selection committee chair. “We want to recognize these exemplary teachers for the valuable work they do every day on behalf of the children in our community. The Highland Park Community Foundation celebrates these extraordinary individuals for their positive impact and their teaching in both the classroom and the virtual world.”



To recognize outstanding teachers in the Highland Park School systems, in 2010, the Highland Park Community Foundation worked with a local family foundation to launch the annual HPCF Golden Apple Award. The HPCF

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Read a Minneapolis teacher’s poignant, honest obituary

Not so for Kelly Norden, whose death announcement starts off stating simply that Norden, “age 42, took her own life on October 3.” 

Norden, who’d worked as a special education teacher at Edison High School, is survived by her husband, Jason, two step-sons, and both of her parents. She went to Park Center High School in Brooklyn Park and Augsburg College, and had started working at Edison, where she specialized in autism, in 2005. 

“Everyone loved Kelly and remember her as a fierce advocate for students and a gifted teacher,” reads the obituary. “Kelly struggled with mental health concerns for much of her adult life and worked hard to be healthy and live life fully. The year 2020, brought an overabundance of challenges that shook Kelly’s world and she fought to win the battle.”

Norden was a “good listener” and “absolutely stylish,” and known for her appreciation for mochas and

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