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The West Virginia teachers strike, explained

A podcast episode to answer all your teachers strike questions.

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After nine days, the West Virginia teachers strike is over. The teachers have come to an agreement with the governor and state lawmakers: a 5 percent raise and a hold on raising health insurance costs.

This follows nearly two weeks of negotiations during which educators were initially informed they’d be receiving a 1 percent salary bump — a figure described as “insulting” and one that basically amounted to a pay cut once rising health care premiums, inflation, and cost of living were taken into consideration.

Clarksburg High School math teacher Cathy Pizzino explained, “The walkout really was driven by the change in insurance, and that we were getting a pay cut. Every time you would go in at lunch, somebody was talking about how dire the situation was. It was like ... we have got to get organized and do something.”

Now, after seeing the success of Pizzino and her colleagues, teachers in Oklahoma and Arizona are gearing up for a similar fight.

For more on the state of public school education and why this matters, Sean Rameswaram talked to Pizzino and reporter Dave Mistich for the latest episode of Today, Explained:

Related reading:

How do I get even more Today, Explained?

You can get the news we’re reading throughout the day, facts and stats to make you smarter about the world, and behind-the-scenes photos on Twitter at @Today_Explained. You can follow Sean at @Rameswaram, Cathy Pizzino at @mamapizzino, and Dave Mistich at @davemistich.

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