Starting with West Virginia in late February, a number of Republican-majority, right-to-work states have seen strikes by public-school teachers, and the teachers have, by and large, gained significant concessions from state legislatures. These strikes have, not surprisingly, energized the Left, and especially the rising socialist Left. Interestingly, though, they’ve also revealed cleavages among Republicans. In May, for example, Travis Brenda, a socially conservative public-school teacher in rural Rockcastle County, Ky., bested a rising-star Republican incumbent in a GOP state-senate primary. What was the issue that propelled him to victory? Teacher pay, of course.As in Kansas, South Carolina, and Louisiana, Republican voters and legislators have found that there are real limits to what hard core conservative policies can achieve. Conservative rhetoric still thrives on the right, but at the state level moderate policies are back in fashion.
Which leads me to Oklahoma. . . . Basically, the Oklahoma state legislature tried to meet some of the teachers’ demands after a statewide strike. Most Republican legislators decided to get behind legislation that would boost teacher pay. However, 19 legislators voted against the bill, presumably out of concern about its fiscal consequences. Now, after the GOP primary runoff earlier this week, it is assured that 15 of them won’t return to the legislature next year, as CNN reports. Some chose to retire from office, others were term-limited, and then, most notably, eight of them lost their primaries to opponents who were more solicitous of the interests of public-school teachers.
Friday, August 31, 2018
Echoes of the Teacher Strikes
News from the Oklahoma primaries: