Showing the new global resistance of teachers and their unions to reforms that have wrecked public education throughout the world, teachers in Zimbabwe and Denver Colorado have announced forthcoming strike dates over stalled contract negotiations. These actions come as the United Teachers of Los Angeles has scored an impressive victory in its fight against powerful business elites controlling public education in Los Angeles.  A one-day walkout was organized in Virginia and strike votes have been taken in other US cities and counties.  The #RedforEd movement in the US is spreading - again.  Teachers in charter schools are also joining the movement.


The Zimbabwe Teachers Association (Zimta) and the Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) have voted to strike February 5 to protect public education and its members right to a living wage. Economic deterioration in the country, a result of failed economic reforms imposed by world financial organizations, has left what the unions call “rot,” that has caused deterioration in the nation’s schools.
The strike date occurs amidst disagreement within the groups representing government workers and technical staff about whether a full-blown strike is the best response to the government’s  refusal to budge on what all the unions agree is a wholly inadequate wage increase, and how the decision has been made, with ZIMTA and PTUZ arguing that a decision to strike must be “membership-driven” and not decided unilaterally by representatives of the Apex Council, the umbrella organization of government workers.


Members of the Denver Classroom Teachers Association, which represents educators in the Denver Public School system, have voted to strike to demand teachers’ pay be increased across the board, rather than being based on one-time bonuses for improving students’ test scores or for only those working in high-poverty schools. Teachers also insist on restoring increased pay for continuing their education, which used to be the standard way of funding teachers’ salaries in the US. In the past two decades educational policies have tried to make teaching an “easy-in” and “fast exit” occupation, rather than a career.  The promised the “merit pay” or “pay for performance” increases pegged to students’ scores on standardized test scores have not been carried out in many cities, and when there have been raises they have had minimal impact on teachers’ wages because they have been given to small number of teachers and/or have been small amounts of money.