Graduate Project


"We're not doing it anymore": Analyzing teachers' perceptions of power on their stated decisions to strike Public Deposited

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  • The overall reduced funding from public education in the United States has sparked a backlash across the country. Citing inadequate resources, low pay, and an inability to control the direction of their classroom, teachers in seven states (West Virginia, Oklahoma, Kentucky, Colorado, Arizona, North Carolina, and Washington) halted instruction time to redress their grievances. To further understand the commonalities of this teacher movement across the different states that witnessed teacher strikes, I used a comparative, method of agreement case study approach, choosing the most different cases in terms of partisan composition of state governments and structural differences of the public education system. The structural differences include average teacher salaries and per-pupil spending, and it also includes whether teachers striked against their districts or state government. Based on these criteria, I conducted 9 semi-structured interviews with 11 public school teachers who went on strike in Oklahoma and Washington, and I used the political process theory to understand the ways in which they construct their stated reasons for conducting strikes and for understanding how they say they conceive power dynamics within public education. Through these interviews, themes of deprofessionalization, decreased teacher autonomy, and perceptions of lacking trust from people in positions of power emerged from the interviews. Policy recommendations are provided to address the stated grievances of the public school teachers who conducted strikes.
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