With the 2009-10 school year coming to a close last month it is worthwhile to measure the number of teacher strikes that occurred. There were a total of six in the Commonwealth-South Butler, Saucon Valley, Lackawanna Career and Tech, Penn Hills, McGuffey, and North Penn-according to data from the PA School Boards Association. Over 25k students were affected by the strikes. It was the lowest strike count since the 1995-96 school year when there were 5 strikes.
Prior research has shown that PA is one of 13 states that permit teacher strikes, but the two most comparable states are the nearby mid-western neighbors of Ohio and Illinois. Note that both states have more school districts than Pennsylvania’s 500: 612 and 893 respectively, thus more opportunity for work stoppages.
So how did those states stack up in the 09-10 school year? According to the labor board in each state, Ohio had none and Illinois had 4. Pennsylvania topped the neighboring states, and that’s not surprising at all given the longer term trend. Pennsylvania topped both states in the 2000-08 time frame with 86 strikes to Ohio’s 18 and Illinois’ 69. The two neighboring states combined for just one more strike than PA even though they have three times the number of districts combined.