The Year without a Strike…Almost

The Year without a Strike…Almost

Pennsylvania is the perennial leader in teacher strikes among the small group of states that actually permit them. But the 2011-12 school year was shaping up to be something of a rarity: a school year without a strike. The first months of the school year came and went and there were no strikes until the Neshaminy School District in Bucks County announced on Monday that the teachers’ union had given notice that they were going on strike. It is not yet known how long they will be out but per Act 88 guidelines the District has to complete 180 days by June 14th but a second strike could extend the school year to June 30th.

According to the most recent Department of Education data the District has about 9,400 students and its per student spending is over $16,000.

Data that we have compiled from the PA School Boards Association goes back to the 1976-77 school year but the school years from 1992-93 on are the "Act 88 years" in that they followed the passage of the statute aimed at curtailing school strikes. Last year, the 2010-11 year was the lowest count of strikes and all of them (3 in total) occurred in Allegheny County. The 1992-93 year had 20 strikes, the highest in the Act 88 time period.

The education establishment might be quick to celebrate a year with just one strike, if Neshaminy is indeed the only strike that happens this year. However, since they believe that "no child should be left behind" or that "the only acceptable number of layoffs or forloughs is zero", why should they not be held to the zero acceptable standard when it comes to strikes?