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First teachers’ strike since 1975 looms in Columbus, Ohio

Nearly 200 members of the Columbus Educators Association at a picket captain training meeting [Photo by Columbus Education Association]

This Sunday, 4,000 Columbus City Schools (CCS) educators are scheduled to vote on strike action as they seek to mount a long-overdue counteroffensive against years of attacks on public education in schools across the city.

A “yes” vote and a strike, however, should only be the starting point of the struggle. The WSWS urges all teachers to join and create the Educator Safety Committee and connect with workers across the United States and around the world who are struggling against the same conditions of austerity, infrastructure neglect , increase in the cost of living and murderous decision. class policy allowing COVID-19 and monkeypox to spread unhindered.

Columbus educators face a particularly horrific and dangerous work environment following decades of bipartisan budget cuts. This includes deteriorating buildings, lack of arts and physical education teachers, standing room classes, lack of functioning heating, ventilation and cooling systems (much less suitable for COVID-19) and low wages.

Educators and students across the city (under Democratic Party control since 2000) are forced to contend with cockroaches, rodents, freezing cold or scorching buildings, unsafe wiring and downright filthy conditions. Teachers are reporting via social media about truly appalling conditions for educators, let alone children.

Pest traps with cockroaches in a Columbus classroom [Photo by CEA]

Angie Renee posted about the rodent infestation in her classroom, one corner of which “was covered in mouse droppings and urine. … It was bad. Anything in the corner had to be thrown away.

Karen Kelly wrote: “One year I bought 6 new posters for my walls. The heating pipes burst in my [class]room and the humidity knocked them all off the walls. When I arrived the next morning there were about 16 of these large creatures [water bugs] attached to the tape.

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