During National School Choice Week (January 21 – 27, 2024), students, educators, and parents are participating in thousands of celebratory events across the country. In stark contrast, in Newton, Massachusetts, 11,700 students are shut out of school; sports, fine arts, and after-school programs are canceled; and parents are scrambling for childcare. 

Even though it is illegal for public employees to strike in Massachusetts, the Newton Teachers Association launched a strike on Friday. The average Newton public school teacher made $93,031 in 2020-21 and Newton spent $24,521 per student in 2022. So, why did the union close schools with a strike?

The Newton Teachers Association laments the “chronic underfunding of the schools” and demands a social worker in every elementary and middle school, protection from rising health insurance costs, and other “progressive policies.” 

At what amount would the schools be fully funded? What salary is high enough? At what point are all of the progressive demands met?  It’s never enough for teachers unions. 

School closures harm children academically, socially and emotionally. Strikes disrupt communities. Dedicated educators want to be in classrooms teaching, not singing about contracts. Parents in Newton and across the country deserve education options so they can enroll their children in schools that are not captive to union demands.

To learn more about recent teachers union strikes, read Four Unions That Closed School This Fall, and listen to the Students Over Systems podcast episode, “Derrell Bradford: Should We Be Hostile to Teachers Unions?.”

For more information about teachers unions, check out the IWF Education Freedom Center