Wow. The events unfolding this week in Buena Vista Township, Michigan are both inspiring and sad all at same time. When the Buena Vista Education Association announced on Monday that it had run out of money to pay its teachers’ salaries, the teachers there voted to continue teaching anyway—without pay.
The school board then held an emergency meeting that very night in which they decided to lay off all the teachers instead and close the school indefinitely; a move that affects more than 400 students.
“We voted to continue working,” said Joe Ann Nash, Buena Vista Education Association president and a third-grade teacher. “And they voted to lay us off anyway.”
While this story is still evolving, you can read the latest here and start a conversation with the following questions:
Why do you think the teachers in this story offered to continue teaching without pay?
If you were one of those teachers, would you have done the same? Why or why not?
What if you were a member of the school board? Would you have done things differently? What might you have proposed?
Joe Ann Nash recalls that when she told her students that the district didn’t have any money to pay her or the other teachers, the children said they’d follow her wherever she went. Which teacher would you follow anywhere she/he went? Why?
According to the article, the Buena Vista Board of Education president compared the teachers’ offer of work with no pay to slavery. Do you agree or disagree with this comparison? Why or why not?