Map: Wave of New Teacher Strikes Hits Illinois

Following Chicago’s big teacher strike, several Chicagoland districts are facing new protests. And: see strikes near you over the last 40 years.

Update Wednesday, November 14: Thought teacher strikes were yesterday’s news? Turns out that September’s walkout by Chicago teachers set off a rash of other strikes in Illinois. The Chicago Teachers Union ultimately ratified a 3-year contract, raising pay by about 18 percent on average. But Lake Forest teachers decided to strike the same week over similar issues: health care, benefits, and performance evaluations linked to standardized test scores, closely followed by three additional Chicagoland teacher strikes. We’ve also updated the map with submissions from reader comments, so keep them coming!

By our count, there have been 839 teacher strikes in the US in the last four decades, 740 in Pennsylvania alone. See our map below to find out where teachers have gone on strike the most, and which states prohibit teachers from hitting the picket line.

(See below the map for notes on the ins-and-outs of what constitutes a strike, strike legality, and more.)

Are we missing a strike? We are building this data set as we go, so if you know of a strike in your hometown in the last 40 years or so, please leave it in the comments below.

Note that in some states, for example Washington, teachers are not legally protected if they strike, but don’t face any legal penalties if they choose to do so. In these states, courts can still order teachers back into the classroom (Emanuel tried this tactic in Chicago.)

In Maryland, it is not illegal for teachers to strike, but it is illegal for unions to direct a strike, according to Susan Russel, head legal counsel at the Maryland State Education Association

Some strikes in prohibitive states occurred before anti-strike laws were passed; but in other cases, teachers found ways to skirt the law (by calling in sick, en masse), or risked jail time.

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We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

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