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Several Districts Start the Year With Teacher Strikes

Teachers in Burlington, Vt., are back at work today after a four-day strike.

The local teachers' union and the school board reached a tentative contract agreement Tuesday after an eight-hour mediation session, according to the district. The details of the contract haven't been released. 

The president of the Burlington Education Association, Fran Brock, told Vermont Public Radio that the strike, which began last week and was the first in the city since 1978, was not primarily about salaries. 

"Our teachers, particularly in the elementary school, desperately need time during the school day to prepare, to collaborate, to assess, to evaluate student-centered learning plans, so each and every student can succeed," she said. Instead, elementary teachers have had to supervise students during lunch and recess. 

The 400-teacher walkout prompted some state legislators to renew talks about banning school strikes, the Burlington Free Press reports. (Most states consider teachers essential public personnel and don't allow them to strike.)

Meanwhile, in two small Pennsylvania districts—Abington Heights school district in Clarks Summit and Methacton school district in Eagleville—teacher strikes are ongoing.

In Methacton, about 400 teachers are on day three of their strike. Teachers there, whose contract expired in June, are unhappy with proposed increases to their health care premiums, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer. Under state law, the strike could last up to 15 days.

And in Abington Heights, where about 200 teachers have been on strike since Sept. 12, both sides are turning to social media to air their grievances. The union and the school board have not been able to agree on terms related to salary and benefits (the board has proposed teachers contribute $80 a month toward health care premiums), reports the Times-Tribune.

The local union, the Abington Heights Education Association, has been actively laying out its case on its Facebook page.

A high school senior started an opposing page called Abington Heights Education Taxpayers, according to theTimes-Tribune. 

See also: Understanding Teachers' Strikes: Where They Happen and How Often

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