The state’s teachers plan to strike over funding, low pay and tax breaks given to the tech firm
As freezing rain poured down on Virginia last week, a student dressed in only a light red sweater made a mad 40-yard dash from her modular trailer classroom across the parking lot into the warmth of McLean high school in Fairfax county.
Due to overcrowding, more than 22,000 students in Fairfax county receive their education in cheaply constructed plywood trailers, often with visible signs of green mold, like those parked next to the baseball fields next to McClean high school.
Those trailers, the poor state of school funding in general, low teacher pay and now the huge tax breaks the state is giving to lure in Amazon have led the teachers to strike on Monday, the start of the latest in a series of strikes by educators across the US.
In Fairfax county, the third richest county in America, there are over 800 trailers serving as temporary classrooms because the school district cannot afford to build new classrooms.
“Our staff often likes to say that Fairfax county public schools is the biggest trailer dealer on the east coast of the United States” joked school board member Ryan McElveen. “We own 820 trailers, more than any other entity on the entire east coast”.
Throughout Virginia, school districts own thousands of cheaply constructed trailers that present health and safety risks. The trailers are often poorly heated, their plywood construction makes them susceptible to mold, and in some schools, students have even reported accidentally falling through their floors.
To get to the trailers, students are often forced to walk outside of their schools to nearby parking lots; often arriving to class cold and wet, sometimes even getting sick.
“In this era of school shootings, having our children in trailers, which is open to the public without any of the security that we have for the buildings is dangerous, anyone can walk in at any second – that’s not safe and that’s not a good learning environment” said Rachna Sizemore, whose autistic son was forced to transfer to a school nearly a half hour away because of the overcrowding in northern Virginia’s schools.
Just a few miles away from the moldy trailers of McLean high school is the proposed site of on Amazon’s new headquarters in Crystal City, Virginia, right across the Potomac River from the Lincoln Memorial. The influx of new residents to northern Virginia attracted by Amazon is only likely to expand the trailer parks sitting outside of many northern Virginia schools.
The Democratic Governor and Republican state legislature of Virginia decided to award Amazon $750 million to lure them into building their much touted “HQ2” in Virginia.
This is the kind of bipartisanship that just makes you disgusted at the extent of corruption in both parties.
Not all Democrats are created the same, which is why it’s no surprise that Virginia’s piece of shit corporate Democrat Governor Ralph Northam approved this gigantic glut of taxpayer money to go to one of the world’s biggest corporations, Amazon and in effect to Jeff Bezos, the world’s wealthiest man. All this at a time when more students in the Virginia public education system are forced to get their education inside trailers instead of an actual building, because public schools in this country have been neglected so long by the government that they are falling into disrepair.
If Virginia has enough money to give Amazon $750 million, than they should have enough money to make sure that kids don’t have to attend classes in goddamn trailers instead of an actual school building.
We have to stop subsidizing these multinational corporations that just fuck over regular people.
This giant tax subsidy that Amazon corruptly lobbied its way into could have been spent in so many more better ways that simply giving it to a multinational corporation. It could have been spent on infrastructure or like literally anything else that would have helped out average Virginians.
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