North Penn teacher’s strike limited by PA law

    Teachers at North Penn School District in Montgomery County remain on strike this morning. But they’ll have to go back to work Wednesday according to Pennsylvania law.

    Teachers at North Penn School District in Montgomery County remain on strike this morning.  But they’ll have to go back to work Wednesday according to Pennsylvania law.

    The limited strike is a byproduct of changes to the state’s strike laws.

    Ron Cowell is now President of the Education Policy and Leadership Center, a professional development program in Harrisburg. But in 1992, Cowell, as a state senator, co-authored Act 88, which said teachers could not strike for so long that it would shorten the school year.

    “There were concerns about – particularly from a student standpoint – the students’ schedule being disrupted and, in some cases, being shortchanged,” says Cowell, “that is, not getting 180 days of school.”

    Cowell says the limited strike time was a compromise, allowing teachers some avenue for exerting leverage while limiting disruption for students.  He says that system has been fairly successful.

    But, he says, in the absence of a binding arbitration process, the law means teachers can sometimes work for years without a contract.

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