"respect educators and give us the tools we need to do our jobs"
Teachers already have the tools they need to do their jobs. What they don't have is the courage to use it. Americans need to rethink their concept of education. By going on strike, teachers are supporting the institutionalized bureaucracy that the education system has become. They are playing right into the hands of the politicians who want to remain in control of people's educations. If this problem is ever going to be solved, education will have to happen outside the institutionalized bureaucracy. That means that parents and teachers are going to have to make alternate plans to educate kids. If you want to use the state's buildings and the state's buses and the state's textbooks, and if you subject yourself to the state's curricula, then you are upholding the state-run education system, which is exactly what you are trying to defeat. Don't think you can reform such a system. It will never be reformed. It needs to be replaced. Asking for more money won't fix that system, even if some generous politician does decide to give schools more money. Teachers and parents need to be in full control of the education system, but so far they have not even tried to take back control of education.
Look at it this way. Education is free. Teaching someone something is as simple as sitting down with them and teaching it to them. A walk in the park can be more educational than sitting in a classroom all day. But if we continue to think of education as something that has to happen in state-owned buildings and only state sanctioned curricula can be taught there, and only certain text books and materials can be used, and only people with state sanctioned degrees can do that job, then we are giving up before we even try. We lose to the system in that case. And who could argue that it is a failed system? Why maintain the failed system by demanding that it accommodate what the system will never be able to accommodate?
Kids need an education, but nobody needs an education system. The system is an unnecessary waste of time. The system only moves money around and makes sure kids are contained in a building all day. Nobody is getting any education out of that.