Oklahoma teachers walk out in wage dispute

April 05 01:24 2018

“Even though we got something as teachers, I feel like our schools didn’t get funded enough”, Charlie Crawford said.

But Priest said the funding still falls short of fixing problems such as “classrooms with more students than desks, duct-taped text books, and schools that are only heated to 60 degrees”.

The Oklahoma Education Association says the public is on the side of teachers as a statewide walkout reaches its third day. The strikes come after a similar movement in West Virginia last month, which ended with teachers there winning a pay raise. “Teachers now recognize that we have the ability to get things done, so they’re trying to press us to actually get it done”. Some schools were closed for spring vacation.

Some middle and high school students joined the teachers Wednesday and are also calling for more education funding.

In a rousing video on Facebook, Alicia Priest, president of the Oklahoma Education Association, said the government needs to do more to “invest in our classrooms” and “undo a decade of neglect” of both teachers and students.

The Oklahoma strikes on Monday coincided with a second day of walkouts by several thousand teachers in Kentucky after legislators there passed a bill imposing new limits on the state’s underfunding public employee pension system. The state’s teachers rank among the lowest-paid in the country.

“We don’t want public education to receive any cuts”, she said. “So coming to this protest and seeing my peer group become active in politics and issues that affect us has been incredibly inspiring for me”.

Schools in almost 27 districts in Oklahoma including three in Oklahoma City, Tulsa, and Edmond, remained shuttered on Tuesday, and 500,000 of the state’s 700,000 public school students saw their classes canceled on Monday, union officials said.

Her statement on the teachers’ walkout Monday emphasized that the state has other obligations, besides education. That’s far less than educators in neighboring states, making it hard – for many districts, impossible – to find and keep qualified teachers.

Jason Simeroth, the superintendent of schools in Yukon, Oklahoma, told MSNBC, to replace the outdated math textbooks the district would need US$1 million.

“We will hold the line until hell freezes over, and then we will be here on ice skates”, Muskogee High School teacher Diane Walker said.

Oklahoma teachers seized every floor of the state Capitol on Tuesday during their ongoing strike for more education funding. But she said they shouldn’t expect miracles. “If it’s needed for us to do it again, I think there are lots of people that would be willing to do it”.

But he said he and his colleagues, many of whom have called in sick to protest the bill, were angry about not having a seat at the negotiation table with Bevin, a Republican, and the Republican majority in the Legislature.

Still, some question why teachers are continuing to stay off the job after lawmakers approved new money for schools and raises.

“I’m not voting for another stinking measure when they are acting the way they are acting”.

Derek Harris teaches band in the Tucson Unified School District.

Kansas is a more encouraging example for teachers.

But Carri Hicks, a fourth-grade math and science teacher in the Oklahoma City suburb of Deer Creek, said she made a decision to run as a Democrat for a state Senate seat this year in part because of the declines in funding for public schools. But some educators – who haven’t seen a pay increase in 10 years – say that isn’t good enough and walked out.

Tanner Bryan is a biology teacher at Stillwater High School.'“Every year I’ve seen teachers of the year and really impressive teachers and support staff leave because they don’t feel like they’re treated like they should

Oklahoma teachers walk out in wage dispute
 
 
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