What's next after Oklahoma, Kentucky teachers' rallies?
- Author: Joanne Flowers Apr 05, 2018,
Apr 05, 2018, 6:00
It's about funding education. "So, we're here to advocate for our students and public education funding and we hope that the march is one way to do that as well". "I think they thought this is all about getting a pay raise and it is absolutely not". Now the movement spread from West Virginia to Kentucky and Oklahoma where many schools are already closed and in anticipation of more walkouts.
Last Friday, hundreds of teachers in Kentucky called in sick to protest last-minute changes to their retirement system.
Teachers have strongly rejected Republican Gov. Mary Fallin's claims that House Bill 1010xx, the funding bill she signed last week, was "historic".
Emily addresses Governor Mary Fallin's comments to a CBS reporter, comparing teachers to a teenage kid wanting a better vehicle, and what it might take to end the walkout.
A bill the state legislature passed last week offered a $6,100 raise for teachers, a gesture the OEA said was insufficient to stop the strike.
Oklahoma City Public Schools announced that schools will remain shut on Wednesday as protests and negotiations with legislators carry on.
Mary Fallin, R, is under siege after she compared striking teachers converging on the state Capitol to rally for education funding to "a teenage kid that wants a better vehicle".
"Teachers have got to vote", Schooler said.
Funding for Oklahoma schools has been cut by almost $200 million over the past decade, but it's unclear if lawmakers will restore any of that money this year.
Wednesday, educators are planning "Walk-Ins" at some schools in the Tucson area.
After teachers converged at their state capital on Monday, another day of walkouts is scheduled Tuesday.
The wave of strikes in Republican-dominated states, mainly organized by ordinary teachers on Facebook, has caught lawmakers and sometimes the teachers' own labor unions flat-footed.
On Monday, about 5,000 Kentucky teachers and their supporters rallied at the state capitol to demand adequate funding for public education while 800 miles away, 15,000 of their colleagues were striking and demonstrating in Oklahoma City. Wood said that after teaching in Oklahoma for seven years, this most likely will be her last year.
The demonstrations have highlighted the teachers' complaints - including salaries that were so low that some teachers needed second jobs, such as working as restaurant waiters or mowing lawns, to make ends meet.
A group of Oklahoma students have joined their teachers on the third day of a statewide walkout by teachers seeking more funding for their classrooms.
One of those who plans to keep walking this week is Kendra Abel, an elementary-school art teacher in Oklahoma City. Student speakers described tattered textbooks, malfunctioning computers and broken classroom furnishings and urged lawmakers to increase spending on their education. "We're going to say that our Legislature started the process and they have a moral obligation to invest in our children and our children's future".
"We are all products of public schools, and we are proud of public education", she said. Most of the state's school districts are on spring break this week. Similar protests were held in Phoenix, Mesa and Gilbert. In schools where teacher pay is tied to student performance, test scores have risen by the equivalent of three additional weeks of learning. Republican Gov. Doug Ducey has said he is sticking to a 1 percent increase.
Oklahoma teachers are selling plasma, driving for Uber and cutting lawns to make a living.
Many districts are making the decision to close schools on a day-to-day basis. They have asked for a $10,000 raise, as well as additional funding for schools and raises for support staff such as bus drivers and custodians.
Many parents express concern over how they will take care of their kids while the teachers are out protesting, but they support the demands for fully funded public education. Teacher struggles, sparked by the nine-day strike in West Virginia and initiated by independent efforts by rank-and-file educators, are challenging years of bipartisan attacks on public education and social services throughout the US.