Oklahoma teacher of the year discusses walkout

Posted April 07, 2018

Teachers vowed to extend into next week their already five-day-old strike, which has affected more than 500,000 students statewide.

"I recognize the fact that our teachers feel very passionate about the opportunity for advocacy at the state Capitol", Anderson said in a prepared statement.

"Teachers want more, but it's kind of like having a teenage kid that wants a better vehicle", Fallin said in an interview with CBS News.

But unlike many legislators who budget year-to-year with a cynical eye toward voting cycles, Benge takes the long view on educational investment. Almost all the revenue generated from both measures will be earmarked for public education.

No wonder many other civil servants rallied in solidarity with this over-stressed, mostly woman public workforce.

"F-minus, definitely", said Giles, a Moore third-grade teacher, who has been at the Capitol every day since Monday.

Despite the ongoing teacher protests at the state capitol, Senate Majority Floor Leader Greg Treat says the Oklahoma Senate will not drastically change education spending.

Teachers in some districts on Wednesday morning held so-called "walk-ins" while heading into school. It was a meeting to discuss all implications, both positive and negative, that occur with a teacher walkout.

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But Carri Hicks, a fourth-grade math and science teacher in the Oklahoma City suburb of Deer Creek, said she chose to run as a Democrat for a state Senate seat this year in part because of the declines in funding for public schools.

Teachers couldn't help but notice that her Capitol parking space stood empty most of the week, so they brought in their own kiddie vehicle and parked it there, said Stephen Cookson, who teaches ninth-grade math at a southwest Oklahoma City school.

Thousands of teachers converged on the Capitol Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday after similar demonstrations in West Virginia, where teachers walked out before winning a 5 percent raise.

"We're not just here for teacher pay raises", he said to loud cheers. "Everyone hopes this walkout ends soon, including the teachers, but we all want a better future for our children".

The passage of the Amazon tax and Ball and Dice alone "will almost double the increase in funding for Oklahoma students since the walkout started", said Alicia Priest, president of the OEA, on Wednesday.

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"It's been a hassle, that's for sure", said Hardwick, who said she may have to take a day off work without pay.

The continuing strikes in Oklahoma are the latest in a series of actions by educators and school administrators throughout the country.

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Arizona educators and others are showing support for a push to increase classroom funding and teacher pay with "walk-in" protests outside Phoenix-area schools.

Fallin also signed a bill that raises education funding by $50 million; the teachers' union wanted that number to be higher. Teachers were at the heart of massive protests at the Wisconsin state Capitol in 2011, fighting a proposal from then-newly elected Republican Gov. Scott Walker. Republican Gov. Doug Ducey has said he is sticking to a 1 percent increase.

Some Oklahoma educators and their supporters have begun a 110-mile march to urge state lawmakers to increase funding for classrooms.

Oklahoma is one of a string of red states now encountering an uprising from teachers after years of austerity.

Marchers plan to hike about six hours to Kellyville High School about 18 miles (30 kilometers) away. A week later, the art teacher from Puterbaugh Middle School in McAlester, Oklahoma, had received more than $44,000 in donated supplies, as of Wednesday evening.

Oklahoma's internet sales tax measure, which was already passed by the state House of Representatives, now heads to Republican Governor Mary Fallin, who is expected to sign it.

The state ranks 49th in the nation in teacher salaries, according to the National Education Association, in a list that includes Washington, D.C. Only Mississippi and South Dakota rank lower than Oklahoma.

"For years, my profession has been under siege by our legislature".

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