Kentucky, Oklahoma teachers flood state capitols to demand money for schools

Kentucky, Oklahoma teachers flood state capitols to demand money for schools
Kentucky, Oklahoma teachers flood state capitols to demand money for schools

03 April, 2018

Although House Bill 1010XX, which was signed into law by Gov. Mary Fallin last week, provides education funding, she said that the $50 million in the bill "will buy less than one textbook per student in Oklahoma".

The Oklahoma Education Association demanded $10,000 in raises for teachers over the next three years, KOKH-TV reported.

I met math teachers who mow lawns in Inola and heard tales of professors who sell blood in Broken Arrow, but teachers aren't the only frustrated public servants in Oklahoma. "We had 70 percent turnover in the last five years in my school", he says. "We need to take this all the way".

SB 151 drew bipartisan opposition on Thursday, and some Republican and Democratic lawmakers stood outside KEA headquarters as teachers readied for the march.

In the video, Deming asked the legislature for more funding.

Some teachers said their salaries were so low that they needed second jobs - such as working as restaurant waiters or mowing lawns - to make ends meet.

"After I saw them on CNN, I got on Facebook and I typed in 'Oklahoma walk out, '" says Alberto Morejon, a third-year history teacher and baseball coach at Stillwater Junior High.

Teachers held a massive rally at the state Capitol in 2014, dozens of teachers ran for state office in 2016, and there was an unsuccessful effort two years ago to pass a statewide sales tax to fund a pay raise. Now, teachers in Arizona thronged their GOP-run Capitol this week, demanding a 20 percent teacher pay hike.

"We need more money for support staff, we need more money for the state education budget, we need more money for the cost of living adjustment for retired teachers", Greg Oppel, a social studies teacher at Edmond Memorial High School was quoted by NewsOK as saying.

"We will be here watching every move legislators make", Stephanie Winkler, president of the Kentucky Education Association, told the Courier Journal.

"We are through correcting their mistakes".

Kentucky, Oklahoma teachers flood state capitols to demand money for schools
Kentucky, Oklahoma teachers flood state capitols to demand money for schools

Thousands of protesting teachers and their supporters, many of them bused in from across the state, filled the Capitol grounds and spilled over into the surrounding streets.

A call to close schools subsequent to Monday will be made on a day-to-day basis and will be dependent on an employee survey.

Teachers in the U.S. states of Oklahoma and Kentucky are protesting over a range of issues from funding to benefits. The spending and taxing proposals cleared the Senate on Monday and went to the House, which was expected to vote on the measures later on Monday.

Language arts teacher Lesley Buckner was reluctant to give lawmakers much credit.

"The funding issue is the biggest roadblock we have right now", he said. They stay up late grading anyway. The rally Monday is happening after hundreds of Kentucky teachers called in sick Friday to protest last-minute changes to their pension system.

Taylor from Guthrie writes, "We want education funding restored".

Union leaders with @okcAFT have indicated that our teachers plan to continue the walkout tomorrow. Opponents objected that the pension changes were inserted into an unrelated bill without a chance for public input, and worry that the changes will discourage young people from joining the profession.

During on Monday's rally, some teachers, angry at lawmakers who supported the bill, chanted "Vote them out".

Christine Wertz, a fourth grade teacher at Bixby North Intermediate, says she's grateful for the teacher raise passed last week, but teacher retention will be tough if the teaching environment is challenging with large class sizes.

Norton said she's looking forward being with other Oklahoma educators and seeing what lawmakers have to say.

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