Ahead of Next Week's Walkout, Stillwater Teachers Take to the Streets

OK Senate passes education funding bill

OK Senate passes education funding bill

Alberto Morejon, a Stillwater teacher who founded the 72,000-member Facebook group Oklahoma Teacher Walkout - The Time Is Now, said teachers are not ungrateful for the raises lawmakers passed - they simply fell too far short of teacher demands for new money to improve the quality of education for students.

But the Oklahoma Education Association, the state's largest education union, is demanding more and encouraging teachers to walkout and rally at the Capitol on Monday after the lodging tax - which was estimated to generate $50.4 million annually - was repealed a day after being passed.

Stay in touch with us anytime, anywhere. Lawmakers have left funding on the table that could be used immediately to help Oklahoma students. For more than 15 months, the Senate has worked tirelessly to fund a significant teacher pay raise.

Teachers in Oklahoma are among the lowest-paid in the nation.

Oklahoma City Public Schools said all classes and activities are canceled for that day because of the walkout.

The state government has cut education spending by 28.2 percent since the financial crash of 2008-the biggest funding cuts in the country. But that might not be enough to keep teachers from striking. "I want to thank my colleagues in the Senate for their dedication to finding a solution and seeing a teacher pay raise come to fruition", said Senate Pro Tem Mike Schulz, R-Altus.

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"This package doesn't overcome shortfall caused by four-day weeks and overcrowded classrooms that deprive kids of the one-on-one attention they need".

"What yesterday looked like a positive step forward and a historic down payment on our children's future now hangs in the balance as the legislature dismantles the funding needed to solve this crisis they created in the first place", Priest said.

"In our own specific district, we've lost our kindergarten assistants in the last several years, we've lost responsible thinking classroom teaching support". Certainly the teachers had reached the end of their patience, and I can understand and sympathize with that.

In Arizona, thousands of teachers and supporters wearing red swarmed the state Capitol on Wednesday, calling for higher pay and better education funding under what they called #REDforED. Oklahoma was also ranked 47th in expenditures for public K-12 students per student in 2016, according to the National Education Association.

Teachers say they are overworked and underpaid. "We have among the highest class sizes and school counselor loads in the nation, making it hard to meet the individual needs of our students", the group stated. They're hoping their very public display of frustration will pressure state leaders, such as Gov. Doug Ducey.

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