Saturday, 21 April, 2018

Oklahoma Teachers End Walkout After Winning Raises and Additional Funding

Big Pay Raise Lures Oklahoma's “Teacher Of The Year” To North Texas Oklahoma teachers inspired to run for office
Anna Jefferson | 13 April, 2018, 06:16

"Despite tens of thousands of people filling the Capitol, we have seen no significant legislative movement since last Friday", said president of the Oklahoma Education Association (OEA) Alicia Priest during a Thursday afternoon press conference, CBS Oklahoma City affiliate KWTV reports.

The head of the state's largest union says it's time to shift their focus to electing pro-education candidates to the state legislature.

Chad Warmington, president of the Oklahoma Oil & Gas Association, said the industry supported an increase in education funding, but should not have been made to shoulder the burden.

"We've been passive in allowing our situation to be what it is because our concentration has always been on our students in front of us and not on the broad picture around us", said Haskell Elementary School Principal Scott Bein.

Updated 3:56 p.m.

Dear Mr. Dave Ruthenberg, I realize your union exposé piece (Opinion, "COLUMN: The union behind the walkout", April 11, Enid News & Eagle) was meant to give a counterpoint to the overwhelming public support for our teacher walkout.

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Opinion studies revealed it'd garnered support among Oklahoma voters, a number of whom'd seen how students go to a in-state school week to conserve districts income and at educational institutions had to share school school and outdated textbooks. As a result, school districts needed to minimize on curricula and deploy nearly teachers as a stop gap step.

In the hours before the announcement, and after the Legislature quickly adjourned until Monday, teachers streamed out of the building trying to figure out what to do next.

"Our members are saying they want to go back to the classroom", said Priest, whose union has about 40,000 members. Less than five minutes after lawmakers met two of the union's most pressing asks - the new tax of online sellers and legalizing ball and dice games in casinos - last week, the union announced it wasn't enough, Treat said.

So far Oklahoma City and Tulsa schools have announced they will also remain closed Friday. "They've been out for two weeks, and it's time for them to get back to school", Fallin said in a statement.

Protester march during a strike by Oklahoma educators demanding more school funding near the Oklahoma state Capitol in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, U.S., April 9, 2018.

"They are looking at family vacations, Summer school and other items that were already scheduled", said OSSBA Executive Dir. "We are going to get to the point where it is an unstoppable force meets an unmovable object".

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