Oklahoma, Kentucky teachers plan walk out, huge rallies

Tuesday, 03 Apr, 2018

Alicia Priest, president of the Oklahoma Education Association, said during the rally that drew thousands to the state Capitol that teachers will continue pressing their demands for lawmakers to approve more funding for pay raises and classrooms.

Dozens of tables and chairs were set up by students to allow for the AP language and AP literature arts classes to hold court in the State Capitol lawn among hundreds of other protesters.

Oklahoma teachers have an average salary of $42,460, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, and rank No. 48 in average U.S. classroom salary. In comparison, the average starting salaries for Kentucky and Oklahoma were $36,494 and $31,919 respectively.

A Perth father is demanding answers after teachers failed to intervene during a violent schoolyard fight.

What do Kentucky teachers demand?

Educators in West Virginia and Oklahoma are lobbying for more pay while Kentucky's teachers are fighting proposed changes to their pensions plans.

The teacher prayed for her third-grade students, who face a high-stakes reading test this year that will determine whether they advance to fourth grade.

National Education Association President Lily Eskelsen Garcia spoke to thousands during the rally in Oklahoma, saying lawmakers need to do more. "We don't have enough adults in the building to keep the number of students we have safe or still learning".

I got another shock when I met Mickey Miller, a high school economics teacher in Tulsa and co-founder of the OTU with Cagle.

In Kentucky, nearly all the state's 173 school districts were closed, a lot of them to allow teachers to protest, a spokesman for the Kentucky Education Association said.

A teacher rebellion that started in the hills of West Virginia spread like a prairie fire to Oklahoma this week and now threatens to reach the desert in Arizona.

OEA announced that it is tentatively planning a teacher walkout for April 2 if legislators didn't increase teacher and staff pay.

In Oklahoma, teachers like Cagle have stepped up, discontent with union leadership.

The Oklahoma Education Association-with 12,000 members out of a teaching workforce of 42,000 in the state-has put forward a legislative proposal that would give teachers a $10,000 raise over three years, with $6,000 of it coming in the first year.

"I hope that they change the funding or gather the funding that we need for the textbooks and just school funding". So all you teachers go work at these Christian schools and we'll indoctrinate you in some way'. Band teachers can ask for instruments; science teachers can ask for lab equipment; kindergarten teacher can ask for craft supplies - one teacher even asked for help raising money to take her environmental science class on a field trip to the Grand Canyon.

The reversal on tax cuts in Oklahoma was particularly stunning, because lawmakers there included a hike on the normally sacrosanct energy industry, increasing the production tax on oil and natural gas from 2 percent to 5 percent.

Oklahoma's inflation-adjusted general funding per student dropped by 28.2 percent between 2008 and 2018, the biggest cut of any state, according to the nonpartisan Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. So you have many Republicans who will have to defend a vote to increase taxes back home.

It's unclear how long the walkout may last.

Are there other strikes, walkouts?

Kentucky teachers chanted in front of the capitol in Frankfort.

Education advocates are expected to push for additional taxes to fund school budgets, possibly including an end to the capital gains tax deduction and approval of ball and dice gaming at casinos.