Oklahoma teachers who just got raises rally for more funding


Teachers picket around the Oklahoma State Capitol in Oklahoma City, April 2, 2018, as teachers rally against low school funding.

When the OEA issued a statement calling it was a step in the right direction but saying "Our ask is still our ask", some in the public began wondering how much is enough.

Canadian County's Yukon Public Schools Superintendent Jason Simeroth told MSNBC that in his district alone it would cost $1 million to replace all of the outdated math textbooks.

"We don't want public education to receive any cuts", she said. State leaders say it's critical to fix the pension crisis, which ranks as one of the worst in the US.

"I feel like the message is: I'm going to take the raise while my students get breadcrumbs".

"It is a heartfelt thing".

"Less is better when you're trying to get inside the building", said Captain Paul Timmons. Teachers there have been fighting for better salaries, since, by some estimates, Oklahoma has the lowest teacher salary in the nation.

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. Kentucky teachers continued to strike on Monday, leading to the shuttering of all public schools in the state. In Frankfort, groups of teachers gathered under banners bearing names of school districts spread from Pike County in eastern Kentucky to Marshall County in the west.

Franco says his school runs out of paper frequently and he wants to give his students more opportunity than they have now. Under the bill, new teachers would have to a less generous pension plan and would have to work longer before being eligible for retirement benefits. But Monday's event is shaping up as their biggest event as lawmakers try to reach agreement on a new budget. Coverage has included revealing interviews with teachers who are forced to work multiple jobs just to make ends meet. Only teachers in MS and South Dakota earn less, according to the report.

A NATIONWIDE MOVEMENT: Teachers are striking all over.

In case you've missed the coverage, U.S. However, these bargaining rights came at a price. The anti-union law passed in 2001 with the justification that the state would become more attractive to business. While school officials keep an eye on the budget, they also continue to press forward with even more curriculum development.

Last week, Gov. Mary Fallin signed a bill that raises teachers' salaries by an average of $6,100. The state teachers' union has been demanding $10,000 raises for teachers; $5,000 raises for support staff; and $200 million in educational funding. She said some classrooms don't have enough textbooks, and that some books are more than 20 years old - affecting the quality of education for students. Salaries for teachers in West Virginia ranked 48th in the nation when they made a decision to strike, according to the National Education Association, the country's largest teacher's union. "But it's like, at what point do I leave Oklahoma and just drive the 30 minutes into Kansas?"

Thousands of teachers and education supporters are marching in Oklahoma City, and schools all over the state are closed ahead of a rally at the state Capitol for more education funding.

"It's day-by-day, depending upon the Legislature fulfilling their promise", Priest said. That obligation has not been met yet.

Oklahoma is one of 12 states that slashed education spending following the 2008 recession and failed to restore those funds as the economy improved, according to the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, a left-leaning Washington DC research and policy institute. Then, lawmakers sought to repeal a tax increase on hotels that is critical to the funding increases, according to The Oklahoman.

"I actually had gone into this year of teaching knowing that more than likely it was going to be my last year", Heath said.