Oklahoma teachers cram Capitol a 2nd day

06 April, 2018, 01:51 | Author: Hope Soto
  • Oklahoma teachers move to North Texas

Outside, despite cold weather, thousands of educators and supporters from across the state appeared content to stay at the Capitol until lawmakers represented their wishes.

And on Tuesday, she signed another measure that gives a pay bump to school support staff, like janitors and teaching aides.

When Oklahoma Republicans finally passed a massive tax hike for hundreds of millions of new dollars for public schools and teacher pay raises, they thought they would get a thank you. Next week, more districts in Arizona are expecting to join the demonstrations.

Teachers said they appreciate the pay increase, but they said more work remains to adequately funding public schools statewide. One of the factors that unchained this event can be traced to the ones that took place in West Virginia a month ago, where teachers received a pay raise after a strike that kept schools closed for nearly two weeks. Wednesday, the building was so packed that state troopers shut entrances.

Speaking to the World Socialist Web Site, retired Kentucky teacher Barbara Kussow Barr said, "Teachers have been quite shocked by how bills are handled and how politics is handled".

"For 10 years we did nothing, so it's time to do something", he said. "I haven't seen her out here talking to us".

Kentucky educators have been fighting for months to demand adequate education funding, oppose the growth of charter schools and to retain pension and health care benefits for retirees.

GOP Gov. Mary Fallin signed legislation in late March granting teachers pay raises of about $6,100, or 15 to 18 percent. The bill passed Thursday night removes the "inviolable contract" clause, which guarantees pension levels set at the hire-in date, for all teachers employed after January 1, 2019. "It was always funding for our schools", she said.

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State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister said the measure will provide "desperately needed" funding for textbooks.

The state's austerity axe delivers daily punishment to a struggling student population: The proportion of special needs and English-language-learner children has soared in Oklahoma in recent years, according to the OEA, and the majority of kids are so impoverished they need subsidized lunches. In education rallies in the past, we've only had one day.

"The problem is we only have so much money", he said. Educators in Kentucky also demonstrated against years of stagnant or reduced budgets by a Republican-controlled legislature.

"My plans are to share, share, share!" she said. The average salary increase for those who fled to other states was about $19,000, the survey showed. One by one, glancing at notes on their phones, they spoke of crowded classrooms, crumbling textbooks and, most of all, overworked and underpaid teachers whom they adore. In West Virginia, funds were stripped from the state Medicaid program to fund a salary bump.

A leader of Oklahoma's largest teacher union says he doesn't think two revenue bills pending in the Senate are enough to prevent a teacher walkout from stretching into next week. The Senate adjourned without taking any action regarding education funding.

The unions are notorious for acquiescing to this type of "whipsawing" which pits workers against each other rather than uniting all sections of the working class against the devastating attacks of the financial elite. He created a Facebook group that drew tens of thousands of members and became an organizing vehicle for the walkout.

Barr noted, "All of us are pretty appalled at the behavior of the elected representatives".

In his speech, Curtis told his fellow students to register to vote as soon as they could, and to vote out of office state lawmakers who won't increase school funding.


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