Here's why Oklahoma teachers walked out today

03 April, 2018, 02:45 | Author: Essie Rivera
  • “I had to say something,” Moore middle school student vocalizes her support of teacher walkout	 	 	 			Highland East

Tens of thousands of teachers in the US states of Oklahoma and Kentucky took to the streets Monday, demanding better pay and more funding for education.

While teachers acknowledge the pay increase, they say they are fighting the lack of funding for education programs and supplies.

She also signed a bill to increase taxes on cigarettes, motor fuel, lodging and oil and gas production that would raise an estimated $475 million. The move was done in response to chronic underfunding of the state's teacher retirement system and in defiance of a powerful teachers union that vowed political retribution. The results of an Edmond Schools teacher poll that concluded this morning show that 66% of Edmond teachers plan to walkout Monday, April 2 and beyond.

"I hope that they change the funding or gather the funding that we need for the textbooks and just school funding". Like so many gendered professions, teachers are notoriously underpaid and undervalued. Teachers represented by Cagle's group want a $10,000 raise.

"It's gut wrenching and I feel like a sellout", said Whitewater, who was disappointed there wasn't a larger funding increase for public schools.

The teachers, majority on their first day of spring break, were joined in a show of solidarity by members of other public employee unions, including those representing firefighters, police, plumber and pipe fitter.

NESA wants the Eagle Arts School to close even though it is only one of three small schools on the Central Coast which cater for teenagers who struggle with mainstream high schools. With the end of Kentucky's legislative session looming, lawmakers returned to the capital Monday to consider new tax legislation and a budget bill that held the potential for further cuts to public education spending. "So if suddenly these teachers just start walking out, going to an extreme, and someone says 'We've got federal dollars coming in but they're earmarked for these private Christian schools".

"If this budget is not in the best interest of public education students and public service, then we will react", Winkler said.

Schools across Kentucky were closed, due either to spring break or to allow teachers and other school employees to attend the rally. Outside the Capitol, a sign said: "You Make Us Sick". Teachers, a lot of them clad in red (as part of the grassroots Wear Red for Ed campaign), later marched to the Capitol itself, filling up the rotunda outside legislative chambers and spilling out the front doors and down the steps.

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Republican lawmakers in Kentucky passed Senate Bill 151, the pension overhaul, on Thursday that preserves benefits for most workers but cuts them for new teachers.

The funding would raise by $5,000 the pay of teachers beginning their career, and provide a raise of almost $8,000 for those with 25 years' experience, lawmakers said.

The OEA "ask" didn't just address teacher salaries, it included raises for support personnel and restoration of school funding that has been lost through state budget cuts as well as raises and funding restoration for state employees and state agencies.

Kentucky's GOP-controlled legislature said the pension reform bill was crafted to help the state cover a $41 billion shortfall in pension costs over the next 30 years.

Thousands of teachers are ready to visit the Oklahoma capitol for several days in their push for increased education funding. She says teachers don't have the funding or materials to education students.

"We need to do a better job, as I've said a number of times, of getting our message out", Nemes told WDRB News.

However, Potter said the Education Ministry had to approve which schools joined communities, who led them, and their goals or "achievement challenges".

Bevin, a Republican who has not announced whether he will sign the legislation, tweeted in support of the pension bill, saying public workers owe "a deep debt of gratitude" to lawmakers.

"Our kids deserve it", said Delinda Curtis.


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