Oklahoma students support teachers protesting for more school funding

Oklahoma students support teachers protesting for more school funding

Around each corner, a family wearing shirts displaying the name of their school or an organizer coaching their fellow teachers on how to engage their lawmaker and reminding them of the current funding-bill status could be found.

In Arizona, where the average teacher salary is $47,000, teachers are agitating for more generous pay and more money for schools after watching the state slash funds for public education for years.

"Classroom funding, it's a must", said Andrea Anthony, a language arts teacher from Alcott Middle School.

Across-the-board pay increases for teachers may go some way towards improving student performance, but not far enough.

Last week, Oklahoma's Republican-controlled legislature passed a pay raise for teachers that adds up to $6,000, representing about a 16 percent increase, depending on experience. Among the chants, which lasted for several minutes and would carry on sporadically throughout the day, were, "This is our house", "We will remember in November", and "Where's our funding" - which was answered quickly with, "In your pockets", directed at lawmakers, who were working at the capitol on Tuesday. That legislation will pump $50 million more in increased classroom spending and fund raises for teachers and support staff.

Thousands of teachers in two US states are striking to demand higher pay and increased education funding. Unlike in strongholds for labor, such as NY or California, teachers' unions in West Virginia, Oklahoma, Kentucky and Arizona are barred by law from compelling workers to pay dues. The regional average was $48,450.

Senator Gary Stanislawski, a Republican from Tulsa, says it's possible, but the money might not get to education as quickly as teachers would like. The new law also raises taxes on cigarettes, fuel, and oil and gas production. More than 1,500 were distributed Monday.

Kentucky cut per-student public education funding again in its latest fiscal plan, according to the late-2017 think tank report.

Schools across Kentucky were closed, either because of spring break or to allow teachers and other school employees to attend the rally. Class sizes have also been growing. That should be a dystopian novel but it's Kentucky, a place I love & a place that frustrates me deeply.

Oklahoma teachers vowed to continue protests until their demands for more funding and better pay are met.

A group of Oklahoma students have joined their teachers on the third day of a statewide walkout by teachers seeking more funding for their classrooms. "We feel like there's been an attack on public education, so we were very concerned what would come out of that budget bill".

The AEU is taking numerous same steps as the teachers in West Virginia, who worked for 18 months prior to their decision to strike, Tingle said. "Right now, teachers walking out would not accomplishing anything, but at some point you can't expect change without people taking strong steps".

Teachers said it was not enough.

"I have said this many times, that we have about an $8 million dollar funding shortfall in Edmond when compared to 2008 on a per-pupil basis", Towne said.

"It's just about changing lives, and I think that's why you see all of these people here", Ardmore High School teacher Charlie Crawford said. "Some of them were born in 2004, making the books literally as old as them", she said. The US should pay its teachers more — and give the best ones incentives to show how much they are worth.

The couple says they don't have kids of their own, so they've adopted the needs of these children. Lawmakers received an email saying "Under a long line of U.S. Supreme Court rulings, states are prohibited from placing 'undue burdens on interstate commerce.'" The email goes on to say "HB 1019 raises the threat of legal action against the state of Oklahoma".

Teacher Emily Ozment took this picture of the biology textbooks some teachers are using at Eisenhower High School. "I hope that that's the message that gets across to all citizens of the commonwealth".

And while lawmakers welcomed educators, some cautioned that little momentum remains to raise new taxes after House and Senate lawmakers narrowly garnered the three-fourths majority needed to pass last week's package.

"We must be responsible not to neglect other areas of need in the state, such as corrections and health and human services, as we continue to consider additional education funding measures", the Republican said.

"There's a whole plethora of different things that we have to get under control as a state", he said. We have a say in what happens because it has to do with us; it's our future.



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