Mass turnout at state capitol as Oklahoma teachers' strike enters second week

As the teacher walkout stretches into a second week and many schools remain closed, some teachers and coaches are trying to keep student extracurricular activities going.

Mark Joraanstad, executive director of Arizona School Administrators, says administrators are hoping teachers don't walk out of classrooms and that state lawmakers resolve the issue.

Teachers are demanding a pay raise and for lawmakers to secure new funding for education while not shifting money from other programs to do so. Murry Estabrook, a teacher who oversees blood drives at Claremore (Okla.) High School, says the blood bank usually collects about 150 units during a normal drive at the school.

Educators have not said when their walkout will end. With demands for statewide strikes spreading from Kentucky, Arizona and SC to Florida, Iowa and Texas, the unions have warned teachers that strikes are illegal and would lead to "harsh consequences".

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"This needs to go nationwide", Val, a physical education teacher in Oklahoma told the WSWS.

Teachers are seeking more funding for their students and classrooms.

While Kentucky teachers were protesting the pension overhaul last week, the state Legislature passed changes to the tax system called House Bill 366. Organizer Noah Karvelis told The Associated Press that Ducey and GOP legislative leaders have not responded to their requests for negotiations, so they see no choice but to move to walkouts.

"They were like, 'We have so many cuts".

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"My teachers, they try, they help us do things, even though we don't have the supplies we need", said Booker T student Maleah Harvin.

While at some point, AFT said they planned to leave the Capitol, for now, they plan on continuing to fight for funding in an effort to bring schools up to modern, decent standards and to give children a bright future.

"This year's education budget, which spends $2.9 billion (a 22 percent increase), has been signed into law". But they were inspired to make a statement about the need to fund education properly.

Teachers and supporters were also marching from a number of cities to the Capitol, with some walking more than 100 miles and arriving Monday.

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Val expressed the determination of rank-and-file teachers to continue the strike for their demands of wage and school funding increases.

  • Ryan Wade