Oklahoma teachers cram Capitol a 2nd day
- Author: Ryan Wade Apr 06, 2018,
Apr 06, 2018, 10:08
The protests reflect rising discontent after years of sluggish or declining public school spending in Oklahoma, which ranked 47th among the 50 us states in per-student expenditure, and 48th in average teacher salaries in 2016, according to the National Education Association. Page says that's because corrections officers can't walk off the job like teachers can.
A teacher rebellion in red states from West Virginia to Arizona has put Republicans on the defensive, forcing them to walk a fine line in the months before midterm elections between placating constituents who are angry over education cuts and conservative supporters who want a smaller government and low taxes. Oklahoma demonstrators were frustrated Tuesday - at one point erupting in jeers - by the Republican-controlled legislature, which adjourned without taking up teachers' demands for more funding and better pay. On Tuesday, Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin signed a bill giving teacher-support staff, like teachers' aides and janitors, a $1,250 raise.
Oklahoma City's Public School District announced on Thursday that schools will remain closed on Friday as statewide walkouts continue.
On a state level, the inflation-adjusted general funding per student in Oklahoma dropped by 28.2 percent between 2008 and 2018, the biggest reduction of any state, according to the nonpartisan Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. "And that's why we're here today".
Alicia Priest, president of the state's largest teacher's union, on Wednesday vowed that Oklahoma Education Association members would keep returning in droves to the Capitol until lawmakers meet their demands. As a 9-year-old, it was a powerful lesson in civics for young Williams.
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"The debate team pretty much coaches themselves now", said Olbert. "And the fact we've had 28 percent cuts over the last ten years is why we're in this disgusting hole". Now is the opportunity.
Dozens of protesters inside the packed Capitol responded Wednesday by jangling their keys in the Capitol rotunda and chanting "Where's our auto?" Large holes in the center of each floor allow anyone standing on the fourth floor to peer down to the first. Wednesday, the building was so packed that state troopers shut entrances. Like numerous northern Dallas-area suburbs, new parks, schools and businesses are springing up in a region seen as a place of relatively low crime, good employment prospects and affordable housing.
"This is an fantastic civics lesson for our students on the importance of their voices", Aurora Lora tells Teen Vogue while standing in the bustling rotunda.
"That is hour by hour, day by day", said state Superintendent Joy Hofmeister of the endgame plan for the walkout.
Other lawmakers say they would approve new revenue measures, but they say schools shouldn't get all of the money because other agencies are suffering from years of budget cuts.
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Sports bags and musical instrument cases are being searched. The school will provide them to the students free of charge. Florida Highway Patrol officers are guarding entrances.
Vargas, who teaches second grade in Tulsa, joined thousands of Oklahoma teachers who jammed the state Capitol in Oklahoma City this week.
"Even with this plan, there's not enough money to fully fund the promise they made you last week", he said, according to The Oklahoman. "Because if you want to change the system, we've got to have people elected in office that are going to make smart decisions for our country". Oklahoma average teacher salaries are ranked 49th out of 50 states and the District of Columbia in average pay.
But there is no clear picture on what the amount would need to be in order for teachers to feel as if they've won enough to head back to work. Spring break was last week in many Oklahoma districts. "We're doing this for our kids".
"I'll believe it when I see it on paper", Page said. I think that's making us realize as kids that we have a voice.
"Sorry I get so emotional", Mott said as she wiped away tears. "And I think that's really cool".
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