Oklahoma public schools close as thousands of teachers strike

Oklahoma public schools close as thousands of teachers strike

Oklahoma public schools close as thousands of teachers strike

"What we really need to focus on is, our students have lost classes like fine arts, and foreign language, advanced placement classes".

Liebl, an English teacher at Deer Creek High School in Edmond, Oklahoma, was one of 12 finalists for teacher of the year.

On Monday, April 2, the story moves on.

Oklahoma ranks near the bottom among states in average pay for its teachers, who are striking despite a $6,100 pay raise signed into law last week by Gov. Mary Fallin. Educators in Arizona have been organizing and may strike themselves. All communities whose achievement challenges were approved before last year's election included challenges related to national standards. But he fully understands that many schools aren't so lucky.

The state teachers' union has been demanding $10,000 raises for teachers; $5,000 raises for support staff; and $200 million in educational funding. "While this is all good news, it does not address the true needs of properly funding our school and what our students and teachers deserve".

The mainstream media has portrayed the growing strike wave among teachers as a "red state rebellion" against Republican-led austerity measures.

"This is not just about a pay raise".

Oklahoma isn't the only state struggling with teacher pay. "Adjusted for inflation, the state's general funding of schools is down 28 percent per student since 2008". In one in five Oklahoma school districts, the school week has been reduced to four days, with longer school days.

Oklahoma is among the bottom three states in teachers' salaries, and until Thursday, had not received a state raise in a decade.

Eight in 10 teachers have considered leaving the profession due to their heavy workload, according to campaigners. Music teacher Noah Karvelis told NPR that he often has 40 students in a classroom with just seven pianos, and "The math just doesn't add up".

All this explains why teachers like Larry Cagle are determined to see a change.

When I first spoke with Cagle after arriving in Oklahoma, he was driving back from a meeting with teachers in a remote area of the Oklahoma panhandle.

That's a major reason that Cagle calls the unions "weak and vulnerable". "They were probably hired by a local oil refinery", he said, to try to intimidate teachers during the meeting.

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Larry was clearly exhausted, but we talked for a half an hour while he drove home.

The walkout had been in the works for roughly a month.

"If this budget is not in the best interest of public education students and public service, then we will react", Winkler said. I'm not going to hide behind the corner office.

Elementary schools will be open from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. for breakfast, middle school and high school sites open from 8 to 9 a.m. for breakfast, and all sites open from 11 a.m.to 1 p.m. for lunch.

For teachers, it wasn't enough.

And that's why teachers are fighting.

Late past year, Cagle and Miller met at a Starbucks in Tulsa to form Oklahoma Teachers United.

Cagle is one of the main voices of OTU, articulate and determined.

On average, team-teachers were more positive on many indicators than others.

"I have that in writing; can you imagine the arrogance of the NESA saying they will ignore the Anti-Discrimination Board".

Support for the OTU and its goals goes beyond educators, too. They are fighting for our kids'. "Every time they cut the Gross Production Tax, it's nearly like they're saying oil is more important than our kids".

The Courier-Journal newspaper said that all 120 public school districts in that state were closed although most were already on their Spring break vacation.

".I think there's kind of an extremist side that's wanting to influence public education in that way".

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