Tens of thousands of teachers, parents, and students standing shoulder to shoulder at the capital in Oklahoma City. They were demanding higher teacher pay, now among the lowest in the country. It’s a latest in a wave of protests sweeping across the country, led by teachers, who said the future of the public education is at stake.
Oklahoma and Kentucky City joining the red stage teacher rebellion. Thousands of teachers along with students trading classrooms for the capital. In Oklahoma City, 70% of public school closed. Those teachers along with educators in West Virginia, Arizona and Kentucky are riding a wave of anger over deep education cuts made by Republican-led legislatures.
Oklahoma teachers are demanding about $150 million to fix classrooms and but new supplies. Oklahoma teacher salaries are among the worst in the country. Lawmakers last week approved $50 million for schools and a $6,000 raise for teachers. But teacher says it’s not enough.
One of the teachers from Oklahoma City, Corrie Cooks said, “It’s a band-aid, now we need actual care because you can only stop the bleeding for so long.”
The next state threatening to strike is Arizona. Teachers want a 20% pay hike. Now the movement spread from West Virginia to Kentucky and Oklahoma where many schools are already closed and in anticipation of more walkouts.
An elementary school teacher in Norman, Adrien Gates said, “They need to fund our schools better, and until that happens, we’re going to walk out.” Further, the teacher added, “We need to take this all the way. Otherwise, we’re settling.”
According to the recent statistics from the National Education Association, Oklahoma City ranks 47th in the nation in public school revenue per student, nearly $3,000 below the national average while its average teacher salary of $45,276 ranks 49th.