The bill signings come amid a teacher walkout in the state, with teachers, supporters – including public employees – calling for better funding of education and core state services. Schools have been unable to purchase textbooks or make repairs – many students have to share tattered textbooks that are missing pages.
Teachers in Oklahoma and Arizona are among the lowest paid in the nation. The next day, hundreds of protesters filled the Capitol to capacity, chanting in the rotunda while, outside the building, teachers booed lawmakers when the House adjourned. But the National Education Association says Oklahoma ranks 47th among states and the District of Columbia in public school revenue per student while its average teacher salary of $45,276 ranked 49th before the latest raises. They said they want lawmakers to fear teenagers more than oil and gas companies.
Her statement on the teachers’ walkout Monday emphasized that the state has other obligations, besides education.
“It’s incredible”, said state Rep. Emily Virgin, D-Norman, of the turnout. “But, I’ve seen very short summaries of a very large bill”. “And it’s been easy for legislators who don’t want to do anything to wait that out”.
“Our books are eight years old, if not more”, she said. “This is about funding our schools for our students”. “But I think our legislators are going to have to come up with money for everyone and maybe rethink in how they balance their budget because ever body in the state is hurting”. Our kids follow their example, and this is the example they set? “I think the public is with us, but it could erode the longer it goes”.
Colclazier could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
Additionally, the KCEP analysis pointed out that the budget proposal means that state dollars for K-12 education SEEK (Support Education Excellence in Kentucky) is inching back up to only $4,000 per student, a 16 percent cut from 2008 levels.
Her story is similar to those of thousands of teachers taking part in job actions in the past month in Kentucky, West Virginia, and Oklahoma over long-stagnant pay and school budgets. But something shifted for her a couple of weeks ago, when there was an emergency lockdown-the kind called in response to an active shooter-at her school. “It’s about doing the right thing. People are not happy, and we are going to see more of this!”
“It worries me”, says Scott Harrison, a geometry teacher at Southeast high school, sitting behind me. “The whole plan is a big tax shift from the wealthy and corporations to the middle class and poor”, Jason Bailey, the executive director of KCEP, said characterizing the bill, emphasizing that it will disproportionately affect poor Kentuckians. “We’ll be back where we are in three years”. “Education is the best resource”.
“In some of these school districts, the Democratic superintendents of the schools are actually quite supportive, because of how bad the funding cuts are” Elk told Amy Goodman on Democracy Now this morning.
“I want to be a voice for the teachers at the state Capitol”, Hicks said, saying the raise for teachers and more money for education was a good first step.
“We have employees”, a security guard said. “We have 528 agencies, boards and commissions, so they’re competing for the money”. REUTERS/Lenzy Krehbiel-BurtonA state representative’s door is covered in notes from teachers that were at the state Capitol on the second day of a teacher walkout to demand higher pay and more funding for education in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, U.S., April 3, 2018.
“If you can walk 100 miles then what can our legislators do here in Oklahoma”, said the National Education Association secretary-treasurer, Princess R Moss, as she began the march in front of Daniel Webster high school.
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.
Many schools are closing for a second day in Oklahoma as teachers continue to rally for higher pay and education funding. Meanwhile, the state is contending with a dire teacher shortage, and has to grant a growing number of emergency certifications, filling classrooms with teachers who don’t meet the normal training requirements.
“We are seeing people leave”, Jennifer Breuklander, a teacher said. She and her husband would like to have a baby soon, but they’ll probably have to move to another state to afford it.