A weeks-long mobilization in Oklahoma resulted in teachers striking across the state on Monday, with tens of thousands of educators and supporters rallying at the State Capitol in Oklahoma City to demand more funding for schools and higher wages for teachers.
Organizers planned to speak with state lawmakers about how decades of funding cuts have affected their schools—and why a bill passed in the legislature last week that would raise taxes on oil and gas production to give teachers a $6,100 raise and allot $50 million for school funding was not enough to stop the protest.
An NBC News aerial video of the scene at the demonstration showed an estimated crowd of 30,000 people gathered outside the Capitol.
Oklahoma Education Association (OEA) president Alicia Priest told CNN the package was “a good starting point,” but said teachers see it as a last-ditch effort by lawmakers to keep the strike from happening and not a genuine attempt to improve schools.
Click Here: Bape Kid 1st Camo Ape Head rompers
“Fifty million dollars will buy less than one textbook per student, so it’s not a real way to fund education,” Priest said. “We’ve been cut over 28 percent in the last 10 years in education funding, and our schools just can’t maintain all of the supplies, instructional materials, textbooks, even copy paper. Copies are limited in schools to maybe 30 a week.”
The OEA is demanding a $200 million funding bill for schools, and a $10,000 raise for teachers over the next three years.
As teachers across the state prepared to rally, four teachers shared in a CNN video the numerous side jobs they have had to take on to make ends meet while educating Oklahoma’s schoolchildren. One educator with 25 years of experience detailed his work as a bus driver, landscaper, and roof salesman. Another said she works 15 to 20 hours in retail to supplement her teaching salary.
SCROLL TO CONTINUE WITH CONTENT