March 27, 2019

Oklahoma Teachers Frustrated After Union Ends Walkout

14 April 2018, 01:34 | Cameron Gross

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Oklahoma Education Association President Alicia Priest said Thursday it is time for teachers to shift their focus to electing pro-education candidates to the Legislature.

Jo Ellen Barish, a Parent Teach Association (PTA) president with a child attending a Millcreek middle school said on Wednesday: "It's not going to make some shooter stop and say, "Hey, I probably shouldn't go in and do this". Oklahoma City Public Schools, the largest school district in the state, said they will provide information on Friday regarding their participation in the walkout.

Earlier Friday, the Oklahoma City American Federation of Teachers asked the district to close schools Monday because an online survey to gauge interest in ending walkout participation was compromised. "Despite tens of thousands of people filling the Capitol and spilling out onto the grounds of this Capitol for nine (school) days, we have seen no significant legislative movement since last Friday".

The Oklahoma walkout began on April 2 and affected about 500,000 of the state's 700,000 public school students.

But teachers received some additional pay bumps from a litigation settlement between educators and the state and from Prop. 301, which lawmakers recently extended.

The demonstrations over the last two weeks brought attention to dire conditions in some Oklahoma public schools - left to wither in disrepair and lacking basic supplies.

Haythorpe said the Federal Government cut nearly $1.9 billion that was to go to public schools in 2018 and 2019, which would leave 87 per cent below the agreed School Resourcing Standard by 2023. "They don't want to hurt the animals, so they modify their own behavior more".

Dickson made a decision to shut down for the week now that state testing is finished and have confirmed they will remain closed Friday despite the walkout said to end.

"What do we feel like the finish line is?" Fallin signed the repeal of the $5 hotel/motel tax and Republican leadership in the House reiterated their desire to not hear the capital gains exemptions repeal in their chamber. By passing that, lawmakers hoped to head off the pending teacher walkout.

Alberto Morejon is a junior high history teacher from Stillwater.

Whatever happens, a walkout would be a tremendously bad idea, one that undercuts new-found financial support from the taxpayers of the unified school district and undoes the positive feelings teachers now enjoy.

"It is due to their voices that they were going to be here and what they were going to accomplish that helped move this piece of legislation, I really truly feel like that legislature wanted to get it done quickly so people wouldn't come - that didn't work", Bishop said.

Oppel said some teachers were eager to remain at the Capitol, especially as there is talk the Legislature might consider taxes increase on wind energy production, potentially raising new revenue for schools.

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