Oklahoma Teacher Union Calls for Shifting Attention From Protests to Elections

Alonzo Simpson
April 14, 2018

"Nevertheless, the Legislature has fallen well short of their responsibility to Oklahoma's students", Priest said at a Thursday afternoon news conference.

The OEA chose to end the walkout with $479 million in funding for the next school year - less than what they'd hoped to achieve, Priest said in a news conference.

"Fair and equitable school funding based on student need is fundamental for public schools to ensure every child gets the high-quality education they deserve", AEU president Correna Haythorpe said.

The state legislature only approved a fraction of that funding demand and teachers made no further progress since last Friday.

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

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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.

Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, which represents educators in Oklahoma City, said the movement could shake up national politics.

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"While the fight for funding will continue to be a part of our work, the window for required state assessments is now compressed, and we must provide relief to our partners who have so graciously stepped in to fill the gap for our students and families, Lewis said in a statement".

StateImpact Oklahoma's Emily Wendler reports on the Oklahoma Education Association's announcement.

That raises public school spending to $2.9 billion next school year, up from $2.4 billion this year.

As of 2013-14, Oklahoma City Public Schools had a student population of nearly 41,000, but spent just shy of $5,000 per student on instructional expenditures. Now marriages hope to disperse the communication that conservative guidelines lead that teachers and mothers and fathers are protesting. Before the strike, state lawmakers passed a pay raise of $6,100 on average for teachers and $1,250 for school professionals, funded by the first major tax hike in the state in almost 30 years.

Following the announcement that the walkout would end, Oklahoma Representative Emily Virgin had a message for teachers.

Although the walkout is over, some Oklahoma teachers have been inspired and have taken it upon themselves to run for state House and Senate seats. Others will send delegates to talk with lawmakers about increasing funding.

Ms. DeArman said she planned to vote this year and would be carefully considering candidates' education platforms.

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