Like its predecessor and partial inspiration, the nine-day teachers' strike in West Virginia, a nine-day teachers' walkout in Oklahoma is ending with some tangible results: a pay increase of roughly $6,000 (with a smaller pay hike for support staff), and some new revenues meant to make higher school funding possible in the immediate future.
Arizona Education United and the Arizona Education Association should urge state teachers to lobby, organize ballot petitions and educate communities with facts instead of considering a walkout that will damage support for public education for years to come. "And it bothers me that so many teachers work so hard to get where they are. that this wasn't a teacher but he was in that role".
"Despite tens of thousands of people filling the Capitol and spilling out over the grounds for nine days, we have seen no significant legislative movement since last Friday", Priest said in a statement Thursday. Many teachers defied the KEA mandate, angrily stating on social media that they would stay out until their demands for pensions and education funding were won. "I know most of the time, they d not have an opponent" says Terri Graves, a teacher from Quapaw Middle School. All public schools in Oklahoma City and Tulsa, the state's two largest cities, were shuttered for almost two weeks of classes. He denied facilitating the fights and said he thought the students were just being "rambunctious".
In announcing an end to the walkout, the Oklahoma Education Association said it was now focused on the November elections.
Republican lawmakers approved a two-year budget earlier this month that included record increases in public education spending that were to be paid for with an accompanying $480 million tax increase.
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"The big win happened before the walkout started", said Brent Bushey, executive director of the Oklahoma Public School Resource Center, which provides administrative services for small school districts. "The presence and persistence of Oklahoma educators and supporters have brought the largest pay raise in state history to teachers, a line-item raise for support professionals for only the second time in history, and $70 million in recurring revenue for classrooms".
Only four of Great Plain's 20 programs are exclusively for high school students. By passing that, lawmakers hoped to head off the pending teacher walkout.
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.
Ms. DeArman said she planned to vote this year and would be carefully considering candidates' education platforms.
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.