Monday, 16 July 2018
Latest news
Main » Kentucky, Oklahoma Teachers Rally Against War on Public Education

Kentucky, Oklahoma Teachers Rally Against War on Public Education

03 April 2018

Tens of thousands of Oklahoma and Kentucky teachers ditched classrooms Monday to rally at their state capitals, demanding more education funding for students.

Photo Oklahoma educators are holding out for more than the $6,000 per year raise that was signed by the Legislature last week.

First-year teacher Diane Young said she's already used to spending her own money on classroom supplies.

However, teachers have demanded a $10,000 pay increase over three years and a $5,000 raise for support personnel like bus drivers and custodians.

"If I didn't have a second job, I'd be on food stamps", said Rae Lovelace, a single mom and a third-grade teacher at Leedey Public Schools in northwest Oklahoma.

Monday's walkout is part of a wave of protests from educators furious over stagnant wages and cuts to education funding.

Despite the legislation passed last week, these teachers said they need white boards that work, libraries with books and desks with chairs.

More news: Man Utd, Pogba finally sheds light on Jose Mourinho relationship

Teachers were incensed by passage of a bill last week that mandates a hybrid pension plan with individual accounts for new hires.

Sharpe said she feels teachers will continue to stand at the Capitol until legislators agree to proper funding for the students.

On Monday, more than 200 schools across Oklahoma were shuttered as hundreds of public school teachers protested the lack of education funds allocated by the Republican-controlled legislature and Gov. Mary Fallin.

West Virginia's nine-day strike brought a 5% raise for teachers. It is not yet clear when or if Arizona teachers will go on strike.

Many Oklahoma schools, including the three largest districts, Oklahoma City, Tulsa and Edmond, closed Monday to honor the walkout. "WE'RE NOT GONNA TAKE IT ANYMORE" and "EDUCATION = OUR FUTURE" as they walked about one mile to their destination.

Teachers statewide flocked to Oklahoma City, saying concessions made by lawmakers last week aren't almost good enough to support the future of education.

"Well, teachers in the state of Kentucky do not have access to Social Security when we retire, even if we had paid into that system prior to becoming teachers, so this is our only means of support for ourselves when we are of old age", explained Kentucky teacher Angie Buschle.

More news: Ibrahimovic speaks on match-winning brace on LA Galaxy debut

The 14-year-veteran teacher wasn't missing school because her district has a previously scheduled professional development day Monday.

Seiling Public Schools Superintendent Randy Seifried said Seiling schools were open Monday as the result of a simple majority vote of the teachers.

In addition to the outcry over the pension bill, teachers are also demanding more funding for schools to help pay for textbooks, technology and school programs. Hours later, both the state House and state Senate approved the measures on party-line votes.

Language arts teacher Lesley Buckner was reluctant to give lawmakers much credit. A large sign displayed outside the Annex said: "We've Had Enough". "If we continue to stay united, they can not turn away from us, they can not turn their backs on us". The demonstrations follow a successful strike last month by teachers in West Virginia.

Republican lawmakers in Kentucky passed a pension overhaul Thursday that preserves benefits for most workers but cuts them for new teachers. The move was done in response to one of the worst-funded teacher retirement systems in the country at 56 percent and in defiance of a powerful teachers union that vowed political retribution. They held signs and prepared to raise their voices as lawmakers returned to the Capitol to possibly vote on new two-year state budget.

Carrena Rouse, president of the Boone County chapter of the American Federation of Teachers in West Virginia and a mother of four boys, said numerous women she works with were fed up with what they saw as repeated assaults on both their profession and their gender. To the lawmakers who voted for the pension overhaul, she said: "You better not count on another year in office".

More news: United Nations blacklists dozens of ships, businesses over North Korea smuggling

Kentucky, Oklahoma Teachers Rally Against War on Public Education