Sunday, 19 August, 2018

Oklahoma teacher walkout ends

Stacy Diaz | 14 April, 2018, 01:15

After almost two weeks of strikes, Oklahoma Education Association President Alicia Priest called for an end to the walkout.

The strike of public school teachers, which affected about 500,000 of the state's 700,000 students, came in response to years of austerity and education budget cuts.

The union's president Alicia Priest acknowledged that teachers fell short of their total goal, but declared victory and promised to hold legislators accountable at the ballot box during the midterm elections this year.

Priest said that Republican senators refused to "move an inch" when it comes to finding more funding for education.

Ed Allen, president of the Oklahoma City American Federation of Teachers, said his members would vote Thursday night on how to proceed. "I know most of the time, they d not have an opponent" says Terri Graves, a teacher from Quapaw Middle School.

Dickson chose 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. But most schools across the state had reopened.

They also shined a spotlight on low teacher pay that forced some educators to take on extra jobs such as daycare and lawn mowing.

Fallin drew the ire of teachers and education supporters several times throughout the walkout, mostly for belittling teacher demands for additional education funding by comparing them to 'a teenage kid that wants a better vehicle'.

Fallin, who compared the striking teachers to "a teenage kid that wants a better vehicle", said she was glad teachers were returning to school.

He has denied directly facilitating the fights and said he thought the students were just being "rambunctious". I just thought they needed an out.

Some schools remained closed on Friday, including Oklahoma City.

"We deserve it. We work really hard for our students to have a better education", she said.

Jordan said he didn't see any tax increase measures coming before lawmakers, at least not in the coming days.

Governor Mary Fallin issued a statement Thursday saying she's glad teachers will return to their classrooms.

District leaders and school boards have largely supported teachers during the walkout by pre-emptively closing schools.

Priest also said the union does not speak for all teachers in the state, and some may continue the walkout on their own.

About a year ago, Andy Kieswetter started a Facebook page called Teachers for Real Change to help teachers speak out about daily frustrations they experience in the profession and together try to seek solutions to those problems.