Oklahoma teachers fight for funding and the future

Oklahoma lawmakers approved an additional $40 million for public schools Friday, but the head of the state's largest teacher's union said it was going to take more than that to end a walkout that has led to five straight days of school closures. But, she also signed two other bills created to make up that funding including allowing ball and dice gaming at Indian casinos and a bill requiring third party online retailers to collect and remit sales tax back to the state.

Oklahoma Education Association President Alicia Priest told teachers rallying at the Capitol that lawmakers must eliminate a capital gains tax exemption and the governor must veto a repeal of a proposed lodging tax to end the protests.

"As far as this year, we've accomplished a whole lot, and I just don't know how much more we can get done this session", said Pfeiffer. "Everything is in their corner".

Dozens of Oklahoma school districts are closed for the fifth straight day today, in a fight over education funding. Before that, Oklahoma teachers had not received a raise in a decade.

The nonpartisan Center on Budget and Policy Priorities said Oklahoma's inflation-adjusted per student funding fell by 28.2 percent between 2008 and 2018, the biggest reduction of any state.

Broeffle Musgrove is one of only a few teachers on the march who participated in the last statewide strike in Oklahoma, back in 1990.

Fallin, a lame-duck governor in her final year, has had scant success in recent years pushing her agenda, despite overwhelming GOP majorities in both chambers.

Shortly before the April 2 walkout, Gov. Mary Fallin signed a bill that provided $50 million in funding for schools, increased teachers' salaries and gave pay raises to support staff.

Demonstrators walk along N. Kelley Avenue in the final leg of a 110 miles trip from Tulsa to the state Capitol as protests continue over school funding, in Oklahoma City, Tuesday, April 10, 2018.

"They were like, 'We have so many cuts".

"She is for school privatization", Val said of DeVos.

"When we have the induction program we have an experienced teacher that's part of this program supported by the AEA who's working with the beginning teachers to make sure they're better equipped and supported not only teaching the content but also interpreting the data and working towards student growth", Parker said.

Val expressed the determination of rank-and-file teachers to continue the strike for their demands of wage and school funding increases.

  • Tracy Klein