Oklahoma City and Tulsa schools said Thursday they will remain closed on Friday, the end of the second week of a statewide walkout by teachers who marched on the state Capitol. Many smaller districts also plan to remain closed on Friday though others have already resumed classes.
Oklahoma Education Association President Alicia Priest called for the walkout to end Thursday and urged teachers to shift their focus to electing pro-education candidates to the Legislature. Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin signed legislation last month raising teacher salaries by about $6,100 and providing millions in new dollars for public schools, but many educators say classrooms still need more money.
The head of Oklahoma's largest teachers union is calling for an end to a teacher walkout that has shuttered schools for nine days after Republican leaders said they will not provide any more new revenue for public schools.
Oklahoma Education Association President Alicia Priest said Thursday it is time for teachers to shift their focus to electing pro-education candidates to the Legislature.
Priest made the comments to reporters Thursday after teachers and their supporters marched on the Capitol for a second consecutive week.
The Republican-controlled Legislature passed a series of tax hikes to fund a $6,100 average teacher pay raise and more funding for schools, but teachers walked out anyway.
Oklahoma teachers frustrated after years of swelling class sizes and funding cuts to public schools have streamed into the state Capitol not just to protest, but also to run for political office.
More than a dozen teachers filed paperwork this week to run for state House and Senate seats, many of them first-time candidates inspired by the teacher walkout that has shuttered schools across the state for a second consecutive week.
Crooked Oak High School English teacher Amanda Jeffers says she was inspired to run by the education movement, even though she acknowledges an uphill battle against a well-funded Republican incumbent.
The teacher-led rebellion over low wages and funding cuts has spread from West Virginia to Arizona, Kentucky and Oklahoma.