Teachers rally Monday for education funding

The Oklahoma protest shut down public schools across the state, and teachers vowed to remain on the picket line until their demands are met. Now, teachers in Arizona thronged their GOP-run Capitol this week, demanding a 20 percent teacher pay hike.

"Teachers are so drastically underpaid they are forced to donate plasma, work multiple jobs and go to food pantries to provide for their families".

Oklahoma is better than this'. "They were probably hired by a local oil refinery", he said, to try to intimidate teachers during the meeting. On including students of all needs, strengths and abilities, 69 per cent of those who always team-teach said this was "very like our school", compared with 56 per cent of those who don't team-teach.

After lawmakers this year again cut the education budget, a fed-up superintendent began polling his colleagues to see whether they would be interested in backing a strike. Other schools were already closed due to a scheduled holiday.

The bill's passage has thrown the teacher walkout in jeopardy in some school districts that have pulled their support of it, leaving teachers nervous to abandon the classroom.

The disastrous situation facing public schools and educators is the result of a national and global ruling-class policy of slashing social spending to pay for surging military budgets and bolster the profits of the banks and corporations.

Adjusted for inflation, the amount the state spends per student has fallen almost 30 percent over the past decade, according to the left-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

While the state legislature passed a series of bills raising revenue and giving teachers a $6,100 raise late last week, thousands of teachers across the state intend to walkout tomorrow.

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The red-state education revolt has closed dozens of school districts across Oklahoma as teachers demanded that state lawmakers close the loopholes in a teacher pay-raise package passed last week.

The Republican-dominated Kentucky legislature says the pension reform bill was crafted to help the state cover a $41 billion shortfall in pension costs over the next 30 years.

The Oklahoma Policy Institute reported the state is losing an average of 200 teachers a month because they are unable to make ends meet amid the budget shortfall and poor salaries.

The OEA is seeking to limit the strike as much as possible.

But some teachers are saying the legislation signed by Gov. Mary Fallin last week was not enough. In contrast, student enrollment has increased by more than 8 percent. That's not going to happen this year.

But if legislative leaders wait until after Monday, they would not have time to override any potential vetoes from the governor. But in many other states, grassroots teachers groups, like Larry Cagle's group in Oklahoma, have taken the lead - often using social media to organize.

In Frankfort, Kentucky, teachers and other school employees chanted "Stop the war on public education". Opponents objected that the pension changes were inserted into an unrelated bill without a chance for public input, and worry that the changes will discourage young people from joining the profession. The Kentucky Education Association, however, has publicly distanced itself from the actions of teachers as the work of "individuals", and sought to divert teachers' anger along the dead-end channel of campaigning for Democratic candidates in the November election.

HB 1010XX offers starting teachers a $5,000 raise with larger increases based on years of experience and education. Ducey instead reiterated his proposal for an insulting 1 percent pay increase, less than half of the annual 2.2 percent rate of inflation.

  • Sonia Alvarado