Oklahoma's Largest Teachers Union Says The Walkout Is Over

Oklahoma school district feeds students during teacher strike

Oklahoma school district feeds students during teacher strike

OEA doesn't have a strong presence in Oklahoma City Public Schools, said Jamie Hernando, a special education pre-K teacher, earlier in the day.

Oklahoma's largest teachers union called for an end to the nine-day teacher walkout Thursday as its efforts to negotiate more education funding out of the Oklahoma Legislature reached an impasse.

Priest made the comments to reporters Thursday after teachers and their supporters marched on the Capitol for a second consecutive week.

The statement also praises the efforts of demonstrators in their role in securing $479 million in education funding for the next school year, but said this still falls "well short" of its responsibilities.

"Why can't we get the funding to give these kids what they need - to be future educators, future congressman, maybe even a future president, they aren't going to get there without the teachers", Smith said.

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"We will fight up and down every ballot to elect people who believe in public education and who will invest in our public schools and kids", said Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers.

The state legislature only approved a fraction of that funding demand and teachers made no further progress since last Friday.

School districts across the state are now crunching the numbers on the school calendar.

"We do not want to be here, but I feel like we've walked backwards in nine days".

In Arizona, Gov. Doug Ducey, under pressure from teachers who have threatened a walkout, announced on Thursday a plan to provide teachers with a raise by 2020, which he said could be accomplished without raising taxes. Now, she added, unions hope to spread the message that conservative policies lead to the school budget cuts that teachers and parents have been protesting.

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Zearley said OPEA will continue to advocate during the legislative session as it asks for this year's state employee pay raise to be increased to $2,500 for each employee, another pay raise next year and an additional $50 million to begin restoring previous state agency cuts.

State Rep. Emily Virgin, who represents Norman in the Oklahoma State House, tweeted her support for teachers and urged them to remain engaged during the 2018 elections. Howard said she cancelled her OEA membership because of the union's actions and that she hadn't seen a survey in weeks. "Complacency simply can not be allowed any longer".

"Those lawmakers are refusing to cross the finish line", Priest said.

The number of teachers vowing to run for office was one sign of the walkout's success, said Kelly Craig, a fifth grade teacher in Oklahoma City. She called the decision to end the walkout "bittersweet". I think they need to pay attention to the fact that we are their constituents. She had never been involved in politics before, she said, but the condition of her three children's schools - aging textbooks, broken furniture - drove her to act.

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