Oklahoma teachers latest to strike over pay demands
by Leigh Jones
Posted 4/03/18, 11:03 am
Oklahoma teachers continued their strike into a second day Tuesday, forcing three of the state’s largest school districts to close. As parents of students in Oklahoma City, Tulsa, and Edmond scrambled to find somewhere for their children to go during the day, churches and other groups offered free day care, and some schools offered free meals. Teacher frustration boiled over last week after Gov. Mary Fallin signed a bill giving them a 15 to 18 percent raise. The striking educators are demanding more. Oklahoma teachers make $45,276 per year, on average, placing them 49th in the nation. The state ranks 47th in public school revenue per student. Oklahoma educators took their inspiration from teachers in West Virginia, who staged a nine-day walkout last month to secure a 5 percent raise. On Monday, hundreds of Kentucky teachers rallied at their state Capitol to protest cuts to education funding and educator pension plans. So many teachers attended the rally that several districts canceled classes for the day. Teachers in Arizona also are considering a strike to force their state legislature to give them a 20 percent pay raise.
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Leigh is the news editor for WORLD Radio. She is a World Journalism Institute graduate who spent six years as a newspaper reporter in Texas before joining WORLD. Leigh also co-wrote Infinite Monster: Courage, Hope, and Resurrection in the Face of One of America's Largest Hurricanes. She resides with her husband and daughter in Houston, Texas.