Oklahoma teachers carried their walkout into an eighth day Wednesday, in a push for more education funding. Schools in two of the state’s largest districts closed because so many teachers planned to rally again at the state Capitol. Other districts have remained open despite sporadic teacher absences.
The educational activism continues to spread, with teachers in Arizona announcing Tuesday they are ready to set a date for their own walkout. Gov. Doug Ducey, a Republican, has promised teachers a 1 percent raise and $100 million in extra funding this year, but leaders of Arizona Educators United want more. On Wednesday, teachers wore red shirts and staged a “walk-in” at about 1,000 schools throughout the state to call for a 20 percent raise and more than $1 billion in new education funding.
In Kentucky, Gov. Matt Bevin, a Republican, vowed to veto a $480 million tax increase designed to provide more money for classroom funding. The new taxes on a variety of services would fund a $4,000 per pupil spending boost for schools and restore $254 million in school bus funding Bevin wanted to cut. The governor didn’t seem troubled by the prospect of going toe to toe with angry teachers.
“I did not take this job to make people politically happy,” Bevin said. “Those of you who are parents understand this. Sometimes making the hard decision, putting the sugary cereal back on the shelf, doesn’t make everyone involved in that situation happy. But sometimes it is the right thing to do.”
Lawmakers will consider overriding Bevins’ veto Friday, and the Kentucky Association of School Superintendents has urged educators to rally again at the statehouse to show their support. At least one district announced plans to cancel classes. —L.J.