Education

Teachers in Arizona are staging what they're calling a walk-in today. They're asking lawmakers for a 20 percent pay raise and for school funding to return to pre-recession levels. This comes as teachers in Oklahoma continue their walk-out. After more than a week of protests and dozens of closed schools across the state, Oklahoma lawmakers have already agreed to increase teacher pay and school funding.

Emily Wendler / StateImpact Oklahoma

As Oklahoma's teacher walkout enters its eighth day, the union leading it has a new demand to end it.

Oklahoma Education Association is now saying lawmakers just need to raise another $50 million in revenue for the state budget, and they'll send educators back to school.

Katherine Bishop, OEA Vice President, says it's up to lawmakers to find the money. She doesn't care whether it comes from a wind tax or a repeal of the capital gains exemption, she just wants to see the legislature raise another $50 million to shore up the state budget.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Ryan LaCroix / KOSU

Dozens of schools across the state are closed for the seventh day, as thousands of Oklahoma teachers, students and education supporters are expected to descend on the state capitol today.

Warmer weather brought more demonstrators on Monday than the previous week, although the fight over education funding seems to be at a stalemate.

Teachers in Oklahoma are in the sixth day of their walkout Monday, as they fight to get increased state education funding. Lawmakers there have already passed a few measures to increase funding and give teachers a salary bump, but educators say they haven't gone far enough.

Here & Now's Jeremy Hobson talks with Sharon Reese, a special education teacher at Shawnee High School in Shawnee, Oklahoma.

This segment aired on April 9, 2018.

Jacob McCleland / Oklahoma Public Media Exchange

Updated 2:09 p.m.

It's day six of the Oklahoma teacher walkout and some students miss being in school. Administrators at Wilson Elementary in Oklahoma City arranged a play date so kids could see their friends and their teachers. StateImpact’s Emily Wendler was there.

Updated 10:05 a.m.

Kateleigh Mills / KOSU

As the teacher walkout stretches into a second week and many schools remain closed, some teachers and coaches are trying to keep student extracurricular activities going.

Athletes from around the state gathered at the Carl Albert Invitational in Midwest City last week. Jeremiah Smith, a physical science teacher and track coach at Midwest City High School, says it might have put more pressure on lawmakers if they had canceled the meet, but that wouldn't benefit the students.

Oklahoma Strike To Continue Into Monday

Apr 8, 2018

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

All this week schools across Oklahoma were closed as public school teachers rallied at the state Capitol for better pay and more money for the classroom.

After 10 years of budget cuts and some of the lowest teacher wages in the nation, teachers say they've had enough.

Pay in Oklahoma has been so low, in fact, that districts often suffer from severe teacher shortages — many talented educators have left Oklahoma for better pay elsewhere. Some estimates put the number of teachers who have left near 2,000.

Jacob McCleland / Oklahoma Public Media Exchange

SCOTT DETROW, HOST:

Many schools in Oklahoma were closed all week while their teachers rallied at the state capitol for more funding. Yesterday, the state Senate passed two measures that would increase money for schools by about $40 million. But the union leading the walkout said it's not enough, and they'll be back at the Capitol protesting on Monday. Emily Wendler in Oklahoma City has more.

EMILY WENDLER, BYLINE: Teachers in Oklahoma got a pay raise last week, but now they want more money for the classroom. And they've been rallying hard for that money all week.

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