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Teachers Return To Capitol After OEA Ends Walkout

14 April 2018

Though walkout participants insist they want more than just an increase in teacher pay, the rest of the education funding depends on the decisions and actions of state legislators - and the response of the students, teachers and parents who have crowded into and around the Oklahoma State Capitol for almost two weeks.

"We need to face reality", said Alicia Priest, president of the Oklahoma Education Association.

Under the deal, Oklahoma schools will receive $479 million from the state next year.

While the increased salary should help make Oklahoma schools more competitive in keeping quality educators around longer, the money for the pay raise will either come from state or local funding, depending on the district's primary source of revenue, according to Watson.

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What followed were two additional days of inaction by legislators and, after nine days of school closures, OEA ended their participation in the teacher walkout.

Labor Education spokeswoman Susan Close said in opposition the Liberals were silent on the $210 million cut from SA funding.

Now that the statewide teacher walkout is over, one Oklahoma Representative has a message for Oklahoma teachers. He denied facilitating the fights and said he thought the students were just being "rambunctious". "The Oklahoma Education Association has its own process for ending the walkout; we have ours. And teachers deserve that as well, so we can be the most effective teachers that we can and we can provide for our students in a way that they deserve". Though the school governing board and the public appear sympathetic to teacher pay concerns, neither would be tolerant of a long shutdown of the expensive public school system.

Dickson chose to shut down for the week now that state testing is finished and have confirmed they will remain closed Friday despite the walkout said to end. Before teachers walked out on April 2, Gov. Mary Fallin signed a bill giving teachers a $6,100 raise. In a New York Times article declaring the Oklahoma strike over, AFT President Randi Weingarten expressed hope that teachers' anger could be diverted behind a campaign to elect Democrats in the 2018 elections.

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As it became clearer throughout the week that additional revenue-raising measures were unlikely, many teachers said the walkout felt like it was coming to an end without a definitive victory. Tonight, our union will hold a telephone town hall meeting with our members to discuss the situation and listen to what teachers have to say.

She said that although the walkout has been halted, the mission has not been finished. "I feel like personally we haven't even progressed since we started", said Mid-Del teacher Sonja Fox. Other districts sent delegations but kept classes open.

You may not have been aware that our children's recess time has been dwindling over the last few years, in a quest for our schools to achieve higher test scores.

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Teachers Return To Capitol After OEA Ends Walkout