US: Oklahoma’s striking teachers are intoxicated by their own demands - - PressFrom - US
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US Oklahoma’s striking teachers are intoxicated by their own demands

14:09  07 april  2018
14:09  07 april  2018 Source:   thehill.com

Oklahoma Senate approves measures to avert teachers’ strike

  Oklahoma Senate approves measures to avert teachers’ strike The Oklahoma Senate on Wednesday passed legislation to increase various taxes to help fund raises for teachers and avert a statewide strike. NBC News in Tulsa reported that the Senate approved a package to raise taxes on cigarettes, fuel, lodging and oil and gas production. The body appro ved the bill by a 36-10 vote.The Oklahoma House already passed the plan, which is expected to produce roughly $450 million to fund teacher raises. The bill next heads to the governor for consideration.Public school teachers had been planning a statewide strike in response to stagnating wages.

Oklahoma ’ s teachers have just completed the first week of a statewide “walkout,” with no resolution in sight. (It’s a “walkout,” not a “ strike ,” as On Friday, March 23, the Oklahoma Education Association (OEA), the state’s largest teachers union, issued an ambitious list of demands : a ,000 pay raise

Oklahoma ’ s teachers have just completed the first week of a statewide “walkout,” with no resolution in sight. Their stance has garnered widespread support and glowing media coverage. And while the sympathy is easy to understand, it should be noted that, after the 16 percent boost, average teacher

a group of people standing next to a sign © Provided by The Hill

Oklahoma's teachers have just completed the first week of a statewide "walkout," with no resolution in sight. (It's a "walkout," not a "strike," as public-employee strikes are illegal in Oklahoma.)

Ironically, the state's teachers had won much of what they wanted before the walkout even began. On Friday, March 23, the Oklahoma Education Association (OEA), the state's largest teachers union, issued an ambitious list of demands: a $10,000 pay raise for teachers; $5,000 raise for school-support personnel; $200 million over three years in additional local-school funding; a 5 percent cost-of-living increase for retirees; and $500 million over three years to "fully staff state agencies" and raise state employee pay by $7,500 a year. In OEA's estimation, this total package would cost more than $1.4 billion over three years.

Teachers are striking all over. What is going on?

  Teachers are striking all over. What is going on? After successful strikes in West Virginia, teachers in Kentucky, Oklahoma and Arizona threaten walk-outs, demanding pay raises and better benefitsAt least four states this year have mobilized, often with similar gripes. Educators in West Virginia and Oklahoma are lobbying for more pay while Kentucky's teachers are fighting proposed changes to their pensions plans. West Virginia teachers forced lawmakers to give them 5% raises.

Oklahoma teachers (above, protesting in the Capitol last week) plan to return to the classroom, though they acknowledge that their walkout fell short of its goals. Teachers had initially demanded the repeal of a capital-gains tax exemption, which applies to wealthy individuals.

Oklahoma is one of a string of red states now dealing with a teacher revolt after years of austerity. While the educators have closed schools and flooded their state capitol buildings, they have found a powerful ally in their own Critics of teacher strikes and walkouts tend to paint them as failing kids.

In response, on Thursday, March 29 the Oklahoma legislature enacted a new teacher-pay scale that boosted average teacher pay by $6,100 - or 16 percent. This represented a remarkable win for teachers: In 2016, Oklahoma's average teacher salary of $45,276 ranked 49th nationally, according to the National Education Association (NEA). The raise was funded via new taxes on gas, tobacco, and oil production, along with a new limit on income-tax deductions.

Yet, teachers were not placated - and on Monday, April 2, they started the walkout. The next day, Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin signed a $2.9 billion appropriations bill for education funding in fiscal year 2019 - a 19.7 percent boost in spending over the current fiscal year, which ends June 30. The legislation includes $353.5 million for teacher pay (funding the $6,100 average raise); $52 million for support personnel pay; $50 million for textbooks and general state aid; and $24.7 million for health-care benefits. Fallin signed additional legislation providing a $1,250 annual pay bump for school-support personnel and tiered raises for state employees ranging from $750 to $2,000.

Here’s Why Oklahoma Teachers Are Striking, Even After Getting a $6,100 Pay Raise

  Here’s Why Oklahoma Teachers Are Striking, Even After Getting a $6,100 Pay Raise Last week, the Oklahoma Legislature signed off on a $6,100 raise for the state’s public school teachers. Last week, the Oklahoma Legislature signed off on a $6,100 raise for the state’s public school teachers. On Monday, they went on strike.

One demand of the striking Oklahoma teachers has gotten a lot of attention: They want higher salaries. Superficially that demand may seem like a somewhat selfish concern—a question of their own bank accounts, not students’ needs. But the teachers ’ complaints go far beyond compensation

Oklahoma is one of a string of red states now dealing with a teacher revolt after years of austerity. While the educators have closed schools and flooded their state capitol buildings, they have found a powerful ally in their own Critics of teacher strikes and walkouts tend to paint them as failing kids.

Still, the walkout continues, with teachers seeking additional concessions. Their stance has garnered widespread support and glowing media coverage. And while the sympathy is easy to understand, it should be noted that, after the 16 percent boost, average teacher pay in Oklahoma will next year exceed the state's median household income of $50,943.

Indeed, the new average teacher salary of $51,376 will vault Oklahoma into the very middle (29th) of NEA's teacher-salary rankings, with Texas the only bordering state with higher average salary - by about one percent. Add the fact that Oklahoma boasts the third lowest cost of living in the U.S, and it's fair to say that Oklahoma's teachers will now be reasonably well-compensated relative to their peers across the country.

Oklahoma teachers on strike: "We're doing this for our kids"

  Oklahoma teachers on strike: For the second day, thousands of Oklahoma teachers marched at the state capitol. Inside the rotunda, educators, and hundreds of their students demanded an increase in school funding.On Tuesday, Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin signed a bill giving teacher-support staff, like teachers' aides and janitors, a $1,250 raise. Last week, she signed a measure that gave teachers a $6,000 pay raise, but only added an additional $50 million to school funding. Teachers were asking for $200 million more.

The 2018 Oklahoma teachers ' strike began on April 2, 2018, with teachers across the state walking out to protest low pay, overcrowded classrooms

The strike —which ended when teachers returned to their classrooms on March 7—inspired similar, statewide strikes in Oklahoma and Arizona. The strikes continued in the fall of 2018 when there was a collective bargaining shortcoming between the United Teachers Los Angeles union and the

It's also worth noting that base salary doesn't take into account health-care, retirement, and other benefits, which amount to about 24 percent of Oklahoma teachers' total compensation, according to federal data. As former Obama administration appointee Chad Aldeman has documented, teachers have the highest retirement costs of almost any public-sector profession - and that public sector employees generally enjoy health and retirement benefits that dwarf those of their private sector counterparts.

Of course, Oklahoma does spend less per-pupil than other states: The NEA reports per-pupil spending in Oklahoma was $9,036 for the 2016-17 school year, down from $9,056 in 2008-9 (all in inflation-adjusted dollars). This is less than other states spend, though it still amounts to more than $225,000 a year for a class of 25 children. While more dollars can only help, that amount would seem to go farther than it has, if spent wisely and well.

Oklahoma teachers' demands like a 'teenager wanting a better car,' governor says

  Oklahoma teachers' demands like a 'teenager wanting a better car,' governor says Oklahoma’s Republican Governor Mary Fallin likened teacher’s demands for boosting school funding to a “teenager wanting a better car” on Tuesday, in response to educators seeking $250 million in additional school aid."Teachers want more," Fallin told CBS News in an interview. "But it's kind of like a teenager wanting a better car.

All Latest teachers strike News. Oklahoma ’ s striking teachers are intoxicated by their own demands . BY Frederick M. Hess and …

More than this, strike leaders from Oklahoma , Arizona and Kentucky have used social media to directly communicate in real time with teachers in West Virginia to learn lessons to prepare for their strikes . “A lot of teachers were inspired by what happened in West Virginia,” says Kelsey Hayes Cotts.

After all, between 1992 and 2014, inflation-adjusted per-student spending in Oklahoma increased by 26 percent, even as average teacher salaries rose only 4 percent. If teacher pay had merely kept up with per-pupil spending, average teacher salaries would be more than $56,000 today - even beforethe bump contained in the new legislation. Meanwhile, as public-school student enrollment in Oklahoma increased by 17 percent from 1992 to 2015, teacher-workforce growth lagged behind - but non-teaching staff increased by 23 percent.

The same district leaders who have added outsized numbers of non-teaching staff and failed to rein in benefit costs are now finding it convenient to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with their teachers in pursuit of additional funds. Rather than seeking to force teachers back to work, superintendents have closed their schools and cheered them on - protecting teachers from the need to officially break the law or even sacrifice personal days. At least 50 school districts have been closed across the state, including those in Tulsa and Oklahoma City, the state's two largest districts. The consequences of this for children and working parents are severe, even if they've drawn little attention amidst a narrative focused on the heartwarming story of middle-class earners winning an overdue raise.

Oklahoma teacher walkout enters seventh day

  Oklahoma teacher walkout enters seventh day Classes remain canceled in Oklahoma's biggest school districts on Tuesday.Leaders of Oklahoma's largest teacher's union have demanded a repeal of a capital gains tax exemption and for the governor to veto a repeal of a proposed lodging tax as they push for more education funding in massive demonstrations at the state Capitol.

Oklahoma teachers proudly marked themselves absent from school since Monday, and they had an excellent excuse: They made themselves present in politics instead, with a When the rules can’t contain them, teachers have no choice but to write their own , including grassroots work stoppages.

The teachers strike in Oklahoma is 26 years in the making. For two and a half decades, our state’ s Next, the Oklahoma legislature cut various taxes in hopes of luring companies to the state with the Their philosophy was that the jobs these businesses would bring into the state would result in more

"There are broader implications going forward for any more days canceled," said Oklahoma City Public Schools spokeswoman Beth Harrison, "because it starts to impact instructional time, which starts to impact families." After five days, the walkout has consumed most of the six extra days built into the calendar to account for emergencies like weather-related closings, with many school systems now looking at adding additional minutes to the school day or pushing back the last day of the year to make up for lost time.

Meanwhile, as veteran teacher-union reporter Mike Antonnuci has observed, as was the case in West Virginia, "no one is losing pay for going on strike." Following the wholesale triumph of West Virginia's teachers in their recent strike, which was likewise accompanied by widespread support and adoring press, superintendents see which way the wind is blowing. Doubtless, school leaders in Kentucky, Arizona, and other states at-risk for teacher strikes are also taking notice.

There's an important conversation to be had about teacher pay, benefit costs, and how to attract and honor terrific teachers - and pay fairly professionals who put in a solid day's work. And, like many, we think the gains that Oklahoma's teachers have now won are reasonable and appropriate.

But it appears that, even more than in the case of West Virginia - where teachers returned to work with a comparatively Spartan 5 percent pay bump - Oklahoma's walkout is quickly becoming detached from efforts to ensure that dollars are spent responsibly. When teachers who have already claimed a massive win are shuttering schools over demands for retiree cost-of-living-adjustments and the need to "staff-up" other state agencies, it seems farfetched to say that student concerns are still front and center.

Rather, teachers and taxpayers alike will be well-served if the push for more school spending is approached with an eye toward managerial discipline and what Oklahoma's families can reasonably bear, so that this intoxicating, feel-good moment doesn't end with a nasty hangover.

Frederick M. Hess is director of education policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute. Grant Addison is education program manager at AEI.

Arizona governor offers teacher 20% pay raise, but educators have questions .
<p>Faced with growing pressure from educators, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey announced Thursday his plan to give teachers 20% pay raises by the beginning of the 2020 school year.</p>Load Error

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