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US Oklahoma teachers walkout extends into second week

09:56  10 april  2018
09:56  10 april  2018 Source:   cnn.com

In Oklahoma schools, bosses are helping teachers go on strike

  In Oklahoma schools, bosses are helping teachers go on strike Earlier this month, Melissa Abdo visited a class of future schoolteachers - education majors at Oklahoma State University. "How many of you are considering teaching in Oklahoma?" she asked them. "How many of you are considering teaching in Oklahoma?" she asked them.

Oklahoma teachers will continue their walkout for a sixth day Monday, maintaining their pressure on state legislators for increased education funding. The teachers were granted a pay raise last month but say the state 's school facilities, equipment and textbooks are rundown, outdated or in short supply

Oklahoma lawmakers were returning to the state Capitol on Monday as teachers in the state ’s largest school districts entered a second week of The testing period began April 2, but tens of thousands of students have been out of class since then because of the teacher walkout that began the same day.

Teachers and students gather at the state Capitol as protests over school funding continue for the third day in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, April 4, 2018. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki) © Sue Ogrocki/AP Teachers and students gather at the state Capitol as protests over school funding continue for the third day in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, April 4, 2018. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

Oklahoma teachers will continue their walkout for a sixth day Monday, maintaining their pressure on state legislators for increased education funding.

The teachers were granted a pay rise last month but say the state's school facilities, equipment and textbooks are rundown, outdated or in short supply and more spending is needed.

At least 58 of the state's 500-plus school districts -- including those in Oklahoma City and Tulsa -- will be closed Monday because of the walkout, CNN affiliate KOCO reported.

Teacher Has Class on Oklahoma Capitol Lawn Amid Protest

  Teacher Has Class on Oklahoma Capitol Lawn Amid Protest "This is a symbolic way for the students to participate in their actual education."The red-state education revolt has closed dozens of school districts across Oklahoma as teachers demanded that state lawmakers close the loopholes in a teacher pay-raise package passed last week. The Oklahoma Education Association teachers union, which helped organize the walkout, said the bill was a “down payment” that still needs to rework a $50 million education funding hole.

Emboldened by support from across the country, Oklahoma teachers descended on the state Capitol for a second week in their unrelenting quest for more school funding.

This teacher walkout was a much bigger deal than I originally anticipated. There was an outrage toward the Governor of Oklahoma and the lawmakers that I

Before the walkout can end, the state legislature must pass a bill ending the state's capital gains tax deduction and the governor must veto the repeal of a hotel-motel tax bill, Oklahoma Teachers Association group President Alicia Priest told reporters Friday.

Meantime more than 100 women attorneys are marching to the state Capitol Monday calling for a resolution to the conflict.

March organizer Becki Murphy -- an adoption attorney from Tulsa who shared the idea in a Facebook group for female lawyers called Girl Attorney -- said the teachers' action was affecting mothers' ability to work.

Murphy said that the women of Girl Attorney are not taking a political stance but rather wanted to help both sides come up with a solution that considers everyone's best interest.

Oklahoma teachers are sharing photos of their rotting textbooks

  Oklahoma teachers are sharing photos of their rotting textbooks As an English teacher at Heavener High School in eastern Oklahoma, Sarah Jane Scarberry said she has tried for years to replace her classroom's tattered textbooks."I have requested new textbooks for a few years with no real hopes of getting any," she told CNN.

The Oklahoma teacher walkout has ended after nine days, but teachers said the "This fight is not over just because the school bell rings once more and our members walk back into schools." Priest said Oklahoma teachers had secured a victory even though the most significant gains were achieved

Ben Felder provides a look ahead at what the week may bring as the Oklahoma Teacher Walkout enters its second week .

The coalition is setting up group appointments with lawmakers to hear their concerns and talking to educators about what they feel is needed for Oklahoma's public school system to flourish.

Three measures at stake

Oklahoma teachers packed the state Capitol Friday as lawmakers discussed three measures that affect education funding.

Teachers pressured lawmakers on three bills that saw action.

1. The Senate approved a bill amendment Friday that would require third-party retailers selling though internet outlets such as Amazon to collect sales tax from customers or inform them how much they owe in sales taxes. The House approved it earlier in the week. The bill could bring in about $20 million annually in education funding. Teachers say $200 million over three years is needed.

2. The Senate approved a "ball and dice" tax for gambling Friday. Senate leaders are saying it will not add any income to this year's education funding but Priest, speaking at the news conference, said it would help in the long run.

Oklahoma Senate takes up tax hike to halt teachers' strike

  Oklahoma Senate takes up tax hike to halt teachers' strike The Oklahoma Senate is set to debate a tax hike package on Friday to raise education funds in the hope of halting a strike by its public school teachers, who are some of the lowest-paid educators in the country. The strike that started on Monday has affected more than half a million students. It comes after a successful West Virginia strike last month ended with a pay raise and as teachers in other states angry over stagnating wages are considering walk-outs.

Thousands of Oklahoma teachers surrounded the state Capitol on Tuesday amid a statewide walkout that shuttered schools for a second day, with signs emerging that the Oklahoma Teachers Continue Walkout . Resolution doesn’t appear imminent as thousands protest at Capitol over pay, other funding.

The Oklahoma teacher walkout is into its second week , and we're working to make sure our resources list is up-to-date. If you have a resource Here are some notes from Oklahoma City Public Schools regarding the teacher walkout : OKCPS is committed to doing everything possible to help

3. The Senate followed the House's lead and repealed a hotel and motel tax as part of Bill 1010XX. This action removes around $43 million from the education funding bill. Senators claim that they can make up that shortage through other revenue in the bill.

The Oklahoma Education Association says the motel tax, which it says would be paid by mostly nonresidents of the state, would add millions in revenue and opposes its repeal.

Salaries and funding

The educators and state government are at odds over salaries and funding. Gov. Mary Fallin recently signed a bill that raises the average teacher salary by $6,100, but the teachers' union wanted that figure to be $10,000.

The state has ranked 49th in the nation in teacher salaries, according to the National Education Association, in a list that includes Washington, D.C. Only Mississippi and South Dakota rank lower than Oklahoma.

Fallin also signed a bill that raises education funding -- money for textbooks and the state-aid formula -- next fiscal year by $50 million; the teachers' union wanted that number to be higher.

'Momentum is on our side,' Oklahoma teachers union leader declares

  'Momentum is on our side,' Oklahoma teachers union leader declares Oklahoma teachers carried their walkout over school funding and higher pay into a ninth day on Tuesday.Oklahoma teachers carried their walkout over school funding and higher pay into a ninth day on Tuesday as a union leader declared that educators had the advantage of momentum in a battle with the Republican-dominated state legislature.

The disparity saw teachers swarm the state Capitol with signs and slogans last Monday.

Kentucky protest

The Oklahoma protesters join teachers from Kentucky, Arizona and other states who have been fighting for better pay, education funding and working conditions. In West Virginia, teachers got a pay raise last month after going on an unprecedented nine-day strike.

In Kentucky, teachers also protested in their state Capitol last week, upset by the passing of a controversial pension bill.

The bill would affect new teachers and move them to a hybrid cash-balance plan rather than traditional pensions, and would limit new sick days that teachers can put toward their retirement. Senate Bill 151 is now at Gov. Matt Bevin's desk. Supporters of the bill said the changes are necessary to save the state's pension systems.

CNNMoney: How states are changing teacher pension plans

While teachers were protesting the pension overhaul last week, the state Legislature passed changes to the tax system called House Bill 366.

An analysis of that bill by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy found that the measure would bring a huge tax cut for the richest 1% of residents, while the biggest tax increase would affect those making less than $21,000 a year. A fellow with the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy described it as "a tax cut for Kentucky's richest people paired with a tax increase for the middle class and the poor."

Bevin has until legislators return to session April 13 to sign the bill.

Back in classrooms

The Kentucky Educators Association has urged its members to return to their classrooms until then.

"Our students need us to show up for them in classrooms and schools. We urge educators statewide not to allow our united efforts to be compromised by continued calls for action that deprive students, parents and communities of the educational services we provide," it said in a statement posted to Facebook Saturday.

It urged people to wear red Monday to demonstrate their support for public schools.

CNN's Madison Park contributed to this report.

What to expect from Friday's massive National School Walkout .
If you think students are done protesting gun violence, get ready for the National School Walkout. On Friday morning, students from more than 2,500 schools across the country will stream out of class to demand lawmakers take action. While the theme is familiar, this event is different. Here's what you need to know about Friday's student-led movement:Why is this happening Friday? April 20 is the anniversary of the 1999 Columbine High School massacre in Colorado, where 12 students and a teacher were killed. That mass shooting took place 19 years ago, before today's high schoolers were even born.

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