Teachers' pay rebellion spreads across Oklahoma with second week of strikes

13 April, 2018, 06:12 | Author: Otis Hoffman
  • Education Secretary Betsy De Vos said striking Oklahoma teachers should “serve the students that are there to be served.”

Griesel teaches seventh and eighth grade science at El Reno Public Schools.

"Every day my strategy is to speak with at least one representative and have a meaningful dialogue", said Custred, a history teacher at Edmond Memorial High School. The other half are non-native Spanish speakers.

They delivered enough Wednesday to feed the 80 elementary school-age children at South Lindsay Baptist Church, a temporary home for a Boys & Girls Club that normally meets at nearby Cesar Chavez Elementary School in a poor neighbourhood on the city's south side. At the same time, their classmates can learn Spanish with help from Latino peers.

Dozens of schools remain closed across Oklahoma.

Many leaders of the march have said funding bilingual education is vital, not just for integrating Latinos but for improving education overall.

Chapman says Ryan teachers had the opportunity to get involved in the walkout but they made a decision to continue teaching.

The Oklahoma teacher walkout has impacted some students in terms of where they get their meals, as well as some school activities, but now students are reacting to how it may delay graduation.

It's vital for schools to be back in session not only in time for students to take the tests, Martinez said, but to practice for the exams. "The bilingual second-grader can pick the main topic out of a paragraph better; the bilingual second-grader can take multiple perspectives better". "It's not fair to make them take it if they aren't ready for it". In April, lawmakers raised salaries for teachers by an average of $6,100, increased pay for support staff by $1,250, and added $50 million in funding for schools.

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Laura Griesel, who was at the Capitol for most of last week, feels that many legislators are not hearing her concerns.

Ashley Barker, a pre-K teacher, said her students embraced her and didn't want to let go.

Without any support, Gaeta said, she has become a de facto pupil liaison for many teachers.

"They would much rather be in school, but even they get it", Dunham said.

Saying that education funding was wrapped up, Fallin signed a bill on Tuesday aimed at expanding revenues from Native American casinos and one that will raise about $20 million from internet sales taxes, her office said in a statement.

The nearly two-week walkout continues after Gov. Mary Fallin (R) signed legislation Tuesday repealing a $5 hotel and motel tax that would have provided additional funding for schools, failing to meet one of the demands for which teachers had pushed. The union leadership has been caught flat footed by the strikes.

While the media has also compared the teachers' strikes to recent student walkouts over gun violence, Gaeta said, it has largely ignored the inspiration some teachers have drawn from Latino students who walked out in protest when Donald Trump repealed protections for undocumented young people.

Gaeta said some of the inspiration for the seven-day, 110-mile march came from the historic 1966 United Farm Workers March from Delano to Sacramento, a 340-mile journey.

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