Oklahoma Teachers Union Ends Strike

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April 12, 2018

The Oklahoma teacher strike is over.

Teachers had been out of the classroom for nine days, gathering in large numbers at the Oklahoma City statehouse. One group of teachers had marched 100 miles from Tulsa in order to join the capital city protest.

The legislature had initially approved a salary increase of $6,100 for teachers, but teachers had been seeking a raise of $10,000 and another $600 million for education funding across the board. The teachers called attention to the meager resources with they had to work, including crumbling textbooks, broken chairs, and faulty school heating systems.

In the end, the legislature refused to allocate any more money, and so the head of the statewide teachers union called off the strike. That action came on a Thursday. Many schools across the state had already announced that they would close that day and the following day. Now, schools will open their doors as normal on Monday.

Oklahoma ranks 49th out of 50 states and the District of Columbia in teacher pay. As well, the Republican-dominated state legislature had cut spending, on education and on other things, in the past several years in order to help pay for tax cuts.

Teachers union leaders urged their members to get back to work in the classroom and also focus their efforts on the November elections. In a related development, the Oklahoma State Election Board announced a record number of people filing as candidates for statewide office.

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David White