Teachers in the state of Oklahoma are among the lowest paid in the nation. They rank 48th in pay among the 50 states. In order to help redress that situation, the governor signed legislation to increase teacher pay. However, teachers in the state are not pleased with this raise, and they are not pleased with the fact that lawmakers in the state did not significantly increase the overall education budget.
Teachers and the teacher’s union decided to stage a walkout from the classroom in order to protest the actions of the governor and Oklahoma lawmakers. The walkout began on Monday. An estimated 36,000 people joined with the teachers and rallied at the state capitol building.
The walkout has continued, and today, several teachers from the city of Tulsa are planning to embark on a 100 mile journey from Tulsa to Oklahoma City. They are hoping to draw even more attention to the teacher’s demands for more pay and for more spending on the state’s education budget.
The teachers have a few demands that they wish to have met before returning to the classroom. They are requesting a $5,000 per year additional pay increase. They are also calling for pay increases for other educational workers. In addition to this, they are requesting that the state increase the amount of money that is being spent on education.
Governor Mary Fallon has been critical of the teacher’s demands. She has been quoted as saying that the teachers are like, “a teenager wanting a new car”.
There is no word as to when the teacher’s walkout will end. Schools in most Oklahoma districts are scheduled to be closed for the remainder of the week. The teachers are hoping that the lawmakers will acquiesce as did the lawmakers in West Virginia who raised teacher pay.