Published: Fri, April 13, 2018
Health Care | By Alice Shelton

Oklahoma teachers make ends meet in the midst of state walkouts

Oklahoma teachers make ends meet in the midst of state walkouts

Desert Ridge High School teachers rally on April 4, 2018.

This includes whether the school should hold extracurricular activities if school is not in session.

Oklahoma, Leachman writes, started cutting personal income tax rates in 2004 and reduced taxes on oil and gas production, driving the state's annual deficit to $1 billion by 2016. These "walk-ins" are not yet "walk outs", though organizers have indicated that would be a looming possibility.

Desert Ridge Orchestra Director Ajay Patel helped organize his school's walk-in April 4. As she is new to the classroom, I wanted to hear about the ways in which this experience has shaped her.

The Tulsa Area United Way has coordinated local efforts among organizations. Average salaries in 2017 were actually $8,000-9,000 less than 1990 salaries, when adjusted for inflation.

Since 2008, state funding for public schools has decreased by almost 9 percent, while student enrollment has increased by over 8 percent.

This is Roach's first year as a teacher. Library books on how to be a social activist sit on his coffee table in the small apartment he shares in downtown Phoenix. "It's not fair to make them take it if they aren't ready for it".

Other states, including West Virginia and Kentucky, have seen teacher strikes or protests this year as the education community revolts against years of cuts and lower spending. He said it's been a new challenge to balance work and activism.

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"I think it's a stance we've got to take and as parents, we've got to back them up and if that means the kids have to go to summer school or whatever it takes to get that diploma and graduate, I think we've got to make that sacrifice and back them up", Jonathan Clark, parent said. "It's a weird balance".

The state's Department of Education has extended the dates because of the walkout. Since the Great Recession, Arizona has cut more school funding than any other state through 2015 and in 2018 funding was almost 14 percent below what it was in 2008. "Keep it going, '" Unger said. "We are not going to get more than what's already there. It was very disappointing that that was part of the revenue that was going to be part of our funding", said Hannah Morgan, an Edmond teacher. (The House approved the measure earlier in the week.) That bill could bring in about $20 million annually in education funding, but teachers say schools need a total of $200 million over three years.

A day after the Capitol rally, Ducey justified those pay hikes. The group of about 40,000 members says Gov. Doug Ducey and fellow Republican lawmakers who control the Legislature have not responded to requests for negotiations. "It's a problem, where do you get that money?"

Teachers said that wasn't enough.

Organizers of the Arizona teacher movement, like Karvelis, don't think the governor's actions match his words.

Now they're saying enough is enough.

Word of a possible resolution Wednesday remained just that.

Clinton Public Schools told Newsweek that they were aware of the case but declined to comment further.

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