When West Virginia teachers went on strike, shuttering schools for almost two weeks and catching the attention of lawmakers who responded by ushering through a bill to give a 5 percent pay raise to all state employees, including those picketing teachers and school staff, Oklahoma teachers grew jealous but also inspired.
Everybody knows Oklahoma teachers are some of the lowest paid in the nation. Everybody knows the schools are hurting from reductions in the state funding. Everybody knows it’s about time something happened to give common education some sort of boost.
The state’s largest teachers union — Oklahoma Education Association — polled educators and community members to learn how they feel about a “work stoppage by teachers.” Overwhelmingly, educators and community members support it, according to reporting from News9.com.
“A work stoppage is a last resort. We want to be there to educate our kids,” OEA President Alicia Priest told the TV station. “But at some point, we’re going to call it and our schools are going to close down with unified support.”
A day before West Virginia Governor Jim Justice signed the employee raise bill, Oklahoma City Public Schools Board of Education passed a resolution supporting a teacher walkout, according to Oklahoma City Free Press. The resolution reads that the board is in “full support of our teachers and stands ready to take any steps necessary to improve conditions for our teachers — including a districtwide suspension of classes.”
Oklahoma teachers are “to the point where we have no other option” but to strike, Oklahoma City teacher Heather Reed told Newsweek.
“If we do it the first week of April, that would be during standardized state testing, which would be a great time to say, ‘Hey, we’re going on strike, and we’re not going to give these tests,” Chloe Prochaska, a Mustang teacher, told KTUL.
Sounds like teachers better load up on poster boards and lawmakers better brace for teachers at the Capitol demanding pay increases while their office phones ring off the hook from angry constituents wanting to know if their children are going to get educated.