Teachers striking over pay rise like ‘a teenager wanting a better car’ – Oklahoma governor
“Teachers want more,” Fallin told CBS News in an interview. “But it’s kind of like a teenager wanting a better car.” Oklahoma teacher salaries are among the lowest in the country, ranking at 49th, according to the National Education Association.
Over 30,000 teachers have walked out of schools across Oklahoma this week, protesting what they say are teacher shortages, low salaries, and under-resourced public schools.
On Tuesday, Fallin signed a bill which provides $2.9 billion of education funding including $353.5 million for teacher pay and $33 million for textbooks.
Teachers unions have rejected the bill, saying it does not provide enough funding, and have called for state tax hikes to fill the shortfall. “This legislation falls well short of fixing those problems. These measures leave millions in revenue on the table and still leave Oklahoma students among the worst funded in the nation.” Oklahoma Education Association President Alicia Priest said in a statement on Tuesday, according to News9.
Teachers in Oklahoma are demanding a $10,000 pay raise, and a $5,000 raise for other school workers, as well as more cash for school resources such as desks and textbooks.
Fallin’s remarks ramped up the increasingly acrimonious relations between lawmakers and public educators, with many teachers reacting with fury on social media to her comments.
“This is a blatant example of the disrespect shown towards Oklahoma educators,” Priest said in a video posted live on Facebook.
Teachers: the Governor thinks you’re like teenagers who want a better car. I think that tells you all you need to know about whether you should keep showing up to the Capitol. https://t.co/x5rHrfITWd— Emily Virgin (@EmilyVirginOK) 3 April 2018
"Teachers want more," said Fallin, "but it's kind of like teenagers wanting a better car."— Deanna Roach (@Sraroach) 4 April 2018
We don't want a better car. We just want one with all the wheels on it and an engine that will start.https://t.co/S8QucbW8I3
Governor Fallin just accused Oklahoma’s teachers of acting like teenagers who want a new car on national media. Here’s a scene from inside the #okleg today. They sound like frustrated teachers who want adequately funded schools #teacherstrike#oklaedwalkoutpic.twitter.com/ClJX9mAqiW— Oraynab Jwayyed (@oraynabj) 4 April 2018
"Teachers want more," Governor Mary Fallin said. "But it's kind of like a teenager wanting a better car."— Aaron Parsons (@theparsonian) 4 April 2018
Hey @GovMaryFallin - I'll gladly give back my pay raise if it means my students have smaller class sizes and adequate resources. #oklahomateacherwalkout
The teachers’ strike continued for a third day on Wednesday as teachers assembled once again outside the state capitol. “It’s like the Arab spring, but it’s a teacher spring,” geography teacher Toni Henson told the Guardian.
On Tuesday, teachers wielding placards and signs packed the state capitol in Oklahoma City to demand more funding for public schools.
Dear OK Legislature, was it hard doing your job in overcrowded conditions? Was it frustrating for other people’s choices to impact your ability to do your job? Welcome to OUR lives. See you tomorrow! #oklaed#oklalegpic.twitter.com/XsZDsiH6so— Jackie Rasnic (@MsRasnic) 3 April 2018
Striking public school teachers in Oklahoma have taken over the rotunda in the state capitol, chanting “Our kids are worth more,” and “We are not leaving.” Many have just filled out their daily surveys to say they’ll continue the walkout tomorrow. pic.twitter.com/q2ximAVron— Cora Lewis (@cora) 3 April 2018
One of the reasons it’s not over yet...This is a textbook from my daughter’s class. It’s a history book and the current President in it is George W. Bush. We can do better Oklahoma. #OklahomaTeacherWalkout#oklaed#oklaleg@gophouseok@oksenategop@firstname.lastname@example.org/F5FE3JcFQh— Jamie (@jamiebh73) 30 March 2018
Meanwhile, educators in Republican-controlled Kentucky also staged walkouts this week against reduced budgets and a pensions dispute.
The walkouts in Oklahoma and Kentucky follow on the heels of a nine-day teachers strike in West Virginia. Teachers and state employees won a five-percent pay increase after the state’s largest teachers’ strike in 30 years.
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