Oklahoma City Public School teachers are not getting the response they had hoped for after they decided to strike in an effort to force lawmakers to allot more funding to public education.
In fact, one Oklahoma state representative said he would vote against any measures that fund education.
Rep. Kevin McDugle (R), who voted in favor of more funding for education last year, took to social media to assert that he would vote against another “stinking funding” measure for education as the teachers’ strike enters its third-day. He then deleted it.
“I’m not voting for another stinking measure when they’re acting the way they’re acting,” McDugle insisted. McDugle went on to explain that he does not think teachers who strike are good role models for students.
The republican congressman spoke directly to the teachers when he said, “You’re losing support of people who supported you all year long.”
“Now you’re going to come here and act like this after you got a raise?” he asked. “Go ahead, be pissed at me if you want to,” the Oklahoma congressman said in the now deleted Facebook Live video. But why did he delete it? He was just being honest.
Nonetheless, the Oklahoma teachers are demanding that lawmakers address their concerns over low wages and funding for schools.
However, this is not the first teacher protest to take place. In fact, earlier this year teachers in Kentucky forced their school to shut down so that they could protest. Except they called in sick.
As the teachers’ strike continues, Oklahoma City Public Schools announced that schools would be closed Wednesday.
However, just last month Oklahoma passed a law to raise their wages by $6,100 in an attempt to stop the strike before it started. But that wasn’t enough and teachers chose to participate in a walk-out anyway.
The strikers are insisting that lawmakers give them a $10,000 raise over three years and $5,000 for support staff. But it looks like they may not get the reaction from lawmakers they are looking for.
Republican Gov. Mary Fallin’s approval of the 16% wage increase for teachers was the first pay increase for educators in over ten years.
However, even after the pay bump, nearly 20,000 teachers, students, and other protesters gathered at the Oklahoma capital leaving 10 of the state’s largest schools closed and students without teachers.
One third-grade teacher told reporters that if he “didn’t have a second job,” he would be on, “food stamps.”
At the end of the day, the teachers want the state’s legislature to reinvest nearly $1 billion more annually in public education which to many seems like a lot of money.
In response, the school district issued a statement saying, “We are hopeful that our legislators will continue working this afternoon toward a solution, but we wanted to make this decision as early as possible to give our families adequate time to plan.”
Oklahoma City Schools tweeted on Tuesday, “Classes are canceled again tomorrow, Wednesday, April 4, 2018. We are hopeful that our legislators will continue working this afternoon toward a solution, but we wanted to make this decision as early as possible to give our families adequate time to plan. #oklaed”
Thousands gathered at the state’s capital on Tuesday, and before noon, the building was full and law enforcement officials denied entry to the thousands more who were there to protest.
Those who made their way inside chanted, “This is our house!” in an effort to force lawmakers to hear their pleas.
One high school teacher in Edmond said the protests have really touched her, explaining that her students have “gone without textbooks” in the past.
“I’m a science teacher, and I go without proper equipment for labs. I’m happy people are finally seeing the reality,” she added.
Others argued that teachers have actually left the state so that they could make more money.
While the teachers are still getting paid for protesting and not teaching, that will end at the close of the fourth day of protests. If the strike goes beyond on that, they teachers will start losing wages. In fact, many believe that it will be enough to deter these teachers from protesting longer.
However, the determined teachers claim to feel that if it takes all year, that is what they will do. But we will see what happens after they stop being paid to stand outside and chant.
Should lawmakers cave and give the teachers what they want? Or is Congressman McDugle correct when he said that they are not good role models for students?
The protest comes on the heels of President Trump’s plan to arm teachers as a way to deter future school shootings.