Abril 20, 2018

Thousands of teachers walk out demanding pay, funding increases

03 Abril 2018, 12:16 | Dolorita Barahona

Teachers in Kentucky staged a'sickout on Friday over a recently passed pension reform measure

Teachers in Kentucky staged a'sickout on Friday over a recently passed pension reform measure

"Stop the war on public education!"

The rally began before 9 a.m. outside the Kentucky Education Association building just blocks from the Capitol complex.

"What I'm seeing in Louisville is teachers are a lot more politically engaged than they were in 2015 or 2016", Mr. Beaver said.

"Our teachers are the lowest paid in the United States, and it's kind of a big deal that they get this pay raise", said Weatherford 12th grader Alex Shook.

Alberto Morejon, an eighth-grade social studies teacher at Stillwater Junior High who started the Facebook page "Oklahoma Teacher Walkout - The Time Is Now!" that has grown to more than 72,000 members, said it was great to see so many educators rallied together to support students.

And there's no end to the walkout in sight.

Schools on Monday were closed across Kentucky's 120 counties, many for spring break, but the rest in protest of the pension bill that now sits on the desk of Republican Gov. Matt Bevin.

After almost 28 years on the job, he has seen state lawmakers repeatedly pledge to give teachers raises and restore education funding, only to be disappointed. They have asked for a $10,000 raise, as well as additional funding for local schools and raises for support staff like bus drivers and custodians.

"This isn't just about teacher salaries", said David DuVall, executive director of the Oklahoma Education Association. The teachers hope that the funding will be put toward replacing outdated textbooks, broken chairs and desks; reinstating foreign language and arts classes; and ending four-day school weeks. But teachers' union officials said the pension overhaul would only generate $300 million in savings over the next three decades.

"A student once saw me waiting tables at a wedding", she says, recalling the humiliation.

Last week, the legislature in Oklahoma City voted to give teachers an average raise of $6,000 per year, or roughly 16 percent, depending on experience. It also added $50 million in education funding, but protest organizers said that wasn't enough.

But many educators say it's not enough.

"If this budget is not in the best interest of public education students and public service, then we will react", Winkler said.

He said he believes the Republican strategy is to wait the teachers out. "Copies are limited in schools to maybe 30 a week".

Schools across Oklahoma shuttered on Monday as teachers demonstrated there, and classrooms were not expected to reopen for at least another day. "It's not. The is about funding for our kids because this is why we are here and the most important thing is, we are the community." superintendent Victor Salcedo said. "We take our careers very seriously".

Earlier this month, teachers in West Virginia were given a 5 percent raiseafter almost two weeks of a school shutdown - which inspired other educators to do the same.

Many teachers, like Cole, remain dissatisfied with the bill signed into law by Gov. Mary Fallin (R). Mooney said her little sister is not getting the same education she got when she was in school.

A small group of teachers and school employees gathered early Monday outside the Capitol Annex, where lawmakers have their offices. Those teachers were joined by many more colleagues from across the state who were on spring break.

They're also in it for the long-haul, advocating for a tax change to help pay for school funding that will be on the ballot in November.

First-year teacher Diane Young said she's already used to spending her own money on classroom supplies.

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