Oklahoma’s schools and educators have endured some of the steepest cuts in education in the last decade, reductions that are evident in dwindling supplies, aging textbooks and the pay stubs of teachers. Before last week, state lawmakers have not raised the minimum salary for teachers in a decade, making them among the worst paid in the nation.Monday’s walkout is part of a wave of protests from educators furious over stagnant wages and cuts to education funding. Teachers in West Virginia won a 5 percent raise after a nine-day strike, emboldening educators across the country. Several schools in Kentucky were forced to close Friday as teachers left classrooms to head to the statehouse to protest school pension reform. Arizona teachers, who have been protesting at the state Capitol, threatened to strike, demanding a 20 percent raise and restoration of funding cuts.The cuts in Oklahoma also had dire consequences for schools. Districts have not been able to maintain buildings, so students shiver through the winter in classrooms with faulty heating, share long-outdated textbooks and become accustomed to a rotating cast of teachers. Many school districts have moved to four-day school weeks because they cannot afford to keep the lights on for five days.
April 2, 2018 at 1:39 PM EDT