Oklahoma Teachers Union Plans Statewide Walkout
Updated: March 7 at 9:49 p.m.
There’s been a lot of chatter on social media about when a statewide teacher walkout might take place.
On Wednesday, the president of the Oklahoma Education Association—Alicia Priest— revealed the union’s official plan. She said in a Facebook video that lawmakers have until April 1st to pass a budget.
"If that budget doesn’t include a meaningful pay raise for teachers and support professionals, and additional funding to restore cuts to Oklahoma classrooms, OEA calls for statewide school closures beginning April 2nd."
Oklahoma teacher pay is ranked 50th in the nation, but Republicans and Democrats are at a stalemate over how to raise taxes to increase their pay.
The Oklahoma Education Association, the state’s largest teachers’ union, says on Thursday, they will announce the details of a statewide teacher walkout.
The union's president Alicia Priest says years of failed attempts by the legislature to increase education funding and teacher pay have forced the organization to consider the walkout.
"Lawmakers have ignored repeated advocacy efforts by OEA members — including thousands of emails and phone calls to lawmakers, days of action at the Capitol, and community forums across the state. This has led to this crucial grassroots movement of educators to take drastic efforts to save public education and ensure students receive a quality education that prepares them for the future."
The OEA says they will push for a $10,000 teacher pay raise over the next three years, a $5,000 pay raise for school support professionals, a cost of living adjustment for retirees, and the restoration of funding for education and core government services.
A recent online survey of more than 10,000 teachers, students, parents and OEA members found that 80 percent of respondents supported school closures.