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With cases of the coronavirus continuing to climb and Oklahoma schools slated to begin next month, Governor Kevin Stitt says he wants kids back in the classroom.

The head of a powerful national teachers union told members Tuesday that its leadership would support "safety strikes" if health precautions are not met amid calls for schools to reopen as coronavirus cases surge.

Randi Weingarten, who leads the American Federation of Teachers, is leaving the final decision to local unions on whether to strike. The AFT — the nation's second-largest teachers union, with 1.7 million members — also unveiled several benchmarks that it said should be met before schools can fully welcome back students and staff.

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In the wake of Black Lives Matter activism across the country, teachers are re-emphasizing their role in leading discussions about racial justice. StateImpact’s Robby Korth spoke with Tulsa Public Schools Manager of Equity Content Denita White and Hawthorne Elementary School third grade teacher Katherine Maloney about how to talk to children about race.

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A survey by the Oklahoma Education Association reveals educators' anxieties about coming back to school in fall 2020.

This Week in Oklahoma Politics, KOSU's Michael Cross talks with Republican Political Consultant Neva Hill and ACLU Oklahoma Executive Director Ryan Kiesel about the decision by lawmakers to end the legislative session two weeks early, Governor Stitt vetoes a bill on rural broadband and lawmakers pass a bill giving a Cost of Living Adjustment for State Retirees.

The trio also discusses a constitutional challenge to the new law requiring notarization of absentee ballots and remembering Oklahoma City Republican Senator Brooks Douglass.

Stillwater Police

Alberto Morejon, a leader of the 2018 state teacher walkout, was arrested Tuesday for making lewd proposals to a minor.

The social studies teacher from Stillwater was arrested for sending sexual messages to a former student. No other details have been released.

Because of a legislative session shortened by COVID-19, only a handful of education policy bills moved through the House and Senate to make it to the governor’s desk.

Time constraints meant only the bills most important to lawmakers could make it to Gov. Kevin Stitt.

So a hodgepodge of priority education legislation is currently being considered by the governor.

If signed by the governor, they would tweak virtual charter school rules, combat the teacher shortage and take other narrow measures.

Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt is considering legislation to give raises to state retirees for the first time in 12 years.

The measure to give Cost of Living Adjustments to firefighters, law enforcement and teachers passed the Senate as one of the last bills before the legislative session ended on Friday.

The bill’s author, Senator Roger Thompson, says the retiree systems are well-funded even though the hit to the programs will be a 1.5 to 1.8 percent increase.

Though it’s unclear what school will look like, recent graduates and others will be able to teach in Oklahoma in fall 2020.

The state school board voted to unanimously allow a one-time, single year certification for people who were on track to get their certification. Typical certification procedures were halted because teaching candidates couldn’t finish student teaching or take some final required tests.

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With Oklahoma's state budget facing billions of dollars in shortfalls over the next two years, education cuts are likely.

Governor Kevin Stitt said Monday that if the state's education system is held harmless, it will exacerbate cuts for other agencies statewide. So, lawmakers will have to yet again look at slashing education budgets.

Cuts have long plagued the state's education system, which still hasn't returned to pre-2008 recession funding.

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