Head of Oklahoma teachers' union calls to end teacher walkout

Head of Oklahoma teachers' union calls to end teacher walkout
© Sky News

The president of the Oklahoma Education Association on Thursday called for an end to the nine-day-long teacher walkout across the state, The Associated Press reported.

Alicia Priest told reporters that teachers in the state should instead focus on campaigning for pro-education candidates for the state legislature. 

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The comments come as schools across the state have been closed since April 2 due to the walkout.

Public school teachers in Oklahoma are among the lowest paid teachers in the country.

The state's education system has seen inflation-adjusted general funding per student drop by about 28 percent over the last 10 years.

Teachers and staff walked out to demand higher wages and more funding for school resources after Republicans said they would not provide additional revenue for schools.

Educators specifically called for a $10,000 pay increase over three years, as well as more resources for facilities and support staff.

Gov. Mary Fallin (R) approved pay raises of $6,100 earlier this month, but teachers said that it’s not enough to ensure long-term education funding.

Numerous teachers across the U.S. have protested this year for higher salaries and more funding for schools. 
 
The West Virginia state legislature approved a 5 percent raise in pay for teachers last month, ending a nine-day strike by teachers in the state that had shuttered schools. 
 
Arizona teachers held  "walk-ins" on Wednesday at roughly 1,000 schools across the state, calling for a 20 percent pay raise and more than $1 billion in additional education funding.
 
While various people working in public education praised the protests, the strikes drew criticism from major political figures. 
 
 
“I think about the kids,” DeVos said. “I think we need to stay focused on what’s right for kids. And I hope that adults would keep adult disagreements and disputes in a separate place, and serve the students that are there to be served.”
 
Fallin compared the strikes in her state to teenagers wanting a car. 
 
"Teachers want more," Fallin said. "But it's kind of like a teenager wanting a better car."