Teachers in Oklahoma have not showed up to class in nine days. Republican Gov. Mary Fallin approved pay raises in the tune of $6,100, but educators say it does not meet their demands. They also weren't too happy that she likened their protest to "a teenager wanting a better car.” The teachers are on the march in defiance of school funding cuts and in support of pay raises of $10,000 over the next three years.
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos thinks it's pretty selfish.
“I think about the kids,” DeVos said at a Dallas middle school last week. “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.”
Teachers would hit back at DeVos with statistics that suggest they are some of the most underpaid educators in the country. With the funding cuts, Oklahoma teacher salaries will rank 49th in the country. They have not received a raise in 10 years.
While some may be sympathetic to these educators, the strike is "testing the patience of parents," according to Reuters.
“I’m at the point where if education doesn’t get adequate funding, I’ll say screw it and home school my kids since we can’t afford to move,” according to Lisa Snell, a frustrated mom.
The closure of 55 Oklahoma school districts has resulted in relocations for after school programs and has forced communities to get creative in feeding children who rely on school lunches. In Oklahoma City, the district served 17,000 sack lunches this week in community centers, parks and churches.