An analysis of public school teachers by the National Education Association found that Oklahoma teachers make an average salary of $45,245, ranking only slightly above MS and South Dakota.
"We will be here Monday and Tuesday to get this done", Priest said.
On the fourth day of a teachers' strike which has kept hundreds of thousands of students out of school this week, educators from across Oklahoma warned lawmakers that they have no plans to end the walkout until the State House and Senate approve a funding increase for schools-to make up for a decade in which the state cut spending by 14 percent per child and teachers saw no pay raises.
"There's always that concern, but our parents are just as frustrated as we are", said Amy Radtke, a high-school science teacher from Norman, a college town about 20 miles (32 kilometers) south of the Capitol in Oklahoma City, where schools will remain closed for the rest of the week.
The lawmakers may act oblivious to everything that has been happening lately, but teachers and students are undoubtedly creating waves across the country - by one marching for their lives and other marching for means of lives.
If you support teachers' efforts to raise the quality of education in our schools, here's another opportunity to make your voice heard. "We look forward to letting the Senate hear our voices on this measure and HB 1013xx, known as 'Ball and Dice.' Together, these two measures will almost double the increase in funding for Oklahoma students". Demonstrators protested perceived low pay and education funding, according to The Arizona Republic.
It's still not clear if the passage of those measures, or another to require certain online vendors to pay sales tax, will be enough to placate teachers and get them to return to the classroom.
The head of Oklahoma's largest teachers' union says if lawmakers want to end a teacher walkout, they must pass a repeal of the capital gains tax that is expected to generate about $120 million. But he said Thursday there have been no reports of violence or vandalism.
But unlike many legislators who budget year-to-year with a cynical eye toward voting cycles, Benge takes the long view on educational investment. Monday is the earliest the bill could be considered.
These students are the products of our teachers and our classrooms. "When my colleagues and I have visited our Republican representatives and senators, we have been brushed off, if not outright lied to.I can not, I will not stand idly by any longer".
But many lawmakers say that money won't flow to schools until next year because the governor has already approved the education budget.
- The Latest on teachers rallying for higher pay and education funding in several Republican-led states across the U.S.
Gov. Mary Fallin signed legislation last week granting teachers 15 to 18 percent salary increases.
Besides cramming the Capitol's rotunda, protesting teachers swarmed the grounds outside, holding signs such as "Stronger Together" and "Help Us!" "This is exactly what we've been fighting for".
Meanwhile, some teachers are even schooling political elites: A major progressive surge in last September's special election launched Oklahoma educator Jacob Rosecrants from the classroom to the State House in a key swing seat. "Whenever she says teachers are like teenage children who just want a new auto?" At least three cases have been opened in the last two days.
The conservative state's teachers have followed in the footsteps of similar teacher revolts in West Virginia, Kentucky and Arizona -all Republican-dominated states. Supporters of the bill said the changes are necessary to save the state's pension systems.
Oklahoma lawmakers will convene rare Friday sessions as protesting school teachers continue to fill the state Capitol and demand more funding for public education.
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