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West Virginia GOP Rejects Former Coal Executive

Former Coal Executive Don Blankenship, who called himself “Trumpier than Trump,” finished third in West Virginia’s Republican Senate Primary. President Trump opposed him. Attorney General Patrick Morrisey will face Democratic Senator Joe Manchin. (May 9)

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Trump Talks China, EU Trade in West Virginia

US President Donald Trump told a crowd in West Virginia that the US and China will have a “fantastic relationship” in the long term. Trump also complained about trade with the European Union. (April 5)

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Educators Say Oklahoma Teacher Salary Increase Bill Is Too Little Too Late (HBO)

This past Monday night, the Oklahoma House of Representative passed House Bill 1010 and raised taxes for the first time in 28 years.

Much of the revenue will go to fund Oklahoma’s schools and raise teacher salaries by an average of $6,000 a year. On Wednesday night, with the threat of a mass teacher walkout looming over their heads, Oklahoma’s senate ratified the bill and put it on the desk of Governor Mary Fallin who, in a joyous press conference, said there would be a “signing party” on Thursday.

The bill was supposed to avert the teacher walkout that has been in the works since this past September when teachers in Bartlesville, Oklahoma began seriously thinking about drastic action to increase funding to an education system that has seen drastic cuts in per-pupil funding and a ten year freeze on teacher salaries.
That movement kicked into full gear after the West Virginia teacher strike in late February and early March — tens of thousands of teachers in Oklahoma began planning for a work stoppage.

After Fallin declared victory in the Capitol, leaders from Oklahoma’s teachers unions began releasing statements saying the bill, which met teacher demands about halfway, had not gone far enough.
VICE News was with a group of educators in Bartlesville as they heard the news from the Capitol.

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Oklahoma Teachers Are Planning Their Own Walkout To Protest Low Salaries And Education Funding (HBO)

Teachers in Oklahoma intently watched as their counterparts in West Virginia went on strike earlier this month, and for good reason: Public schools in Oklahoma have seen the biggest cuts in the country in per-pupil funding, and their teachers rank near the bottom in average pay.

So, as the West Virginia strike continued, teachers and labor organizers in Oklahoma began coordinating their own demands to the state legislature, asking for a $10,000 raise for teachers, a $5000 raise for support staff and an additional $200 million in school funding to cover basics like textbooks and classroom supplies. If their demands are not met, the teachers plan on walking out of their classrooms on April 2.

The situation in Oklahoma was created, in large part, by tax incentives offered up by Governor Mary Fallin that benefitted the state’s oil and energy industries as well as tax cuts that disproportionally helped the top income bracket. Meanwhile, teacher salaries in Oklahoma have not budged in ten years, even as insurance and cost of living expenses have gone up. Things got so bad last year, that, in an effort to cut costs, roughly 20 percent of school districts in the state enacted a furlough cutting the school week down to just four days.

VICE News traveled to Oklahoma City to meet with Bonnie Green, an early childhood teacher and a 30-year veteran of Oklahoma schools, who now has to take on a second — and third — job, just to make ends meet.

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West Virginia Teachers Return to Classroom

It’s back to school in West Virginia. Teachers across the Appalachian mountain state are reopening classrooms Wednesday, jubilant after their governor signed a 5 percent pay raise that ended their nine-day walkout. (March 7)

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The West Virginia Teachers’ Strike Is Over. The Fight Isn’t. (HBO)

Gov. Jim Justice, state lawmakers and teachers reached a deal today to get West Virginia teachers back into the classroom. Teachers and other state personnel, including state troopers, will receive a 5% raise each year in this deal

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Teachers React To News Of Bill Passage

West Virginia teachers react to the state legislature approving a 5 percent pay raise for them and other state employees to end teachers strike. (March 6)

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AP Top Stories March 6 P

Here’s the latest for Tuesday, March 6th: Donald Trump expresses optimism about North Korea; West Virginia ends a nine-day teacher strike; A former Russian spy collapses after being exposed to an “unknown substance;” McDonald’s will begin using fresh beef.

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West Virginia Teachers Applaud Pay Raise

West Virginia lawmakers unanimously approved 5 percent pay raises for teachers and state troopers on Tuesday after the governor reached a deal to end a teacher walkout that lasted nine days. (March 6)

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