Tens of thousands of teachers, educators and supporters descended on the Capitol building in Oklahoma this morning as part of a long-planned school work stoppage.
The protests happened despite the passage of House Bill 1010, a revenue package that increased teacher pay by an average of $6100 and added $50 million dollars of funding for textbooks, supplies and student activities. After signing the bill this past Thursday, Governor Mary Fallin declared it a “historic evening for the state of Oklahoma,” and intimated that a work stoppage might have been averted.
Those hopes were almost immediately dashed.
Teachers organizations around the state, led by the Oklahoma Education Association (OEA), just about unanimously called for the walkout to go on as planned, citing the fact that the legislature had only come up with $50 million of the $200 million the teachers say they need to pay for everything from textbooks to supplies to extra-curricular activities.
“It amounts to about one textbook per child and that will not solve the funding crisis in education,” Alicia Priest, President of the OEA, said.
VICE News followed Kambra Reynolds, a second grade teacher in Norman, as she went with her fellow educators to the Capitol on the first day of their walkout.
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