On the heels of West Virginia’s historic nine-day teacher strike, in which the Republican-controlled legislature finally relented to teachers’ demands for a five percent raise, teachers in Oklahoma are now threatening to do the same.
Last year, Oklahoma’s Republican-controlled legislature refused to enact a pay increase for teachers – offset by a one percent increase in the state sales tax – but was voted down. This year, the legislature again failed the enact any change after the GOP-led chamber introduced a doomed-from-the-start tax on cigarettes and motor vehicle fuel to offset the pay increase. The legislation failed to pass.
One Oklahoma teacher, Beth Wallis, took to Facebook to explain just how the constant Republican-led cuts to education have affected her and her students in a heartwrenching post.
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Incredible Facebook post from an Oklahoma teacher, worth a read pic.twitter.com/D1VQpHT5HK
— Meagan Day (@meaganmday) March 7, 2018
“We are taking action because our legislature has proven to us that it’s never just going to ‘work itself out,’ because they’ve had damn well over a decade to figure this out,” the teacher wrote.
Per the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Oklahoma teachers rank dead last in the United States for teacher salary, earning on average only $42,460 per year.
While Republicans predicate their entire economic policies on a staunch unwillingness to raise taxes, their communities are suffering, the children are suffering, and education is being decimated. Perhaps a much needed strike will finally paint that picture for them.