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Teachers in Oklahoma and Kentucky stage protests

Teachers in Oklahoma and Kentucky stage protests

The movement began with job actions in West Virginia earlier this year.

Fallin, who was not at the capitol today, said in a press release she appreciates teacher efforts to come discuss issues with legislators and was proud to provide the $6,000 raise, but said other other areas of need must also be considered when considering education funding.

"We're sending a message", she said.

The educators' outcry was in response to legislation state lawmakers passed last week cutting pensions for new teachers.

Andrew Beaver, 32, a middle school math teacher in Louisville, Kentucky, said he was open to changes in teacher retirement programs, such as potentially asking teachers to work to an older age before drawing down benefits; now, some Kentucky teachers are eligible for retirement around age 50. That made Oklahoma's taxes on the industry the lowest of any oil-producing state.

Hundreds of teachers crowded into the State Capitol on Tuesday in the second day of a teacher walkout to demand additional funding for schools.

The school employees plan to march to the Capitol, a couple of blocks away, on a cold, overcast day.

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According to the left-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, adjustments to inflation in the state, have led to the state spending per student at almost 30 percent over the course of the past decade. The spending and taxing proposals cleared the Senate on Monday and went to the House, which was expected to vote on the measures later Monday.

Oklahoma educators are asking for a $10,000 pay raise over three years for teachers, a $7,000 raise for school staff over three years, raises for state employees and $200 million on school funding, a 5 percent increase of cost of living for retired teachers and greater health care funding.

Following the success of the West Virginia teachers strike a month ago that led to a 5 percent pay raise, teachers throughout the nation are rising to demand better conditions and better pay. She was appointed as chair of the Oklahoma State Textbook Committee in 2016 by Gov. Mary Fallin. That has led to severe budget crunches, leaving states without revenue to put into classrooms and teacher salaries. For them, the $50 million increase in general education funding signed last week isn't enough.

Multiple Oklahoma school districts notified parents Monday afternoon that they would be back at the capitol again on Tuesday. It was the first new revenue bill to become law in Oklahoma in 28 years, bucking decades of tax-cut orthodoxy. While the governor signed the bill, teachers remained unsatisfied with overall education funding. The protesters wore red and carried signs that said #RedforEd.

The pension changes would no longer give conventional pensions to future teachers, instead providing them with cash-balance retirement plans that depend on the stock market but are guaranteed to not lose money. "It really is a wildfire". But some educators - who haven't seen a pay increase in 10 years - say that isn't good enough and walked out. "I look forward to continuing to talk with legislative leaders and teachers as we forge a positive pathway forward for education". I definitely think watching what happened in West Virginia inspired many educators to finally pull the trigger.

Teachers-turned-flute players at the rally included (from left), Kelsey Rooney-Dorst, a Tulsa elementary school teacher; Jill Leonard, a Yukon elementary teacher; Jennifer Hilger, a Moore elementary teacher; and Lindsey Grotheer, a Norman elementary teacher. Further, the teacher added, "We need to take this all the way".

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