Education, Features, Law and Politics, National

Oklahoma Teachers Eye Statewide Strike

March 8, 2018

By Steve Wishnia and Neal Tepel

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla.—West Virginia may not be the only state to see a general teachers’ strike this year. Teachers in Oklahoma, whose average salaries are the lowest in the nation, have begun organizing to plan one.

A Facebook group called “Oklahoma Teacher Walkout—The Time Is Now!” gained more than 38,000 members within a week after it was created Feb. 28. “Our teachers are exhausted,” Oklahoma City elementary-school teacher Heather Reed told the Tulsa World after a meeting Mar. 2. She said they might walk out April 2 because that’s “when it might hurt the most.” Several school boards plan to close in support if they do. “This swell is coming from teachers who for too long have recognized they’re being given nothing but false promises and false hope,” said Kirt Hartzler, superintendent of schools in a Tulsa-area district that has 22 teaching vacancies. “If we walk out, we won’t just walk out angry, we will walk out with a purpose, with very specific goals in mind,” said Shawna Mott-Wright, vice president of the Tulsa Classroom Teachers Association. A four-day statewide teachers’ strike in 1990 won a tax increase to pay for increased salaries and limits on class sizes. Read more

March 8, 2018

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