Following a successful nine-day teachers strike in West Virginia, thousands of Oklahoma teachers walked out of classes, demanding better pay and more funding for their struggling schools. Oklahoma ranks 49th in the nation for average teacher salary, and budget cuts have forced 20 percent of the state’s public schools to switch to a four-day week. Oklahoma teachers haven’t gotten a raise in 10 years, and the state is struggling to find and keep qualified educators. More than 30,000 took their fight to the Oklahoma Capitol, asking for $3.3 billion over three years.
It’s the latest chapter in a brewing fight over teacher pay — particularly in Republican states that have gutted school spending to offset deep tax cuts for businesses and wealthy earners.