OEA President Stands Behind Teacher Plan To Strike
OKLAHOMA CITY - A teachers strike in Oklahoma is looking more and more imminent. The Oklahoma Education Association says without an increase in education funding, teachers will be walking the picket line.
Back in 1990, teachers fed up with education cuts and low pay left the classroom to march on the state Capitol. It may not be long before we see it again.
“They’re ready to go,” said OEA President Alecia Priest of teachers.
An OEA survey of 10,000 Oklahomans shows they have overwhelming support for shutting down schools, until lawmakers fund education and give teachers a raise. The survey results released show 81 percent of education employees, and 76 percent of community members would support a work stoppage by teachers.
So, with support of local districts, they are moving forward with a plan that would begin with teachers just working only the hours in their contract and then progressively putting more pressure on legislators.
“A work stoppage is a last resort, we want to be there to educate our kids,” said Priest. “But at some point, we’re going to call it and our schools are going to close down with unified support.”
In what is dubbed the “Together We're Stronger” plan, the OEA is asking for a $10,000 raise for certified teachers over three years including $5,000 next year, a $5,000 raise for support personnel and restoration of education funding.
Priest said only action from Oklahoma lawmakers will prevent history from repeating itself.
“They have time, they have time to do the right thing and they have the power to make it not happen.”
On Thursday, the OEA will release their specific plan and timeline leading up to a strike.