Okla., Kentucky schools close as teachers demand better pay

Okla., Kentucky schools close as teachers demand better pay

Thousands of teachers took to the streets of Kentucky and Oklahoma on Monday, rallying in the latest show of force by angry USA educators demanding better pay and more funding for public schools.

Most public school districts were already closed Monday for spring break, but the threat of another round of sick-outs caused more than a dozen school districts that were supposed to be open to close instead. He said after talking with legislators, he doesn't feel like this is it for the next 10 years.

However, teachers have demanded a $10,000 pay increase over three years and a $5,000 raise for support personnel like bus drivers and custodians.

Even with the pay boost, some Oklahoma teachers said they have to take on second and third jobs, such as working at restaurants or mowing laws, in order to make enough money to pay their household bills.

Dever said that while the pension bill was passed "in a deceitful and disrespectful way", that she was in Frankfort to also rally for school funding.

Fallin on Monday praised the Oklahoma's GOP-led Legislature's achievement in approving part of what teacher's want.

Teachers said this lesson has been a hard one to teach.

"I've been telling my students they've got to stand up for what's right, and I knew that this wasn't right so I had to come down here and be a voice for them and a voice for my future students", Blanton said. The strike followed legislative changes in teacher pensions. "I've thought about moving to another state where we might be respected more", McQueary said.

Thousands of Kentucky and Oklahoma teachers rally for education funding and pay raises.

Inspired by teachers in West Virginia, who striked for nine days last month before winning a 5% raise, school employees across the country are organizing their own actions, standing up to budget cuts and insufficient resources with another wave of walkouts and protests. Teachers in Arizona are now considering a strike over their demands for a 20 percent salary increase.

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In Kentucky, nearly all the state's 173 school districts were closed, majority to allow teachers to protest, a spokesman for the Kentucky Education Association said.

"We are through correcting their mistakes". "When she was in high school in Oklahoma City Public Schools, they didn't have enough books for them and that was back in 2004".

Robin Miller, a retired teacher from Bullitt County, said she is anxious that the changes would make teaching less attractive as a life-long career.

She said it is important to represent her school district, and others, and to show support for current, retired and future generations of teachers.

In addition to the outcry over the pension bill, teachers are also demanding more funding for schools to help pay for textbooks, technology and school programs. 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.

Language arts teacher Lesley Buckner was reluctant to give lawmakers much credit.

"We are all products of public schools, and we are proud of public education", she said. They stay up late grading anyway. The Louisville Courier Journal newspaper reported that schools were closed in all 120 of Kentucky's counties, 21 as a direct result of a protest rally that drew thousands of teachers to the capital. The move was done in response to chronic underfunding of the state's teacher retirement system and in defiance of a powerful teachers union that vowed political retribution. Opponents objected that the pension changes were inserted into an unrelated bill without a chance for public input, and worry that the changes will discourage young people from joining the profession.

The bill, passed mostly on party lines, has gone to Gov. Matt Bevin - who supports reforming the pension system.

Kristen Neidhardt, who teaches first grade at White's Tower Elementary School in Kenton County, said she got into education for the children, not to become rich and famous.

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