Some Schools Closed As Teachers Rally At State Capitol

A group of striking teachers

A group of striking teachers

This is the first day back to school for many Oklahoma students following the two-week walkout by Oklahoma teachers.

"The Foundation remains committed to working with its partners to provide an exceptional education for all children in OKCPS", said Mary Melon, President and CEO of The Foundation of Oklahoma City Public Schools.

The striking teachers are planning to wear red, as teachers in a number of other states have in recent weeks while rallying at their state capitols for higher pay, greater education funding, and an end to the corporate tax cuts that have caused school spending to fall by the wayside over the past decade.

Teachers say it's about more than a salary raise.

"We are proud of the teachers, administrators, support staff and families who went to the Capitol to fight for our children".

Teachers in Colorado earn about $7,000 below the national average of $58,064 a year, according to a survey by the Colorado School Finance Project, a nonpartisan, nonprofit education watchdog group.

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The Oklahoma Education Association said the walkout prompted legislators to boost education funding by $479 million and up teachers' pay by an average of $6,100, the largest pay raise in state history.

Across the country, teachers have been striking and lobbying their state legislators for fair pay and labor conditions. A day they hope will show signs of progress. "We spend more and more of our own money to do things", McNamee said.

Oklahoma lawmakers passed a bill March 31 providing $50 million in public school funding, but the increase was nowhere near matching teachers' demands for $200 million.

On Sunday, teachers in the Poudre School District were preparing for a busy Monday. They drew honks from passing cars before heading inside to lobby lawmakers. "I guarantee you somewhere today a child was physically harmed or ingested poison because they were home alone because a single parent doesn't have any money to take care of them".

The success of West Virginia teachers inspired educators in the other states to follow suit.

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