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Oklahoma Teachers Pursue Their Protest After Only Getting a $6,100 Pay Raise!

Just last month, we heard how the Oklahoma teachers walked out from their schools and conducted a protest to ask the government for a wage hike. The teachers have been deprived of a salary increase for so long, it’s about time to increase their income to support their living, according to them. Let us uncover how the Oklahoma state addressed the concerns of our valued teachers.

Demands for Wage Hikes

The Oklahoma teachers walked out from their classrooms last April 2 to conduct a wage protest.

Oklahoma has one of the lowest salary ranges for educators across the country. What’s worse, it’s been a decade since the federal government has seen fit to give them a raise. An average Oklahoma teacher only earns an annual income of $34,929, which is barely enough to support their living and make their ends meet. Oftentimes, these teachers have to work a part-time job or other sideline projects to become financially stable. The teachers realized that their miserable condition had to stop.

This prompted them to walk out from their schools and protest against the government. They demanded a $10,000 raise, increasing the education fund up to $200 million. Aside from the Oklahoma teachers, the professors in West Virginia also conducted a statewide protest which lasted for 9 days. The West Virginia government granted their plea by implementing 5% pay raises. Meanwhile, the teachers in Arizona railed at the state capitol last Wednesday to call for a 20% hike in their wages and raise the education funding for students.

Raise Package Bill

Seven US States namely: Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas, only generate an annual income of $48,103 for the educators.

Fortunately, the Oklahoma government responded to their instructors’ call. Last Thursday, the federal-state approved the Oklahoma bill known as HB1010XX to collect the taxes on cigarette sales, fuel, and lodging to raise money to fund the teacher’s salary hike. The State Governor Mary Fallin stated that the professors can receive up to a 16% increase. They can earn as much as $6,100 more from their current wage. She was delighted to announce this good news to the teachers which she hailed as the “largest teacher pay raise ever in the State’s history.”

The Oklahoma governor lauded the House of Representatives and Senate for enacting the said bill swiftly. She noted how those lawmakers who voted yes had granted the public’s request to raise their pay. Thus, securing a solid foundation of the state for a better future. She believes that if the educators are happy with their pay, they’ll be more motivated to teach and guide our future generation for our country’s improvement.

Raise Not Enough

While the Oklahoma Education Association were delighted to hear the news, they reiterate this is just the start of their battle. They aren’t done yet since the organization originally requested for a $10,000 raise. They noted how the $6,100 raise isn’t enough to undo a decade of neglect for the educators. They require the legislator to increase the teacher’s basic pay up to $10,000 for the next three years.

The Oklahoma Education Association President Alicia Priest said in a Facebook video call last Wednesday that they will march on the capitol on Monday next week to pursue their cause.

Another $5,000 pay increase for the support professionals and to restore the education’s funding which has been suffering from budget cuts since 2008. The Congress should realize they need to invest more in our classrooms and facilities to upgrade the state’s quality of education and compete with other states. They also say the teachers will continue conducting protests until these conditions are met.

Some Senators and lawmakers may think otherwise, saying that protesting won’t change anything, but the organization believes that collaborative efforts can alter things. As more teachers in the State (and the neighborhood) join their cause, they believe the government will eventually agree to their terms.

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