Arizona teachers near walk out over pay, funding


Oklahoma's two largest school districts say they are canceling classes for the seventh consecutive day as a walkout by teachers demanding more funding for public education continues.

"We're hoping that we get some answers and some bright steps for our children", Hedger said.

Shortly before the April 2 walkout, Gov. Mary Fallin signed a bill that provided $50 million in funding for schools, increased teachers' salaries and gave pay raises to support staff.

Thousands of teachers marched the 14 miles from the Oklahoma City suburb of Edmond to the state capitol Monday, while a delegation of teachers from Tulsa continued their 110-mile trek to the capitol. Governor Matt Bevin and the state legislature are slashing retiree benefits as they reduce taxes for corporations and the wealthy. Authorities said she surrendered to the Clinton Police Department.

Oklahoma is extending the time period for students to take standardized tests.

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More Palestinians were killed along the Gaza-Israeli border as demonstrators returned for the second consecutive Friday. Gaza's economy has been devastated by years of Israeli military attacks and a joint Israeli-Egyptian blockade.

The Oklahoma Legislature typically does not meet on Fridays, but protesting teachers had packed the Capitol for five days, adding pressure for elected leaders to act. With demands for statewide strikes spreading from Kentucky, Arizona and SC to Florida, Iowa and Texas, the unions have warned teachers that strikes are illegal and would lead to "harsh consequences". "I think most of us would prefer to be back in our classrooms doing what we went to college to do, what we love doing, but until education is a priority for this state, it looks like we are going to have to set up some couches, some furniture, maybe get some RVs in here".

The protests in Oklahoma come about a month after West Virginia teachers won a huge victory, forcing their state's House of Delegates and Senate to unanimously approve a bill awarding all state employees, including teachers and school staff, a 5 percent pay increase.

"My former students who are now teachers, one is leading a walk today, another is on the capitol grounds", said Carbbe. "We had about 20 that walked all the way from the high school and just about the time we passed the railroad tracks and you could see how many people are here, it was just energizing to know this many people turned out". Supporters of the bill said the changes are necessary to save the state's pension systems.

"My teachers, they try, they help us do things, even though we don't have the supplies we need", said Booker T student Maleah Harvin.

Teachers want a $10,000 raise over three years.