Oklahoma Teachers Are Fed Up And Walking Out On April 2. Here's Why.

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Oklahoma Teachers Are Fed Up And Walking Out On April 2. Here's Why. 4.5
Lyndsey Stuart is a history and leadership teacher at Bartlesville High School in Oklahoma. She’s been teaching for 10 years. And she’s never had a raise.

“I don't think any teacher goes into the profession and thinks, ‘Oh my gosh, I'm going to be a millionaire,’’’ Stuart said. “But we also don't think that we're going to be that close to poverty.”

Earlier this month, the state teachers’ union, the Oklahoma Education Association, called for teachers to walk out of their classrooms on April 2, the day after the state legislature is required to pass an education budget. They’re calling for a $10,000 raise for teachers over three years, as well as a $200 million increase in funding for education, which has been cut 28.2 percent since 2008.

Stuart makes $34,929 a year as a teacher, but she works around 30 more hours a week as a photographer to make ends meet. She said she makes about as much as a photographer as she does teaching.

And Stuart isn’t alone. The average high school teacher in Oklahoma makes $42,460, which ranks 50th in the nation.

“I know more teachers than not that have to have second or third jobs,” she said.

And teachers in other states within the seven-state region of Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas average $48,103 as of May 2017.

Teachers at Bartlesville High School have been taking personal days every Tuesday to lobby the legislature in Oklahoma City. But they haven’t been as receptive as the teachers would have liked them to be.

“We had a senator come to our school and told our children that a teacher walkout wasn't going to change anything. And I beg to differ. When you have 50 to 80,000, maybe 100,000 teachers show up at the Capitol, it's going to change things.”

While the Oklahoma House has passed a package that would give teachers at least a $5,000 raise and raise taxes in the state for the first time since 1990, it hasn’t become law yet. And it doesn’t include an increase in school funding. So the Oklahoma Education Association has said the walkout is still on.

“We were left with no other option [but to walk out] because they will not listen to us. And thus far they've gotten away with doing whatever they want, and telling teachers just wait and be patient,” Stuart said. “And how long do you wait? How long can we compromise?”

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💬 Comments on the video

If I went to school for 4 years and got a teaching degree to work 3 jobs I'd be pretty mad too

Author — Rianne West


I love Mrs. Stuart. She was my history teacher. It makes me so sad that she is going through what she is.

I'm so proud of her and every teacher across the state fighting for what they and their students deserve!

Author — Emily


Three jobs, Jesus Christ! This is why people drop dead at 50.

Author — Frederick Dorsey


The unnoticed teacher giving their all to help students excel...I just wanna say thank you to those kind of teachers..I appreciate what you do

Author — 50 Stitches Steel


She has three jobs to be correct.

1. Mom

Author — David Covarrubias


34000 is ridiculous for someone who has ten years experience. She should definitely move.

Author — ragingbrawler


Omg this is my history teacher!! I'm so proud of her for standing up for what's right. Being a teacher is a hard job and education deserves so much more it's just so extremely important, it's also hard to be a student in Oklahoma with huge class sizes and no textbooks but hopefully we can eventually change that for the better

Author — Christina Guernsey


Oklahoma is like a 3rd world country at this point. Incredibly corrupt. They can't raise teachers pay but they sure can give tax breaks and contracts to big oil companies

Author — Cristian Elizondo


They have to respect teachers they are the foundation that’s where they start for our workers today engineers doctors

Author — Edward Biglang-awa


Every teacher in America should walk out. It's shameful how they're treated in this country.

Author — doxide


They should have walked out a long time ago, teachers deserve way more

Author — MarcLloydz


As someone who is still going to school in Oklahoma its true for all these teachers. I work with my English teacher at a whole foods store. Its sad how much they get paid and how much time they put into it.

Author — August


2:00 work at a Convenience store and make more money than a teacher? 40k a year is about 25 an hour.... Youre not making that at a convenient store

Author — The Critic


Pay the teachers. More respect for them then the thug cops imo

Author — KRZY !KZ


Why the hell are the taxes so high in Oklahoma yet teachers are paid the lowest, when in Texas they don't have state taxes and are paid more? Why the hell can't they pay them without raising our taxes?!

Author — Malissah B


FYI I live in okc and during the walkout we literally didn’t have school for weeks.

Author — Chic_sheep


She took that “can I speak to the manager?” haircut to the capitol building!

Author — Harper Sanchez


I feel her pain. when she said ...never thought I'd have a college education and be working above the poverty line....

Author — D J


Their "representatives" are more concerned with raising money for themselves.

Author — Brent P


I love this lady she works so hard for her kids and students I feel so bad for everybody

Author — Gacha Queen2007