Teachers are getting fed up. In Oklahoma, they’re entering their fifth day of a walkout and packing the state capitol building to pressure lawmakers to increase funding for schools.
In Kentucky, teachers are protesting a change to their pension that eliminates the traditional pension and puts teachers into a hybrid cash-balance plan. They’re also upset over new limits on sick days they can put into their retirement. Kentucky just cut taxes for the richest one percent in the state while raising taxes on those who make less than $21,000 a year.
Oklahoma ranks 49th in teacher pay, with only Mississippi and South Dakota behind them. Notice these are all Republican-voting states. Many teachers in Oklahoma have second, and in some cases, three jobs. Some teachers have to rely on food banks to help feed themselves and their families. Many classrooms don’t have enough textbooks for the students, and many of those books are run-down and outdated.
Teachers in Oklahoma are upset over a repeal of a motel and hotel tax which eliminates $42 million in funding. Legislators are considering a bill that will tax third-party retailers selling through internet outlets like Amazon. They’re also considering a new gambling tax. Both measures can bring in $20 million each per year that can go toward education.
There were walkouts in West Virginia last month that led to a five percent pay raise. Teachers also protested in Arizona last week seeking an increase in their funding. Again, red states.
A lot of lawmakers don’t seem to understand that compensating teachers and education makes their state stronger. A strong education system, along with an educated workforce, attracts companies to your state. Paying teachers well attracts the best teachers and encourages students to pursue a career in education. Everyone wins when you properly fund education. Even if you don’t have kids, you benefit from a strong educated system in your state.
Yes, everyone benefits, except maybe Republicans. The higher educated a person becomes, the less likely they’ll be voting Republican.
Oh, look. A video.
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