Thousands of Oklahoma teachers march at capitol, demand education funding

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OKLAHOMA CITY - Thousands of Oklahoma teachers converged Monday morning at the capitol picketing, rallying and talking to lawmakers.

"All you legislators better step up your game! We don't play, play! Remember our name! We don't take defeat!" teachers chanted as they held up signs and walked a circle around the capitol.

"Tell me what democracy looks like! This is what democracy looks like!" chanted others at the rally led by the Oklahoma Education Association.

Teachers at the capitol said they're fighting not just for themselves, but for their students and the future of education in our state.

"Now, we look like greedy teachers, that's what I've heard and that's not it at all," said Deidra Smith, a teacher in Guymon Public Schools.

Some parents and educators were also getting the young ones involved in the activism.

"I think they should fund education so I can go 5 days a week instead of 4 and learn 20 percent more than I am," said one little girl from Bristow Public Schools who came to the rally with her dad who is also a teacher.

Even the president of the West Virginia Education Association showed up, telling Oklahoma teachers they are not alone.

West Virginia teachers just won themselves a pay raise after their walk out there.

"We've given people the belief that, standing united, things can change, that we can stand united and make a difference," said Dale Lee.

"It is your house - not oil company's house, not billionaires - your house!" yelled Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers.

State employees also came out to the capitol in force.

"Please, don't forget us and our retirees. Both of my parents are retired, and I'm worried to death they'll be forgotten in all of this," said Adrian Garvey, a state employee.

"Funding for public education should not be historic. It should be normal," said Alicia Priest, president of the Oklahoma Education Association.

Teachers have already announced they will be back at the capitol again on Tuesday.

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