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“They gave up,” Oklahoma educators disappointed with end to teacher walkout

OKLAHOMA CITY – After the teacher walkout came to an abrupt end on Thursday night, many educators feel as though the fight isn’t over.

Last month, the Oklahoma Education Association announced that it is seeking a $10,000 pay raise for Oklahoma teachers over three years, a $5,000 pay raise for support professionals over three years, a cost-of-living adjustment for retirees, and the restoration of funding for education and core government services.

OEA announced that it was tentatively planning a teacher walkout for April 2 if legislators didn’t meet those demands.

Earlier this month, Gov. Mary Fallin signed a bill that raises teachers’ salaries by an average of $6,100. It also gives $1,250 raises for support staff and adds $50 million in education funding.

For nine days, thousands of educators and supporters headed to the Capitol to demand an increase to education funding.

On Thursday, the OEA announced that the walkout was coming to an end.

“We need to face reality. Despite tens of thousands of people filling the Capitol and spilling out onto the grounds of this Capitol for nine days, we have seen no significant legislative movement since last Friday,” OEA President Alicia Priest said.

However, many Oklahoma teachers are upset by the decision.

“I mean, it’s all for nothing. They gave up,” said Kellie Tatum, a Tulsa teacher.

Tatum says that she is worried that lawmakers will simply repeal the measures that they passed to fund education when teachers are back in school.

“Every teacher is disappointed in you, OEA,” she said.

“My students are worth much more than this. They deserve much more than this, and I feel like we’re kind of giving them the short-end of the stick,” said Precious Lango, a Webster Middle School teacher, told KJRH.