AFT Leaders on Oklahoma Legislative Approval of Measures to Fund Schools
Oklahoma City AFT President Ed Allen and Oklahoma-AFT President Mary Best: “By standing up and advocating for what kids need, teachers let lawmakers know the days of stiffing our kids out of decent education funding must end.”
AFT President Randi Weingarten: “Derided as extortionists less than a week ago for wanting a livable wage and adequate school funding, Oklahoma teachers now have convinced lawmakers to do more to address deplorable teaching and learning conditions caused by deep cuts in school investment.”
OKLAHOMA CITY—Statement from Ed Allen, president of the Oklahoma City American Federation of Teachers, and Mary Best, president of AFT-Oklahoma, on the Oklahoma Legislature’s final approval today of two tax bills that will raise about $45 million to fund public education:
“Oklahoma teachers, parents and school superintendents repeatedly urged the Legislature to address woeful school underfunding and teacher salaries. In Oklahoma and other states, that advocacy fell on deaf ears over the last decade, favoring tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations over the needs of students. This week, teachers’ voices were heard throughout the capital and beyond, proclaiming that Oklahoma public education can no longer be denied adequate funding and that learning conditions can’t be pitted against stagnant teacher salaries.
“By standing up and advocating for what kids need, teachers let lawmakers know the days of stiffing our kids out of decent education funding must end. The tax bills for online third-party vendors and ball-and-dice gaming are big steps forward and provide a down payment for what is needed to fully fund public schools. Legislators have acted, and we call on Gov. Mary Fallin to sign the bills and respect the efforts of teachers, whose sole objective this past week was to ensure that Oklahoma students get what they need for a bright future.
“The Oklahoma City AFT will hold a telephone town hall meeting this weekend with our members to give them an update and discuss next steps.”
Statement from Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers:
“Teachers everywhere fight for their students’ needs and lives, and nowhere has this been clearer lately than in Oklahoma, West Virginia, Arizona, Kentucky and Florida. The country has watched and fallen in love with these everyday heroes who have walked out of schools and stormed state capitols to demand needed funding and policy changes to ensure kids have safe, excellent and welcoming schools.
“What Oklahoma teachers accomplished this week is nothing short of amazing. Derided as extortionists less than a week ago for wanting a livable wage and adequate school funding, Oklahoma teachers now have convinced lawmakers to do more to address deplorable teaching and learning conditions caused by deep cuts in school investment. Teachers and their unions want what our students need, and Oklahoma educators demonstrated this week that they will do what it takes to seize the future for their students and their profession.”
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The AFT represents 1.7 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.