OKLAHOMA CITY—Statement by Ed Allen, president of the Oklahoma City American Federation of Teachers, which represents 2,600 teachers, on Monday’s rally at the state Capitol regarding investment in education. The rally will start at 9 a.m., with speeches beginning at 10:30 a.m. Schools in Oklahoma City and elsewhere around the state will be closed on Monday so teachers can attend the rally.
“The legislation providing more funding for higher teacher salaries, tax increases to pay for them and additional education investment is a great beginning, but it’s not the end. Our teachers raised their voices and the Legislature did the right thing, and we will hold lawmakers accountable to fully fund the package. But this fight has always been about more than wages; it’s about the kids. We will continue to fight every day to make sure that Oklahoma students get what they need to be well-prepared for college and career. We believe lawmakers finally recognize—thanks to teachers lifting their voices and standing their ground in Oklahoma and across the United States—that kids should no longer be educated on the cheap.
“To bring Oklahoma public education up to respectable standards, we will be fighting for additional, substantial education investment. More teachers must be hired to eliminate vacancies and reduce overcrowded classrooms; per-pupil spending must be raised; kids must have modern textbooks to replace ones that are more than a half-century old; and we need to bring back Advanced Placement courses and other electives so that kids leave high school with a well-rounded education.
“At its core, this is about teachers and school support workers’ heartbreaking teaching and learning conditions. Funding public education adequately is a fight that we must win because it’s the right thing for our kids, for our economy and for America.”