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. Educators will march at about 9:45 a.m. CST from Northeast Academy in Oklahoma City to the statehouse and speeches will begin at 10:30 a.m. CST.
NOTE: Among the speakers at the rally will be AFT President Randi Weingarten as well as Oklahoma City AFT’s Allen.
Schools in Oklahoma City and elsewhere around the state will be closed on Monday.
Ed Allen: “The legislation providing more funding for higher teacher salaries and tax increases is a great beginning, but it’s not the end. Our teachers raised their voices and the Legislature did the right thing, and now we need assurances that there will be additional funding to invest in our schools. 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.”