Human Rights

Oklahoma Teachers Frustrated After Union Ends Walkout

Teachers told reporters Thursday they were frustrated with their union after leadership decided to end a nine-day walkout calling for more money.

Oklahoma Teachers Frustrated After Union Ends Walkout
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The Oklahoma teachers union is ending its nine-day walkout. It's calling on teachers to go back to the classroom. 

"We are not just giving up and going home. Instead, we are moving on to the next phase in our ongoing efforts," Oklahoma Education Association President Alicia Priest said Thursday. "This is not a protest, this is not a rally. This is a movement."

The union points to the nearly half a billion dollars it got state lawmakers to pledge toward education next year. That's pretty close to its goal of $506 million, but that's not good enough for several teachers who talked to reporters Thursday. 

"You've basically started a war and then walked away from it," teacher Kellie Tatum said. "And I could have been in my classroom these last nine days preparing my kids for state testing, and instead I've been on this corner in heat, in rain, in cold, in wind, advocating for the children of Oklahoma, and you just said, 'Well, we got enough.' We didn't get enough."

The union says it decided to end the walkout after polling its members. The union called on voters to take up the cause, saying the funding crisis started with electing the wrong people.