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Jacobin: The Reasons for a Teachers' Strike in "Right to Work" Oklahoma

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'Here is a comprehensive and excellent article about the dire condition of public schools in Oklahoma. Given the legislature’s indifference, even hostility, to public schools, it says it is Oklahoma’s turn to strike. State legislators haven’t been able to find enough money to pay for public schools, but they have found it easy to divert money from their resource-starved public schools to pay for charter schools! The purposeful gutting of public schools has been the project of free market fundamentalists. But it did not start with them.' The roots of this crisis are not hard to find. Taxes have not been raised by the Oklahoma legislature since 1990. Due to a right-wing 1992 anti-tax initiative, a supermajority of 75 percent of legislators is now needed to impose new taxes , and have  slashed income taxes for the rich. They have also passed huge breaks for the oil and gas companies.'

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I began teaching in 1963,; Ba and BS in Education -Brooklyn College. I have the equivalent of 2 additional Master's, mainly in Literacy Studies and Graphic Design. I was the only seventh grade teacher of English from 1990 -1999 at East Side (more...)
 

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Other Series: View All 141 Articles in "Ending democracy: end the institution of public schools"

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Susan Lee Schwartz

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"As a result, a fifth of Oklahoma's school districts have been forced to reduce the school week to four days." This is hideous, jaw dropping and tragic for the people of Oklahoma, whether they support the public schools or not. The rich will do just fine while everyone else will suffer. Oklahoma makes Kansas look like a progressive Nirvana (not really). This is what happens when this knuckle headed right wing libertarian/Randian philosophy of greed takes hold in a state or a country. The common good is trampled into the dust. "

    Submitted on Sunday, Apr 1, 2018 at 3:26:00 PM

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    Susan Lee Schwartz

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    • 3 comments from educators on the Ravitch Blog on this article:

      "Here's my favorite sentence in the article: "This weakness is the result not only of Oklahoma's reactionary anti-union laws, but also the manifest ineffectiveness of the OEA's decades-long focus on lobbying the legislature and electing Democratic Party politicians." This is not just an Oklahoma problem, or a teachers in red states problem, but a problem with how teachers unions have been operating for decades. Instead of focusing on grassroots issues, they've focused on lobbying and trying to get Democrats elected, and Democrats have not been friends to public schools. The teachers are leading, from the bottom up."Leigh Campbell-Hale

      "The bipartisan defunding of education in favor of tax breaks is noteworthy. Oklahoma politicians and voters seem to think of teachers as babysitters with college degrees, also mostly women who really need to work gratis or at low pay. I see no evidence of strong support for teachers in any state. If you know of at least one, please post the why and how here." Laura H. Chapman

      "This sounds like Utah. Our pay is not quite as low as Oklahoma's, West Virginia's, or Arizona's, but our per pupil expenditure is far lower. Our class sizes are ludicrous. I frequently have classes (social studies) of 38 or 39 middle school students. I teach 8 class periods, and have a total student load of 280. That's not a type-o. I wish teachers here would begin to start talking about a walk out here, too." Threatened Out West

    Submitted on Sunday, Apr 1, 2018 at 3:29:38 PM

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