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International visitors in Tulsa attended an education rally and weighed in on education crisis

Posted at 7:29 PM, Apr 09, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-09 20:29:33-04

TULSA, Okla. - From the sound of the incessant honking in Brookside on Monday, you might have thought you were in New York City.

However, the honks and beeps you heard came from drivers supporting a group of teachers, parents and students rallying for public education funding.

Around 10:30 a.m., they started spreading out along the sidewalk on 37th and Peoria holding up signs in support of education.

"Every year in April, it's like how much are we losing? How many teachers is it going to affect? What classes are we going to lose?" said Angela Loegering, a French teacher at Carver Middle School.

She, along with other middle school teachers, organized the rally on day sixth of the walkout to bring awareness to their frustration over underfunding of Oklahoma schools.

Among the crowd was a group of international visitors from the U.S. Department of State's visitor program through the Tulsa Global Alliance. It's in town to learn about American culture.

"I would have never though America would have such a thing here. We expect America as a power state to have everything, I mean you guys are rich. You have the resources," said Nokuthula Ngwenya from Zimbabwe. 

She says the dire situation in the state resonates with her as a teacher in her country.

"Civil servants in my country are also very poorly paid, and the public schools are underfunded and everything that is being said here. I can quite understand what is going on here," said Ngwenya.

Seeing the teachers rally isn't too surprising for Australian visitor, Jason Ball. His country also has teachers unions supporting schools.

"It's a no-brainer why the state is struggling in these ways when you're not investing in your kids. You're not investing in your teachers," said Ball.

Despite the challenges Oklahoma, and other states like Arizona, are facing when it comes to funding classrooms, these foreigners see Americans as privileged to have the freedom to speak up for what they believe in.

"There is so much hope for the future, especially with young teachers coming in and not accepting the status quo, knowing that things can be better," said Ball.

Ngwenya also expressed that sentiment.

"People have a voice, and so I would like it very much to go back to my country and advocate for the people to be heard."

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