Oklahoma teacher group demands $6,000 pay raise

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- The largest teacher organization in Oklahoma says its members will walk out of their classrooms if lawmakers don't approve a $6,000 raise by April 1, echoing plans of other educators across the U.S.

Oklahoma Education Association President Alicia Priest said Thursday teachers are planning a statewide work stoppage on April 2 unless the Legislature raises their salaries for the first time since 2008. Priest says teachers are demanding a $6,000 raise this year and $2,000 in each of the next two years.

Priest says teachers have reached a breaking point after years of staff shortages and overcrowded classrooms. The National Education Association ranked Oklahoma 49th in the nation in teacher salaries in 2016.

A teacher strike in West Virginia led to a pay raise this week, and Arizona teachers are considering walkouts.

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