TULSA -- In addition to protesting at the capitol, teachers rallied in their hometowns in support of education funding.
Jana Simmons, a teacher, said, “It’s not a day off for us. So, I’ve been out here since 7:10 working my contract letting people know that even though I’m not at the capitol, I’m here. I’m still fighting for my students.”
Simmons stood alongside some of her students Monday on the corner of 41st and Yale, advocating for higher pay and more funding in education.
Hundreds of other teachers lined up along 71st St. and stretched six or seven miles to gain awareness and show support for the cause.
Simmons said, “The legislature gave us a raise and it wasn’t what we asked for, and that was great. But they left my students on the table. They deserve funding. They deserve more than what they’ve gotten.”
The main focus is students, giving them the resources they need to excel and the teachers they need to do so.
Patricia Cox has been teaching for 29 years and urged those who disagree with their movement, “Come join me for a week and see what it’s like when my kids come in the classroom and they don’t have what they need. Come with me for a week when they’re worried about their teachers leaving because they’re going to go to another state.”
It’s no secret there is a teacher shortage in Oklahoma. Cox says an investment in current teachers is an investment in future teachers.
Cox explained, “If our gym teacher retires, are we going to get a gym teacher? If our fine arts teacher retires, are we going to get a fine arts teacher? Those are all critical things that our students need.”
It’s all part of a bigger goal. Simmons added, “We cannot do our jobs alone. We have got to have support. If we don’t fund education, then no big business is going to come. We’re going to be stuck with low paying jobs. That does not make our economy thrive at all.”
Since Tulsa Public Schools has canceled class on Tuesday in support of the walkout, many teachers, parents and students plan to take their message to the streets again.
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