TPS Hopes New Resolution Brings Teacher Pay Raise
TULSA, Oklahoma - Starting next week, teachers at Tulsa Public Schools are only working to the parameters of their contract. They are doing this because they believe it will make a statement to the legislature on how much teachers deserve a raise.
School officials are saying enough is enough and something needs to be done. But a lot of teachers are nervous about this plan because they believe the workload is going to pile up because a lot of their work happens outside of their eight-hour workday.
“We are not giving them the quality education that they deserve because it's gotten that bad,” said third-grade teacher Deven McMahan.
McMahan says she usually works from 6:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and does about 75 percent of her grading work outside of school. But she doesn't know if lawmakers at the capitol will ever know about her efforts unless she joins other teachers in protest.
“It's going to put more work on the teacher and it's going to put the district behind,” said McMahan “It's going to bother the district more than it's going to bother the state.”
TPS officials are the first to introduce this "work to contract" effort to showcase how much work happens outside the classroom, meaning teachers won't go home and grade papers or even make phone calls to parents.
“We've done it for free for too long,” said TCTA President Patti Ferguson-Palmer. “We've kind of let people walk on us, and if we don't make it stop then it's never going to get any better.”
Key school leaders signed a commitment card showing they stand by the teachers in whatever they decide and hope they don't have to join the state-wide strike.
“It is now the moment at which we are going to show that we mean business because our phone calls and our letters and our emails haven't gotten us there,” said Superintendent Deborah Gist.
Monday night, the school board proposed a resolution in support of the teachers. They will be taking a vote on this resolution at the next meeting on March 15.