Teachers Ready For Day 3 Of Walkout, Despite Early Frustrations
OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma - Teachers might be getting frustrated about state lawmakers leaving early, but they say they are not going to give up hope.
The atmosphere outside the Capitol on Tuesday was very similar to what it was Monday, so the momentum is still very high.
Teachers say that no matter what lawmakers do, they aren’t leaving until they get funding for their students.
“I mean, if our classrooms were funded, we would feel important,” said Oologah Kindergarten Teacher Melinda Dale. “They're not and our kids aren't funded and they don't feel important.”
Dale also works as a part time janitor because the district can't afford to hire one.
“We were going without a clean building so there were several of us teachers who took on working a second job to clean the schools,” explained Dale.
Dale was one of several green country teachers who walked around the Capitol chanting for change despite the lawmakers calling it a day early.
Sapulpa 5th grade teacher Samantha Clark says “it’s really frustrating. It almost feels like we are being avoided.”
“When something is going bad in my day, I don't have the privilege of throwing up my hands and saying I'm going to go home,” declared Terri Storjohann, an Owasso 1st grade teacher.
Storjohann also walked out in 1990 and is retiring at the end of the year. She says it's sad to go out on a note like this.
“Oklahoma has broken every promise that they've ever made to Teachers in the past 38 years,” said Storjohann.
Despite the momentum outside, some teachers say it's difficult to stay hopeful.
Chris Weatherford, a Mannford physical education teacher says, “we've gotta have faith that something is going to get done, but when they leave at 10:30 in the morning, what does that say?”
But others say they aren't leaving until their students get the funding they deserve.
“We want to be in our classrooms but enough is enough,” stated Union High School math teacher Cindy Johnson.
Jeremy Gragg, the Assistant Principal at Eufaula High School, says “when the heat gets on them, they're gonna adjourn and come back at a later date when they're hoping the pressure is off, but it's not going to happen.”
The OEA is planning to start their rally at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday even though lawmakers aren’t coming back until 3:00 that afternoon.
Some districts are even sending buses up later than normal so they can be there until lawmakers leave Wednesday night.