Not Every Oklahoma School District Supports The Walkout
TULSA, Oklahoma - Not every school district or parent supports the teacher walk-out.
It was a day like any other at North Rock Creek schools in Pottawatomie County. A little more than 600 students showed up for classes April 2, despite districts across the state shutting down to support the teacher walkout.
"We have a lot of kids who count on us for various reasons in our rural neighborhood for food service, education, etc.," said Superintendent Blake Moody.
Parents like Jala Murphy, tell us while they understand teachers need a raise, they breathed a sigh of relief after learning school leaders would keep the doors open.
"I feel very grateful that we have teachers that were going to take care of our kids," parent Jala Murphy said.
Rex Lawhorn is a Tulsa parent, who's also running for Governor.
"Holding the entire state hostage to meet an impossible goal. Choosing to walk out at this time is not going to do anything to foster positive conversations between anybody," said Rex Lawhorn.
He's one of a couple dozen members of a Facebook group called "Oklahomans Against Teacher Strikes."
Lawhorn believes Oklahoma schools have the money they need to be successful, but school leaders are not spending it the right way.
"It's the leadership of the schools at the state and local level that are wasting those funds and not putting them where they need to be," Lawhorn said.
"It's extortion," said Representative Jeff Coody. "It's probably not doable, and you all are going to suffer as a result of it."
Video of State Representative Jeff Coody went viral when he compared the walkout and the Oklahoma Education Association's demands to extortion while talking to high school students at the capitol.
Political blogger David Van believes there are ways to fix the budget problem, but politicians just don't have the will to do it.
"I'm looking for someone to be the adult in the room and say wait a minute, we've got to reorganize and manage this," Van said.
Van says the entire education system needs to change.
"To unlock education the way it needs to be, our kids deserve, we have to get away from the 18th century model we're hanging onto," he said
Whether people support the walkout or not: one thing is clear, most Oklahomans agree education is underfunded.
"I don't agree with what they're doing, but I understand their frustration," said Tulsa parent and gubernatorial candidate Rex Lawhorn.
Whether families agreed with the decision to shutdown schools or not, State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister tells us more than 70 percent of Oklahoma's school districts participated.