Governor Fallin Stands By Controversial Education Statements

Wednesday, April 4th 2018, 6:17 pm
By: Dee Duren

"Teachers want more, but it's kind of like a teenager wanting a better car."

After that comment Tuesday night to CBS News, Governor Mary Fallin came to Green Country Wednesday to tour the expansion of Spirit Aerosystems in McAlester.

Teachers lined some streets and staked out intersections to make sure the Governor saw them. 

She didn't stop to speak with them, and with reporters - she stood by some of her earlier controversial statements and wouldn't speculate on whether the legislature will put another education funding bill together.

They lined up on the curb of Electric Avenue where the Governor was expected to pass by.

"We are out here today because it's not just about a teacher raise, its about funding for education," said Carrie Petty, Crowder teacher.

Teachers from McAlester and surrounding towns like Clayton and Crowder hoped the Governor would see their signs - and have a change of heart.
"Give us the funding that we need to supply our classrooms so we can do what we need to do in our classroom for our kids," said Jonathan Freeman, a math teacher in Clayton.

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But Governor Fallin, touring Spirit AeroSystems, said restoring money for education would likely take years, described the atmosphere at the Capitol as "hostile" and repeated her widely criticized statement that teachers should be more grateful.

"For those complaining we want more, we want more, we want more, that's a nice pay raise," Fallin said.

But teachers and students holding signs along Carl Albert Parkway say this was not just about raises.

Eighth grader Brooklyn Filtz made a sign after hearing Fallin compare teachers who teenagers wanting a new car.

"The fact that 9/11 happened two years before I was born, and we've yet to see it in a textbook," Brooklyn said.

Teachers say they're grateful for the raise - some said they were surprised by it - but the funding for classroom needs is just as critical.

"The money for the kids," said McAlester 5th grade teacher Brent Grilliot. "It's just not enough; it's not there yet.

The Governor said any large funding needs, like teacher raises for the years ahead, would likely be the work of the next governor.