Morning Bell: TEACHER WALKOUT - DAY 10
Good morning. Today marks 10 days since Oklahoma teachers began a walkout and rally at the state Capitol.
For many of the thousands of teachers who have gathered at the Capitol since April 2, the daily rally has been a show of support for public education that can be uplifting in a profession that can often feel isolating.
Some teachers are losing optimism about securing further increases in education funding this year.
"My heart wants to be encouraged, but I am a little pessimistic," said Mary Means, a special education teacher from Luther High School. "We'd be willing to come out here as many days as it takes, but some of our school systems are calling us back."
- Related to this story
- Video: Teacher Walkout: Arm Chain around the Capitol
You can read my story from yesterday's rally here.
Here is a photo gallery from yesterday's rally.
Also on Tuesday, Gov. Mary Fallin signed the repeal of a hotel/motel tax, rejecting one of the demands made by teachers.
The Oklahoma Education Association wanted Fallin to veto House Bill 1012xx as one of their goals for ending the teacher walkout. Teachers also demanded that lawmakers adopt a bill languishing in the House that would eliminate Oklahoma's tax deduction on capital gains. Both Fallin and House GOP leadership rejected the idea Tuesday.
GOP candidates ripped for position on teacher strike
A national Democratic organization ripped some Republican candidates for Oklahoma governor on Tuesday, saying they would be worse than Gov. Mary Fallin on education, reports The Oklahoman's Chris Casteel.
“Todd Lamb, Kevin Stitt, and Gary Richardson would continue to let Oklahoma's schools deteriorate," said Jared Leopold, spokesman for the Democratic Governors Association.
"Oklahoma's students and teachers deserve a governor who will support them, not someone who will be even worse on education than Mary Fallin.”
The comments came a day after a candidate forum aired on Oklahoma City's KOKC radio in which five of the Republican gubernatorial hopefuls were asked whether they would have signed the revenue and pay raise package for teachers that became law two weeks ago.
Candidate filing begins today
Filing for state office begins Wednesday. With thousands of teachers at the state Capitol who have expressed frustration with lawmakers, we could see a dash of people sign up to run.
Is another teachers caucus on the way?
More than 30 current or former teachers ran for state House and Senate seats in 2016 on platforms of higher teacher pay and education funding.
The filing period for this year's elections is from Wednesday through Friday.
Mounds teacher under investigation
A male Mounds High School teacher is under investigation for reported inappropriate contact with a female student, according to the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation.
The Mounds Police Department requested OSBI agents investigate the case March 30 after the school superintendent told police March 29, according to a news release.