OEA to hold news conference on teacher walkout status

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The Oklahoma Education Association gave legislators until late April to provide new revenues or face a walkout, but teachers protested and pushed the union to adopt an April 1 deadline.

As in West Virginia, rank-and-file teachers started the walkout movement by organizing on Facebook, at first without much help from unions.

Alicia Priest told reporters that teachers in the state should instead focus on campaigning for pro-education candidates for the state legislature.

While the Oklahoma Education Association said the walkout was over for it's members, it's not known if all the teachers will follow the union's lead.

Student learning at schools affected by the strike has been halted for almost two weeks at a critical time in the academic year when federal and state testing requirements need to be completed.

Updated 3:56 p.m.

At its peak, the walkout had more than 500,000 students out of school - about two-thirds of the state's student population.

After nine days of national attention, the statewide teacher walkout in Oklahoma appears to be coming to an end.

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"I'm not going to put a number on it because I've heard five different numbers in the last couple hours."

Trebor Worthen, a former House member and now a GOP campaign consultant, said the political winds have clearly shifted since 2016 and many incumbents are feeling the pressure. Even before districts closed and teachers headed to the Capitol to advocate April 2, lawmakers raised more than $447 million in taxes in order to fund permanent, average $6,100 raises for all classroom teachers.

Priests wants schools to continue to send smaller delegations to Oklahoma City each day to continue the lobbying effort.

Hime said he's been encouraging all superintendents to get talk with teachers and explain funding changes due to the walkout and their plan to go back to class.

Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, which represents educators in Oklahoma City, said the movement could shake up national politics.

Some schools were back in session today, including Moore.

While numerous teacher candidates were Democrats, some Republican educators also threw their hat in the ring against GOP incumbents they felt weren't supportive enough of public schools. The union is now asking for $25 million more. "This is was with rent and daycare, before even groceries and diapers and so we were living off of our credit cards for the longest time", Sheehan said. The legislature did not make any movement towards these demands on Wednesday.

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