Teacher walkout still fresh in the memories of local educators
A year removed from the largest teacher walkout in Oklahoma history, local educators see progress, but admit much more needs to be done.
“I still think it’s kind of surreal,” said local middle school teacher Melissa Evon. “I’m still glad we did it. I look back and I’m proud of the time and effort Oklahoma educators took.”
After months of rhetoric and discussion, thousands of teachers from across the state walked out of the classroom on April 2, 2018. Most marched on the State Capitol — hoisting signs that read, “Thank a teacher,” “Help us help our kids” and many more calls on legislatures to restore funding. Years of cuts to education dating back to the 2008 economic collapse and recession created unsustainable circumstances that forced teachers to take matters into their own hands to demand change.
Year after year, the Oklahoma Legislature cut funding for public education. By 2018, funding had been reduced 28 percent since 2008 — not accounting for the increase in student numbers and inflation during that decade-long period. Gains made from the 1990 teacher strike, such as class size limits, had been reversed. Smaller school districts were forced to implement four-day weeks in order to save as much money as possible.