Dynamic teacher strikes
With a 177km journey from Tulsa to Oklahoma City in the US, thousands of grade school and high school teachers rose on Wednesday and Thursday on strikes and other polymorphous vocal protests that began in recent days claiming an increase in federal and state resources for public schools, the purchase of new school books, the modernization of logistics and better wages.
The teacher protests come as an answer to the multiple decreases of public resources for Education, to the devaluation of public schools and to the impoverishment of the educational and administrative personnel. Their problems didn’t start with the economical crisis in 2008, as it has been calculated, that their income has been decreased on the average of 15% during the last 25 years. Moreover, it has been estimated that in the past 10 years the public resources for Education have been decreased in most states by almost 28%.
In any case, the situation of teachers in Oklahoma that have the lowest salaries of all states in the country is such that many are forced to work two or three jobs (such as occasional drivers, waiters, clerks at gas stations, grocery stores etc.) in order to survive. In most schools, textbooks are in miserable condition and haven’t been replaced for over 20 years. Even so, however, books are not enough for all students who usually fill the classes. Even simple photocopier paper is in most cases missing, where the limit for a class of 35 students is 30 pages… a week.
Strikes, protests and demonstrations have been launched in the last few days by thousands of teachers in Kentucky as well, where teachers also earn the lowest wages in the US. Thousands of teachers in Arizona, who have resented the many years of devaluation of the public school, have been struggling in the fight against both the government of current President Donald Trump, who has put billionaire Betsy DeVos on the wheel of the Department of Education, and the previous governments of Barack Obama. However, all teachers in Oklahoma, Kentucky and Arizona admit that they would not start the struggle for a better school if they did not have the way opened by the live example of their colleagues in West Virginia who after nine days of mass strike managed to seize, after many years, salary increases of 5% and increase of state resources in Education…