DeVos rips Oklahoma teachers over strike: ‘Serve the students’

Teachers and other supporters rally outside the state

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos criticized Oklahoma teachers who are on strike over school funding cuts, telling them to “serve the students,” according to the Dallas Morning News.

“I think about the kids,” DeVos said last week while touring a Dallas middle school. “I think we need to stay focused on what’s right for kids. And I hope that adults would keep adult disagreements and disputes in a separate place, and serve the students that are there to be served.”

More than 55 of the state’s school districts are closed as the walkout extends into a second week on Monday.

The Oklahoma state Senate approved last week a series of tax increases to help fund the education system. However, teachers have vowed to stay on strike until they see pay raises.

Last week, Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin (R) signed a measure that raised teachers’ salaries by $6,100. She also added $50 million to school funding, though teachers were asking for $200 million more.

Strike participants are asking for a $10,000 raise over three years and a $5,000 raise for support staff.

Oklahoma teachers have an average salary of $42,460, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, placing them at 48th in average U.S. classroom teacher salary.

Fallin also last week compared the teachers to “a teenager wanting a better car.”




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