Yesterday, tens of thousands of public school teachers from across the state of Oklahoma skipped school to protest stagnant teacher salaries and insufficient funding for school resources, such as critical school supplies.
Teachers are not only calling for raises, but also asking for a $200 million increase in the state’s education budget over the next three years — and for good reason.
Photos of textbooks posted online by teachers, students, and parents show the tattered, worn, and outdated materials in the cash-strapped school system. Some textbooks are missing covers. Others are falling apart at the seams. History books lack critical information.
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“This is a textbook from my daughter’s class. It’s a history book and the current President in it is George W. Bush,” one parent wrote on Twitter. “We can do better, Oklahoma.”
One of the reasons it’s not over yet...This is a textbook from my daughter’s class. It’s a history book and the current President in it is George W. Bush. We can do better Oklahoma. #OklahomaTeacherWalkout#oklaed#oklaleg@gophouseok@oksenategop@firstname.lastname@example.org/F5FE3JcFQh— Jamie (@jamiebh73) March 30, 2018
Another Twitter posted a picture of a stack of literature textbooks that appear to be falling apart, writing: “50th in Funding is NOT OK.”
50th in Funding is NOT OK. #okleg#OKwalk4kids#OklaEd#oklahomateacherwalkoutpic.twitter.com/Y9KzYhzSTl— OK Teacher Fan (@Ginnnae) April 2, 2018
According to Education Week, Oklahoma was the fourth worst state in the US for educational achievement — beating out only Nevada, New Mexico, and Mississippi when ranked on a number of indicators.
“While I’m disappointed by Oklahoma’s overall Quality Counts grade, I am not surprised, given the teacher shortage and budget crisis our state is facing,” state superintendent Joy Hofmeister told Tulsa World of the state’s ranking.
Two Oklahoma teachers shared these photos w/ me. Their students use these textbooks. It blows my mind. pic.twitter.com/kF6Azdlgy4— Alexia Campbell (@AlexiaCampbell) April 2, 2018
NOT OKlahoma! Current public school text book dated 2008 and torn to pieces. 🤭 #oklahomateacherwalkoutpic.twitter.com/M6QwaNuwq9— Mason (@Mason_Lounge) April 2, 2018
I'm taking AP European History and this is what info our textbooks contain. Someone wrote in the most recent presidents. They have Tony Blair as the most recent PM. How am I supposed to get a 5 on the AP test with outdated info?#oklaed#oklahomateacherwalkout#oklaedwalkoutpic.twitter.com/e016Xv7hu6— gwen h (@book_nerd31) April 2, 2018
Read More: This Is Why Oklahoma Teachers Are Ditching Their Classrooms Today
Overall, the US received a “C” in the Education Week report. This poor grade falls in line with other international rankings that consistently show US academic achievement lagging behind that of other developed countries.
Global Citizen campaigns on the Global Goals for Sustainable Development, and quality education is goal number four. This includes providing “safe, non-violent, inclusive and effective learning environments for all.” You can join us and call on US leaders to fund the Global Partnership for Education here.
Achieving this goal will require that teachers have adequate supplies with which to create effective learning environments.
In the US, states like Oklahoma, West Virginia, and Kentucky, are taking the lead in this fight — and for students across the country, it’s a battle that could have long-lasting implications.