DeVos Attacks Striking Teachers
DeVos tells teachers to get back to work as they continue to fight for more school funding
Teachers in Oklahoma are in their second week on strike, fighting for more school funding and better wages. While they have gained support from their students, parents and even celebrities like Carrie Underwood the teachers seem to have gotten under the skin of the country’s top administrator Betsy DeVos.
DeVos, a longtime crusader against teachers unions, told the Dallas Morning News “I hope that adults would keep adult disagreements and disputes in a separate place, and serve the students that are there to be served.” This is not the first time that DeVos has demanded that teachers stop hurting their students. During the West Virginia teachers strike she issued a similar statement on Twitter claiming that students were being hurt by adults squabbles. While she blamed teachers, many educators and teachers union locals raised money to provide their students with free meals on the picket lines so that poor students would not have to worry about missing a meal that they would receive in school. In Oklahoma, teachers are conducting social studies classes on the lawn outside of the Capitol.
While DeVos might think that cutting $9 billion in federal funding for schools is serving the students of Oklahoma their teachers disagree and have shown that they are willing to put their livelihoods on the line to fight for their students. As UCOMM previously reported, teachers are not only on strike over wages. They are demanding more education funding to replace outdated books, chairs that falling apart, and buildings that are leaking.
Former Obama Education Secretary John King, someone who many teachers did not see as a friend to labor, also commented on the strike saying:
"If teachers can't be compensated to the level where they can afford to live and teach in this state, that's not just an adult issue, that's a student issue," King added. "If schools don't have adequate resources to provide textbooks, that's not an adult issue, that's a student issue. I'm inspired by their demand that the state make an investment in public education."
Teachers have vowed to stay on strike until all of the education funding is restored. Since 2008, funding per student has been cut by 28.2%, the most in the country. So far, the state legislature has only increased funding by 22%.