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OEA President: Legislature's 'movement' is good, but teachers need more

Supporters pack the Capitol rotunda April 5 in support of Oklahoma education. (Courtesy DPS)

The teacher walkout enters its fourth day Thursday with no real end in sight.

The Oklahoma House passed legislation Wednesday evening taxing online sales that will hopefully raise around $20 million annually for education. Oklahoma Education Association President Alicia Priest says the move is a good step in the right direction.

"There's movement, which is good," said Priest on Good Day OK Thursday morning. "So we'll see how everybody reacts today with the Senate. I'm trying to get ball-and-dice on and pass the bill that went through the House yesterday."

The head of the OEA also addressed reports from the Okahoma Department of Public Safety that "outside groups" had infiltrated the rallies. Priest says she's been in constant contact with DPS and that the other protesters haven't impacted the teachers.

"They've tried to take over a microphone a couple of times inside the capitol, but everything has run smoothly so far," said Priest. "None of our people are paid to be there. We're just teachers, support professionals and community members speaking out for the kids."

Priest also discussed controversial comments made by lawmakers this week from Representative Kevin McDugle's Facebook video to Governor Mary Fallin telling the press teacher demands were like "a teenage kid that wants a better car.”

"Emotions are high. It's tough," said Priest. "They've never had 30, 40 thousand people at the Capitol expressing their opinions as passionately as some of our members do. So, we're going to take this day by day with grace, believe in the good of people and work through this in that manner."

See Priest's full interview here:

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