Oklahoma teachers meet on eve of union's demands for lawmakers

Teachers meet to discuss what they're looking for from lawmakers. (Mummolo/KTUL)

"The world is watching you," said Edison English teacher Larry Cagle.

Like a poster for a riveting movie, the sign out front, which read, 'Only the brave teach,' was just a preview of the drama unfolding inside.

"I, for one, have had it," said Cagle, preaching to the choir about teacher pay and rallying the flock for a possible strike.

"The pressure on Oklahoma and its legislators depends on how seriously you take our very next step," Cagle said.

"I'm ready to strike," said Edison English teacher Lisa Konieczka, who moved here from Michigan five years ago and has a running tally on the pay cut she took. "You know, if I've worked here five years, that's over $100,000 I've lost in earnings," she said.

"I feel the frustration level with the teachers has reached the boiling point," said Union math teacher Dennis Keeley, calculating the likelihood that state lawmakers will actually pass some sort of pay raise in the next three weeks before teachers are scheduled to go on strike.

"If history has shown us anything, with what's going to go on in the state legislature, it's not going to get done, and unfortunately, that's a sad feeling to have," Keeley said.

But don't expect teachers to be demonstrating alone at the capitol; students are doing their homework on how to participate, too.

"They're wanting to know logistics. They're wanting to know, 'What do we do? How do we get involved? When's it happening? Do we show up to school and walk out with you? Where do we go?'" said Booker T. Washington teacher Mathew Williams.

"We have power. We have power, now," said Cagle.

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