Statewide teacher strike gains momentum
TULSA, Okla. (KTUL) - Whether you call it a strike, walkout, shutdown or suspension -- Oklahoma teachers are getting serious about it.
Will it happen again? A teacher walkout just like the one from 1990?
"The idea that a strike might happen has always been a question mark. That question mark has been removed with an exclamation point," said Edison High School teacher Larry Cagle. "We will be striking."
Frustration with the Oklahoma Legislature is at a boiling point; now, educators from across the state are putting a statewide strike in motion.
"This needs to be a historic movement across the state of everybody who's concerned about education, all acting at once," said Booker T. Washington High School teacher John Waldron.
That also includes parents, many of them supporting the cause.
"I'm backing the teachers who want to take the time to strike," said parent Jeff Turner. "I know a strike is drastic, but this is desperate times."
"I'm disappointed that it's gotten this bad, "said parent Shawna Gehres. "I still support the strike. It's time for a change."
The big question is: When will this strike happen? Some teachers have tossed up the idea of the first week of April, which is when standardized testing takes place. Right now, they’re working on getting everyone on the same page.
"We have fractions of school districts talking independently, which is good, but if this is going to work, we have to do this together," said Cagle. "There is no time for us to sit around and say, 'Maybe.' No, maybe is over."
There will be another teacher gathering Wednesday in Oklahoma City, where teachers will narrow in on a final date for a strike. That date will be announced Friday.
There's a new Facebook group called "Oklahoma Teacher Walkout – The Time is Now," which was created just a couple days ago and has gained more than 40,000 supporters.