'Work to Contract' teacher protest at Carnegie results in cancellation of student art show
TULSA, Okla. (KTUL) – Students at Carnegie Elementary are starting to feel the brunt of teachers only working their contracted hours. Their annual school-wide art show was canceled.
Becky Dukes, the school’s art teacher said it takes hours of teachers’ time outside of their normal school-contracted hours to get ready for the art show. She said she works year-round to make sure it happens.
“I come every day during the summer, the custodians let me in, and I prep the artwork by trimming it, and matting it and labeling it,” Dukes said. “All the teachers volunteer their time. They come up on their own; they set up on their own and it takes a lot of time to set up. If we’re going to work our contract, it wasn’t possible to do the art show.”
Dukes said she had no choice but to cancel it.
“I care about them, and I want them to have a good education, so in order for that to happen, the teachers of Oklahoma have to make a bold, big move and unfortunately, it hurts them in the short run, but hopefully, they’ll gain a lot in the long run,” Dukes said.
“It’s sad because it’s our last year here, and then, we don’t get to do an art show,” said Lauren Flinton, a fifth grader at Carnegie.
Brooklyn Nerio is also a fifth grader. She said she understands why teachers have to do this.
“They work really hard for us every day, and they’ll go home and do all of this stuff that they shouldn’t have to be doing just for us,” Nerio said.
The art show was set for March 27, but the “Work to Contract” protest is supposed to last the entire month of March.
Dukes said with testing at the beginning of April and the district art show, there is no time to reschedule their school-wide show.