Fallin compares teachers to teenagers - KTEN.com - Texoma news, weather and sports

Fallin compares teachers to teenagers

Posted: Updated:
Students and teachers in McAlester protest during a visit by Gov. Mary Fallin. (KTEN) Students and teachers in McAlester protest during a visit by Gov. Mary Fallin. (KTEN)
Teachers begin a march from Tulsa to the State Capitol. (KJRH) Teachers begin a march from Tulsa to the State Capitol. (KJRH)

McALESTER, Okla. -- Many Oklahoma schools were closed for the third straight day Wednesday as teachers push for better pay and education funding.

Gov. Mary Fallin signed legislation last week granting teachers 15 to 18 percent salary increases.

In an interview with CBS News, Fallin said: "Teachers want more, but it's kind of like having a teenage kid that wants a better car."

The governor added that educators need to "rethink" their game plan. "The first priority should be educating our children," she said. " "Would they like to have more money? Absolutely, but a pretty hefty pay raise is spending $480 million new revenue dollars on education."

Fallin was greeted with signs and jeers from teachers and students in McAlester on Wednesday morning as she arrived to tour an aviation manufacturing firm. 

"I haven't had a new history book or math book in years... since like 2nd grade," McAlester High School senior Jake Rattan said.

"One of my friends ... took home her history book and her mom's name was in it... that's how old it was," another student said.

A third student explained that because there are no current textbooks, teachers are forced to go online and print them off.

"We ran out of copy paper my junior year," she said.

McAlester teacher Kelly Richards said the demonstration is all about supporting education. "A lot of people think this whole walkout is about teacher raises, and it goes so far beyond that," she said. "It makes me so proud to be part of this movement, because we know it's for them, and so we are standing up for them... but I am so proud to see them standing up for themselves and standing up for us as teachers."

The National Education Association says Oklahoma ranks 47th among states and the District of Columbia in public school revenue per student and Oklahoma's average teacher salaries ranked 49th before the raises.

In Tulsa, some Oklahoma educators and their supporters started a 110-mile march Wednesday to urge state lawmakers to increase funding for classrooms.

More than 100 people set out from Webster High School in Tulsa on Wednesday on the first leg of a seven-day trek to the state Capitol in Oklahoma City.

Marchers plan to hike about six hours to Kellyville High School about 18 miles (30 kilometers) away.

In Oklahoma City, a group of students rallied in front of the State Capitol Wednesday to support their striking teachers. Student speakers described tattered textbooks, malfunctioning computers and broken classroom furnishings and urged lawmakers to increase spending on their education.

Grace Fox, a junior at Edmond Memorial, says she speaks for many other students who crave knowledge but are shackled by the constraints of low education funding.

Ravi Patel, a senior at Southmoore High School, says public education in Oklahoma is as bad or worse than education in developing nations.

KTEN's Amelia Mugavero reported from McAlester; other content from The Associated Press

  • Submit a News Tip

    Do you have a news tip for KTEN?

    Begin by entering your email address in the field below or call 903-548-4010

    * denotes required fields
    We're sorry, but only one entry is allowed per person.
    Thank you for your continued interest.

    Your news tip has been submitted. If you provided contact information, we might use it to reach out to you if additional information is required.