Oklahoma teachers illustrate needs for more funding on day two of walkout

Jackson Sharp

Oklahoma educators from across the state gathered at the Oklahoma State Capitol for day two of the teacher walkout Tuesday. Protestors came with signs to get their messages to state legislators. / Jackson Sharp

Oklahoma educators gathered at the Oklahoma State Capitol for the second day of the teacher walkout on April 3. They assembled to tell legislators why they believe public education deserves more state funding.

The walkout has not been just about advocating for teacher pay raises, said Susan Rodgers, an information technology teacher at Sapulpa High School.

“It’s about making sure that our classroom size stays at a doable size, and we need our resources,” Rodgers said.

Due to lack of funding, Rodgers’ classroom has been left with damaged furniture, and textbooks so old that students have found their parents names written in them, she said.

Ceretta Bridges, a fifth grade teacher at Bodine Elementary School in south Oklahoma City, dressed as an inmate to get her message across.

“Fund education now or fund incarceration later,” Bridges’ picket sign read.

Bridges, who won Teacher of the Year for her district in 2016, explained how she has to keep student desks taped together to keep them from falling apart.

Susan Nickel, an art teacher from Seminole, Oklahoma, traveled to the Capitol to ask for more money for her students. Her overcrowded classroom has been housed in a temporary building and supplies are hard to come by, she said.

“We have no money unless we fundraise,” Nickel said. “Every teacher in our district fundraisers for money.”

The state-wide walkout began on April 2 and many teachers are planning on returning for a third day on April 4.

Ceretta Bridges, a fifth grade teacher, dressed as an inmate to send her message to state legislators during the Oklahoma teacher walkout at the Oklahoma State Capitol on Tuesday. Bridges teaches at Bodine Elementary in south Oklahoma City. / Jackson Sharp