Oklahoma City school teachers still in favor of walkout

Brandon Martin


Heidi Nead, a teacher at Capitol Hill Elementary school, discusses the need to continue the walkout at Northeast High School in Oklahoma City on April 12, 2018.



Though the Oklahoma teacher’s largest union announced the walkout has ended after nine days, many teachers remained in support of the teachers involved.

At a board meeting at Northeast High School in Oklahoma City on April 12, many teachers voiced their concern about ending the walkout, feeling that it would be a waste of time now if the walkout concluded.

Oklahoma City Public Schools (OKCPS) was closed April 13 and are set to vote on whether the teachers will return to the classroom starting Monday. OKCPS is scheduled to have their final day of school on May 31 after the duration of the walkout – a date that could still change depending on what they decide to do with the walkout.

Despite the possibility of adding more days onto the school year, many Oklahoma City teachers were not ready to quit on the walkout.

At the board meeting on April 13, 18 people signed up and spoke during the public comments section of the meeting. Among the 18, several of them spoke of their willingness to continue the walkout and the impact that it has had to this point.

“We are not done,” said Cherry Mays, a pre-K teacher at Cesar Chavez Elementary in Oklahoma City, to the board members at the meeting. “We need to continue what we started, so that we can get the funding that we need to get smaller class sizes and other programs that the students need.”

The statement made by Mays echoed that of the teachers who marched at the Capitol for the previous two weeks. Other than the pay raise from House Bill 1010XX, the walkout has been more about funding and getting appropriate class sizes for students in Oklahoma classrooms.

Moore, Norman, Sand Springs, Bartlesville and many other public schools have already re-opened this week, or are slated to re-open after this week. Despite these schools opening, Oklahoma City school teachers remained unwilling to cease the walkout.

“We need better working, learning conditions for our students,” explained Heidi Nead, with Capitol Hill elementary in Oklahoma City, to the members of the board. “I want my kids to be able to sit in my classroom and not have a screw poke up and hit them in the leg and hurt them. I want Oklahoma teachers to know what we did last week was not in vain.

Nead finished her speech with a message for Oklahoma legislators: “Shame on you, remember November.”

Nead’s remarks were in reference to Oklahoma teachers believing that the November election in Oklahoma will change the way funding is handled in Oklahoma. A message that was repeated by a number of teachers at the Capitol throughout the walkout and again at the board meeting in Oklahoma City.

The Oklahoma Education Association put an end to the walkout by resuming classes this week and some next week, but the fight from the teachers is anything but over.

“This walkout is 20 years too late,” said Heidi Jackson, with Cesar Chavez Elementary. when expressing her opinion of the walkout. “I urge you to continue your support. If we are not at the Capitol next week, we are not going to be able to keep the pressure on the legislators to do what is right. They are finally starting to see that they have opponents who are going to face them.”