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Oklahoma teachers end strike after earning donations and additional funding



Teachers had originally called for the repeal of a capital gains tax exemption that applies to wealthy individuals. Instead, many of the new taxes will be paid by average Oklahomans.

In order to finance the measures as well as some limited new revenue for schools, the Republican-controlled Legislature and Gov Mary Fallin introduced new or higher taxes on oil and gas production, tobacco, fuels and online sales. The state will also allow gaming with gambling that is taxed.

"The big profit was before the strike began," said Brent Bushey, executive director of the Resource Center of the Oklahoma Public School, which offers administrative services for small schools districts. "It's a short-term win, but I'm focusing on how to make this a long-term focus on education."

Gregg Garn, the Dean of the College of Education at the University of Oklahoma, said who won or lost is yet to be determined. "The teachers were clearly in a position to make good progress," he said. "In the long run, if candidates who support education are chosen, that will decide who won or lost."

Some teachers seemed ambivalent about stopping the strike.

"I do not want to say that I agree with 100 percent to stop this strike, but I understand," said Cory Williams, a teacher at George Washington Carver Middle School in Tulsa, on days of protests in the Capitol participated. "We're going to get to the point where there's an unstoppable force hitting an immovable object, it's hard to fight it without changing your tactics."

The recent wave of teacher protests shaking several conservative states , began this year in West Virginia, where lawmakers received a $ 2,000 salary increase. The outcome of the Oklahoma struggle has been watched carefully in Kentucky, where some school districts are closed on Friday as education finance teachers demonstrate, and in Arizona, where a teacher movement called #RedforEd raises and calls for more money for schools

In Arizona, Governor Doug Ducey, under pressure from teachers threatening a strike, announced on Thursday a plan to provide teachers with a pay raise by 2020, which should succeed without tax increases.

In Oklahoma, some simple educators expressed their displeasure in the social media that the union would dismiss the strikebreakers and discussed whether teachers could continue the work stoppage on their own.

Still, the new taxes in Oklahoma are a victory for teachers in a state that has been following some of the deepest tax cuts and tax cuts in the public sector over the last decade.

The oil and gas industry, long favored by the state, was disappointed among the groups by the new taxes.

Chad Warmington, president of the Oklahoma Oil & Gas Association, said the industry supports an increase in education funding but should not have borne the burden. He said that because oil and gas prices are volatile, the new production tax is "a crude thing for teachers" and points to other areas where taxes could have been levied.

"Oklahoma has canceled $ 1 billion in income tax," he said, pointing to some estimates of lost government revenues from cuts in recent years. But he added, "I do not think there is a political will to raise income tax."

Allies of industry could try to introduce a referendum on the reversal of the production tax.

As in West Virginia, grassroots teachers began the strike movement by organizing on Facebook, initially without much help from unions. The Oklahoma Education Association (Oklahoma Education Association) gave legislation to legislators by the end of April to provide new revenue or standoff, but teachers protested and urged the union to adopt a deadline of April 1st. In Oklahoma, union membership for teachers is optional. Nevertheless, the great rallies, marches and lobbying that developed around the strike would not have been possible without the muscles of state and national workers' organizations.

Parents also participated in protests. Lanae DeArman of Sulfur, Oklahoma, joined the strike of teachers in the Capitol and campaigned for their representatives to raise taxes to finance education. She had never been involved in politics before, she said, but the condition of her three children's schools-aging textbooks, broken furniture-drove her to action.

"It's gone too far," she said of the state's tax cuts. "You want to be able to keep what you do, but where is the line? Personally, I would be willing to pay a little more if that would provide adequate funding for our schools."

wife. DeArman said she wants to vote this year and will carefully examine the candidate's educational platforms.

Randi Weingarten, President of the American Federation of Teachers, who represents educators in Oklahoma City, said the move could disrupt national policy. "Many people in these states, including some of our teachers, have chosen Trump," she said. Now, she added, the unions hope to spread the message that conservative policies are leading to cuts in school budgets that teachers and parents have been protesting.

"The not so drowsy topic at this next election is public education," Weingarten said.

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