Kentucky teachers rally at Capitol over state budget

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The teachers have ditched their classrooms to rally instead at the state capitols of the two states on Monday to demand for improved funding from lawmakers. Band teachers can ask for instruments; science teachers can ask for lab equipment; kindergarten teacher can ask for craft supplies - one teacher even asked for help raising money to take her environmental science class on a field trip to the Grand Canyon.

The Oklahoma protest shut down public schools across the state, and teachers vowed to remain on the picket line until their demands are met.

Kentucky residents would pay a 6 percent sales tax on services including landscaping, janitorial, pet care for small animals, golf courses and country clubs, dry cleaning and fitness and recreational sports centers.

Given North Carolina laws, the state's K-12 teachers aren't planning their own walkouts, according to N.C. Association of Educators (NCAE) President Mark Jewell, whose organization lobbies for the public school agenda at the N.C. General Assembly.

Educators in West Virginia and Oklahoma are lobbying for more pay while Kentucky's teachers are fighting proposed changes to their pensions plans.

THE DETERMINATION of Oklahoma teachers is a product of the terrible conditions they face, along with the public education system in general. "We are the only unified protest group", he says. This is still an anti-tax state in many ways, but even the most conservative parts of Oklahoma have been hit hard by school funding cuts, especially in rural communities.

But teachers and their supporters say more funding is needed, and they're using the walkout to press lawmakers for additional funding. "That only hurts the kids". Piatt said she thought that was the right move because teachers have tried to make their voices heard during the session and with schools out, parents and others are starting to take notice.

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The education budget has been cut in recent years.

In Kentucky, teachers were incensed by surprise passage of a bill last week that mandates a hybrid pension plan with individual accounts for new hires.

One teacher's husband, James Deming, created a video demonstration comparing the teacher strike to that of a firefighter. The measure was enacted without public discussion by inserting language on pensions in an unrelated sewage-spending bill.

The Oklahoma Public Media Exchange's Jacob McCleland talked with Joseph Franco, a kindergarten teacher and middle school baseball coach at Santa Fe South in Oklahoma City. The bill fails to restore the billions in cuts by successive Republican and Democratic state governments over the past decade.

Thousands of teachers have been chanting outside the Capitol in Frankfort, Kentucky, for lawmakers to "stop the war on public education".

For him, that includes paying the full actuarial payment for the teacher retirement system for 2019-20, funding employee health insurance at the equivalent level payments are now, and for the state to fully fund Support Education Excellence in Kentucky, referred to as SEEK. Many school districts have moved to four-day school weeks because they can not afford to keep the lights on for five days. "We will remember this in November". Many of them said they were fed up with the lack of resources in their schools, and some said they were teaching students about science and technology with textbooks from the 1990s. We are hopeful an extended walkout can be avoided and we can get back to doing what we do best; providing a world-class education to every student who walks through our doors.

"There were days when I had more kids than chairs", he told NPR.

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