Oklahoma Rural, Urban Educators Disagree on School Needs
By JANELLE STECKLEIN, CNHI
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Even as they presented unified calls for increased funding, rural and urban educators had starkly different ideas of how to accomplish it, lawmakers said.
Teachers were allied in their calls for increased pay, additional classroom spending and reduced class sizes. Still, some lawmakers said they couldn’t help but notice some stark disagreement and mixed messages about how to solve those issues.
And as the walkout continued with little apparent legislative action, lawmakers said the divide appeared to be heightened by educators’ geographical and socioeconomic differences.
“The last two weeks, we almost had a civil war between the urban and the rural teachers,” said state Sen. Ron Sharp, R-Shawnee, a retired teacher and vice chair of his chamber’s education committee. “Your rural teachers, your rural superintendents began to realize this is turning into a battle of survival, and I don’t think they anticipated this.”