Watch a Striking Oklahoma Teacher Explain Exactly How Pathetic School Funding Has Become
Education funding levels are reaching disturbing lows in many states, and they're part of the reason teachers strikes are popping up across the country.
Oklahoma teacher Allyson Kubat explained to CNN on Monday why so many educators are taking to the streets.
"We've got to see the funding back in the classrooms," she said. "My public speaking textbooks talk about going to your librarian so they can talk to you about this new thing called 'the internet.' And how to look up information on 'microfiche.'"
She continued: "I need new textbooks; I'm not the only one. I know my English teacher friends are buying their own novels."
Kubat is absolutely right. Cuts to education have been drastic and pervasive.
"Most states cut school funding after the recession hit, and it took years for states to restore their funding to pre-recession levels," explains the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. "In 2015, the latest year for which comprehensive spending data are available from the U.S. Census Bureau, 29 states were still providing less total school funding per student than they were in 2008."
Teachers in West Virginia already made big gains after they went on strike last month. Thousands protested at state capitals in Oklahoma and Kentucky on Monday. Last week, teachers in Arizona were marching, and educators and Alaska and New Mexico could be next, NPR reports.
Lawmakers—especially conservative legislatures in these mostly Republican-leaning states—should be worried about the growing demands of unions. As the economy has gotten stronger, more and more workers are realizing that they aren't seeing the gains. Incumbent politicians may feel their wrath.
"I would like to hear just messages of a support, I think, from all levels, including President Trump. Lip service, though, is not enough," said Kubat. "It's nice to hear words of support, and it's nice to hear that people are pro-teacher. But I think what we really need is action."
Watch her remarks below:
Our textbooks are so outdated they "talk about going to your local librarian so they can talk to you about this new thing called the Internet," says Oklahoma teacher Allyson Kubat, who's rallying with thousands of educators for increased school funding https://t.co/pB0mGjPae3 pic.twitter.com/FD8Fd4ikiB— CNN Newsroom (@CNNnewsroom) April 2, 2018