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Oklahoma Republicans refuse to bow to teachers' demands


Classes remain canceled in Oklahoma's biggest school districts Tuesday as teachers walk out for a seventh day.

Teachers are urging lawmakers to pass new legislation, arguing that schools in the state need more funding.

"Our students need us to show up for them in classrooms and schools", the group posted on Facebook over the weekend. "Everything is in their corner".

The protests in Oklahoma come about a month after West Virginia teachers won a huge victory, forcing their state's House of Delegates and Senate to unanimously approve a bill awarding all state employees, including teachers and school staff, a 5 percent pay increase.

On Sunday at the First Christian church of Chandler, some of the striking Oklahoma teachers went to a special service.

An Oklahoma middle school teacher has been arrested for raping one of her students, officials said.

Oklahoma schools are closed again today for an eighth straight school day, as teachers continue to protest low teacher pay and skimpy funding. CNN reported yesterday that the teacher movement is "gaining momentum".

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But many lawmakers say that money won't flow to schools until next year because the governor has already approved the education budget.

Fallin, a lame-duck governor in her final year, has had scant success in recent years pushing her agenda, despite overwhelming GOP majorities in both chambers. "Fighting the fight to get more funding", said Kristy Cooper, a Mid-Del teacher.

Thousands of teachers marched the 14 miles from the Oklahoma City suburb of Edmond to the state capitol Monday, while a delegation of teachers from Tulsa continued their 110-mile trek to the capitol.

Now, the teachers union has laid out two new demands to end the walkout.

State officials say Hoffman and her husband drove to the Clinton Police Department on Saturday, where she confessed to having a sexual relationship with one of her 15-year-old students. Supporters of the bill said the changes are necessary to save the state's pension systems. "And, I think they'll be surprised because we're teachers, we're patient people".

"We stand united. We fight, and they're not going to divide us", said Sharita Stalnaker, an Edmond teacher. She said the strike will continue until the state increases funding for basic needs such as textbooks, supplies, chairs and desks.

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