A weeks-long mobilization in Oklahoma resulted in teachers striking across the state on Monday, with tens of thousands of educators and supporters rallying at the State Capitol in Oklahoma City to demand more funding for schools and higher wages for teachers.
Organizers planned to speak with state lawmakers about how decades of funding cuts have affected their schools—and why a bill passed in the legislature last week that would raise taxes on oil and gas production to give teachers a $6,100 raise and allot $50 million for school funding was not enough to stop the protest.
Oklahoma Education Association (OEA) president Alicia Priest told CNN the package was “a good starting point,” but said teachers see it as a last-ditch effort by lawmakers to keep the strike from happening and not a genuine attempt to improve schools.
The OEA is demanding a $200 million funding bill for schools, and a $10,000 raise for teachers over the next three years.
Also on Monday, a strike in Kentucky over changes to teachers’ pension plans continued, with educators traveling from across the state to the State Capitol in Frankfort. Most schools were closed for spring break, with teachers and supporters using their time off to protest—while 21 counties’s schools closed for the strike.
Teachers in Arizona held a demonstration in Phoenix last week—also hoping to draw attention to per-student funding, which was cut by more than 36 percent from 2008 to 2015.
In all the states where teachers have been voicing their dissatisfaction, lawmakers have spent decades handing out tax cuts to corporations while cutting funding for schools and leaving teachers with stagnant wages.
“After ten long years in a lot of these conservative states, the chicken is finally coming home to roost,” Lily Eskelsen Garcia, president of the National Education Association, told the Huffington Post. “They’ve given tax breaks to big corporations, defunded public schools, and said, ‘What could go wrong?'”
U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders invaded U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell’s home state Sunday night to lambaste the Senate majority leader’s plan to replace the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.
Sanders, an independent from Vermont who ran unsuccessfully for president last year, told about 2,100 people at a free “Care Not Cuts Rally” at the Northern Kentucky Convention Center that states like Kentucky that voted for President Trump and other Republicans will be punished the most by the McConnell plan.
In his 46-minute speech in Covington, Sanders, 75, said he is not the only one calling for the defeat of the GOP plan.
He noted that the AARP, the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association, March of Dimes and the American Nurses Association are among the medical groups opposing the bill.
Sander said, “I don’t get it” why McConnell opposes the current law, which has reduced the uninsured rate for adults in Kentucky from 20.4 percent in 2013 to just 7.8 percent in 2016 — the largest reduction in America.
Today, as a result of the ACA, only 4 percent of children in Kentucky are uninsured, said Sanders.
The video of the KY rally that includes all the speakers as well the one of the Morgantown rally are in the comments followed by the rest of the weekend news I am catching up on. See you there!
More news/videos/etc. in the comments.
Good morning friends! All the Bernie-centric news will go here and then I’ll put up an open thread for everything else!
Starting off with Bernie in Louisville and the rest will go in the comments:
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders packed Louisville’s Palace Theater Tuesday night during a campaign-style rally intended to unify and rebuild the Democratic Party after last year’s elections.
“We need to make the Democratic Party not just the party of the east coast and the west coast, but the party for all 50 states,” Sanders said.
The event was part of a speaking tour through conservative states across the country with the new chair of the Democratic Party, Tom Perez.
Sanders echoed promises he made during his presidential campaign last year — proposals to raise the minimum wage, make public colleges tuition-free, close the pay-gap between men and women and raise taxes on the wealthy and corporations.
He also called for a “Medicaid for all, single-payer system” and criticized Republicans for attempting to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
“You don’t need a Ph.D. in economics to know that it is immoral and bad economics to support legislation that would throw hundreds of thousands of Kentuckians off of the health care that they have — would do serious damage to the economy here,” Sanders said.
(Bernie Starts around the 1 hour 11 minute mark)
More news, video, etc in the comments.
(pic from Timothy D. Easley – AP) Protests today in Kentucky by union members and union officials, but the vote went against them with the measure that the protestors fear will hurt them being adopted. https://www.facebook.com/jadammaguire/videos/10207926316663562/ This feisty girl got herself thrown out after shouting out that the GOP “hates labor”: And I'd do it again tomorrow. #GOPHatesLabor and don't let anyone tell u anything else #kyga17 https://t.co/A0KjAmNp7N — “That” Nema (@nema) January 7, 2017 “These are just union-busting bills. They’re not going to improve the economy any. They just bust up the unions and make it harder … Continue reading →