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Signs you never saw at a Trump rally, part CCLXIV


Oklahoma teachers walked out of schools on Monday to demand adequate funding for the state's schools, and they're still out today. The strike may be working -- the Oklahoma Senate will be taking up tax bill to provide more money for schools, possibly because the teachers have been occupying the statehouse for a week now, and at this rate, members of the Lege might have to learn something. Reuters reports,

The Oklahoma package includes a $20 million internet sales tax, a hotel tax hike expected to generate about another $50 million and a gambling measure that could bring in about another $22 million.

Considering Oklahoma has spent well over a decade ignoring school funding -- and is constrained from fixing that by an incredibly stupid law requiring a 3/4 supermajority in both houses to raise any taxes -- we'd call it a good start. As the Reuters piece notes, from 2008 to 2018, Oklahoma's inflation-adjusted, per-student spending on schools dropped a whopping 28.2 percent. That's the biggest school-funding drop of any state, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, so for once, education officials in Mississippi can rejoice "Thank God for Oklahoma!"

Needless to say, those cuts have had a few effects; about a fifth of Oklahoma schools are trying to save money by being open just four days a week, badly shorting kids on their education. Oklahoma teachers have taken to sharing photos of student desks with jagged, broken seats, and of class sets of textbooks that look like these:

Those literature textbooks were published in 2007 -- when teacher Sarah Jane Scarberry's current class of 9th-graders were two years old. One of the many, many replies to another pic of tattered textbooks on Twitter said

Pretty sure that one in the middle is the exact one I used when I was in HS in Oklahoma…30 years ago. The Oklahoma history book we used in the late 80s was published in 1956. Wonder if they have updated it.

Hey, it's only literature. It's not like anything worthwhile has been written lately. Though maybe having books with all their pages might be a thing. Other pics shared by teachers included a coverless high school history book which listed the current president as George W. Bush.

As we mentioned last week, before the teachers walked, the Lege had voted to give them a $6,000 raise over three years, the first teacher raise in a decade. But that was well short of the $10,000 the teachers had asked for, and -- critically -- didn't include a raise for school support staff or any new funding for the falling-apart schools. Not even to get all schools back to a 5-day-week. To their credit, the teachers are holding out for giving Oklahoma kids an education that isn't 50th-rate.

It's unclear whether the Senate bill to raise some taxes will actually pass, or whether it will emerge in a final form that will be ready to go straight to Gov. Mary Fallin, or back to the House for a conference committee. It's not even certain Fallin would sign any such bill, since earlier this week she complained the striking teachers' demand for adequate school funding was "like kind of having a teenage kid that wants a better car."

Or if you want a better analogy, the teachers are like a teenager who looks blankly at you when you expect gratitude for giving them the keys to the burnt-out, wheelless husk of an '86 Sedan de Ville and you say, "What? It's a Cadillac!"

Teachers -- who are getting pretty damn sassy since West Virginia, Crom bless them! -- followed Fallin around the Capitol Wednesday, jingling their keys and chanting "WHERE'S MY CAR?!"

Hmmm. Actually, Fallin may have been more right than she meant to be -- as lots of parents know, very persistent teenagers can be mighty persuasive. Especially when you know they're right and they've caught you being a big ol' jerk.

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[Reuters / Image via Oklahoma Education Association on Facebook]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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