And it’s very much a problem in Oklahoma: Chronic teacher absenteeism is an astounding 20 percent in Oklahoma’s public schools.
To make matters worse, some Tulsa public school teachers recently decided to ditch their students in order to make a political point. “Some teachers a few weeks ago decided to sick-out in unison, and it caused 50 teachers between Edison and Booker T. to be absent on the same day, making it very difficult for administrators to handle the class," says Larry Cagle, an English teacher at Tulsa Edison.
"Those students ended up having to sit in auditoriums with one person overseeing 3, 4, 5 classes at a time, which was the intended goal."
Other types of protests are planned, he says.
- Oklahoma Watch wonders if a teacher strike is imminent in the state. If it is, and if it results in a $5,000 pay raise for teachers, economist Byron Schlomach says that would move Oklahoma to 15th in average cost-of-living-adjusted teacher pay.
- The group Oklahoma Teachers United reports that "Sand Springs High School joins the protest!!! 20 teachers out sick on one day. Fund our schools and pay our teachers. Hear us loud and clear, we are united and we will not back down."
- KTUL reports that "public schools seem unwilling to acknowledge teacher protests."
- KJRH reports that "on Friday, a handful of Kiefer High School students walked out of class. The reason was higher pay for teachers. 'Teachers really didn’t say anything, they just let them,' Kiefer High School freshman Bailey Capehart said. ... Just days ago in Tulsa, Edison Preparatory School students walked out of class after lawmakers didn’t pass a bill that would raise taxes and ultimately raise salaries."
- The Tulsa World reports that teacher walkouts in Oklahoma public schools are under consideration.