Shut It Down, Teachers. Shut It All Down

Teachers in Oklahoma and Kentucky walked out today and marched on their respective state capitols because teachers are sick and fucking tired of education being treated like a frivolous extravagance by legislators instead of the foundation of a fucking decent society. Large swaths of this country decided long ago to dick over the school systems of their states in order to cut taxes on rich pukes, all in service of a rabidly corrupt conservative ideology that sees even public education as something that only takers get so, fuck it, gut it.

In Oklahoma, you know what the teachers want? They want their schools to not be shit shacks where they don't have basic supplies to do their damn jobs. They're not striking for just a pay increase, but because school funding has been declining for a decade. For years, all over the country, we've heard about how teachers pay for things for their students and the classroom because the school doesn't have the budget. Said one kindergarten teacher today, "I work two jobs to take care of my family and be able to buy things for my classroom. The school that I work at, parents aren't able to necessarily provide all of the supplies." One high school teacher said she wasn't taking this shit anymore: "As teachers, we make it work every day. They say do more with less, we make it work. They say more kids in your class, we make it work. We do it every day, and it's time that we don't have to make it work anymore. We need to demand that they fully fund us."

And it's awesome that students are joining them. One middle school student told a reporter in Oklahoma City today, "I'm tired of using the same textbooks that are broken all the time." He said that "his math book is held together by a string and his history book is missing pages." That's bullshit, and we should be ashamed in this country that a student can't have a decent damn book.

Spending per student in Oklahoma has dropped by 30 percent in the last 10 years, down to $8000, below the national average of over $11,000. Salaries dropped to 49th in the nation, and schools have had to cut things like art and music and physical education, some even cutting the week down to four days. Teachers haven't gotten a raise in a decade, either, so the raise they got makes up for a little of it.

You know what else Oklahoma did in the last ten years? Cut income taxes, with the top rate declining by over 25%, resulting in a loss of over $1 billion in revenue, $356 million of which would have gone to education, based on spending. And then the oil industry got fucked by the natural gas boom, with no real hope of it coming back. So, yeah, shit economic policy combined with idiots in the legislature and you get a fucked budget. When a budget is fucked, the first thing they come for are the schools.

So I am thrilled that teachers are finally exhausted from this shit and are standing up to the fucked politicians and the fucked laws that say they can't strike. Suck it, motherfuckers. Teachers are shuttin' shit down. It's about damn time.

Over in Frankfort, Kentucky, many of the marching teachers are using their spring break to tell the state's dumbass legislature that they fucked up hard when they changed the state's pension system in a way that cuts benefits, and they tucked the change into a bill on sewage systems, which is just a joke in itself. That led to a sick-out on Friday. Now the protests are focused on overall spending and the upcoming budget. If the shitheel legislators dick over the schools again, it could lead to a full-on wildcat strike.

With these two red states and an Arizona strike in the offing, we're seeing a legitimate uprising in a profession whose workforce is still mostly female. They are owed respect. That is shown through how they're treated and how they're paid. And the teachers are saying that the motherfuckin' bill is past due.