Oklahoma Teachers Hit Back Through Electoral System
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FEATURING KEVIN KUMASHIRO – Within months of Oklahoma’s public school teachers historic walkouts out over Republican-led austerity measures that impoverished them, teachers flocked to run for state-level office – and won big. In the state’s primary in late June, voter turnout was at a record high and of the 100 or so teachers and school administrators that ran for office, a whopping 55 made it past the primary races, unseating at least six incumbent Republicans.
An August 28th primary run-off will determine how many will make it to the November general elections. The teachers are buoyed by the political power they exercised to win wage concessions.
But the recent Supreme Court decision on the Janus Vs. AFSCME case, which was made on partisan lines, was a blow to public school teachers’ unions. Those educators who see the value in their union membership rallied in cities around the country after the ruling to say they’re sticking with their union rather than opting out of paying agency fees.
Kevin Kumashiro is the education correspondent for Rising Up With Sonali. He’s the former dean of the School of Education at the University of San Francisco, a leading expert on educational policy, school reform, teacher preparation, and educational equity and social justice.