Legacy of teacher walkouts could be more political activism

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Teachers who staged successful walkouts to demand better pay and public school funding in several states last year are showing they’re intent on staying politically engaged.

Teacher unions in Oklahoma, Arizona, Kentucky and West Virginia report increases in membership, and many are recruiting candidates for 2020.

In Oklahoma, teachers ran for and won a number of seats in the Republican-led Legislature last year and have succeeded in getting the state to increase school funding and teacher pay.

Carri Hicks, a Democrat and former elementary school teacher who won what had been a Republican-held Oklahoma state Senate seat last year, says teacher delegations have been so common at the state Capitol on Tuesdays this year that she lovingly refers to them as “teacher Tuesdays.”

Concerned parents are also getting more politically active, with new Parent Legislative Action Committee chapters popping up in school districts throughout the state.

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