Teacher pay raises are a good start, but it’s not enough

Oklahoma House members approved another teacher pay raise last week. HB 1780, which increases teacher pay by $1,200, passed unanimously and now heads to the Senate. This is good news for teachers, but a small raise will do little to address the conditions teachers have endured over the past decade.

Call or email your state representative and state senator and tell them that we need to increase classroom funding and restore school staffing and programs.  Share any personal stories you might have about how you or your children have been affected by chronic underfunding and cuts to education. Find your legislators here.

State aid to schools remains $165 million less than FY 2009, even as enrollment has grown by over 50,000 students.

Without a substantial increase in state aid, schools will be unable to reduce class sizes, hire additional school counselors, bring back art and music classes, or make other investments needed to revitalize our schools.

Oklahoma educators are being asked to do more with less, and until these conditions are improved, schools will continue to struggle to attract and retain well-trained teachers.

For tips on how to communicate with your legislator, visit our advocacy tipsheets.

To make Oklahoma a top ten state in education, we must pay our teachers what they deserve, but we must also adequately pay the support staff that ensure the safety and well-being of our children and we must ensure schools have the funds to hire enough staff. Lawmakers have the opportunity to meet that goal this session and Oklahomans should remind them to make classroom funding a top priority.

Published by Sabine Brown

Sabine Brown joined the Oklahoma Policy Institute as Housing Senior Policy Analyst in January 2022. She previously worked at OK Policy from January 2018 until September 2020 as the Outreach and Legislative Director, and earned a Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Oklahoma-Tulsa. Before joining OK Policy she served as the Oklahoma Chapter Leader for Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. Sabine also earned a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Health Science from the University of Oklahoma and was a physician assistant prior to discovering advocacy work. She grew up in Germany but has called Oklahoma home since 1998.