An Oklahoma teacher speaks on the Los Angeles educators strike
23 January 2019
“We support the LA teachers,” an Oklahoma biology teacher told the World Socialist Web Site, speaking for her coworkers in the Oklahoma public school system. Deini is a veteran of the two-week-long strike of educators last April which spread throughout the southwestern state—the first such walkout in over 25 years.
She said, “What I hear is [LA] teachers are upset and concerned about are the same things [we are]. Honestly, a small part is about teacher salary. This is not an educator’s biggest concern.
“Education is just underfunded. There are huge classrooms with 30-40 kids. We do our best, but the toll is taken on the kids. We’re trying to teach, but the students can’t find a place to sit in the classroom. In some districts, there are textbooks that are taped together.”
She solidarized herself with the struggle against Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent Austin Beutner’s plan for portfolio schools and growing privatization. “Always as a teacher I want every student out there to get an education. If you’re going to charter schools, is every student really going to get the same thing?” Deini asked.
Oklahoma has itself been a testing ground for the “portfolio model” of education with which Beutner, together with the pro-privatization Broad Foundation, is identified. With generous foundation funding earmarked for the purpose, Tulsa Public Schools has established a “director of portfolio management” to promote “partnerships” with charter schools. Likewise, the cash-strapped school districts in the state implemented the Gates Teacher Effectiveness Model (TLE) value-added teacher evaluations, A-F grading of schools and third-grade…