Teacher Strikes and Education Cuts: Brought to You By Republican Governors Everywhere

Teachers in KY, AZ, OK Demand More Support for Schools

This week, educators in Oklahoma, Arizona, and Kentucky are attracting national attention with public demonstrations demanding more support for their schools. The states all suffer from chronically underfunded education systems that force their teachers to provide their own school supplies, take second jobs, switch to four-day school weeks, or even flee the state altogether.

These states all have another thing in common: Republican governors.

Governors Mary Fallin (R-OK), Doug Ducey (R-AZ), and Matt Bevin (R-KY) have all slashed funding for education and are largely to blame for the poor conditions that are pushing teachers to the brink. And rather than working with educators to find a solution, they’ve deflected responsibility and attacked their critics.

When Ducey was confronted with the fact that Arizona teacher pay ranks well below the national average, the governor refused to believe the statistics:

Ducey disputed figures from the Morrison Institute that put salaries for elementary school teachers last when considering the cost of living, with high school teachers at No. 49. Instead, he says Arizona is just 43rd in the nation.

“I’m not bragging on 43rd,” the governor said. “I’m just saying we’re not last.”

Governor Fallin granted the schools some emergency funds, but for many teachers, it was too little too late. Her response? Say thank you and shut up:

“I hope that they can come up here, say ‘thank you’ on Monday and go back to the classrooms,”Fallin said.

In Kentucky, Governor Bevin attacked teachers as “selfish and short-sighted” for protesting cuts to their benefits:

“It’s about just straight up wanting more than your fair share,” Bevin said. “This is a group of people just throwing a temper tantrum.”

These aren’t the only states with education problems created by a Republican governor. West Virginia, under Governor Jim Justice, and Kansas, under Governors Sam Brownback and Jeff Colyer, made national headlines for their own education woes.

“Across America, Republican governors are feeling the consequences of their record of slashing school funding,” said DGA Communications Director Jared Leopold. “Doug Ducey, Mary Fallin, and Matt Bevin have neglected schools and teachers for too long. Students in these states deserve better than the failed education policies of these Republican governors.”