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2018 teacher walkout

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In this episode of Capitol Insider, Dr. Michael Crespin of the University of Oklahoma joins KGOU’s Dick Pryor and eCapitol’s Shawn Ashley to discuss new research on why some legislators refuse to compromise.

Rep. Bobby Cleveland, left, and Sherrie Conley, right.
Oklahoma House of Representatives / Provided

Tuesday is Oklahoma’s primary runoff election and in House District 20, an educator is campaigning to oust Republican incumbent Bobby Cleveland, who’s held the seat for six years.

Students enter Lexington Elementary School on April 13 after the school was closed for nine school days during the teacher walkout.
Whitney Bryen / Oklahoma Watch

The latest counts of emergency certified teachers in Oklahoma capture a stubborn reality: Classrooms across the state are being staffed by a teacher who isn’t fully trained or prepared.

"I Voted" stickers are seen at Oklahoma County Election Commission offices.
Whitney Bryen / Oklahoma Watch

If there is one thing clear about Tuesday’s primary runoff election, it’s that voters and observers are in for a record level of suspense.

Brody Smith is an incoming junior at Noble High School.
Mia Mamone / KGOU

Danica Thompson settles into a couch in the back of Gray Owl Coffee in Norman, where patrons tap away on laptops or read books, surrounded by the smell of freshly-brewed coffee and pastries.

Ainsley Hoover, a teacher in Enid Public Schools, says the nine-day teacher walkout helped her realized that she has to stay politically engaged if she wants change.
Emily Wendler / StateImpact Oklahoma

On the night of the primary elections, Ainsley Hoover was at a small watch party at the Chili’s restaurant in Enid. She had helped her friend, a fellow teacher, campaign for House District 41,  and they were anxiously awaiting the results.


Emily Wendler / StateImpact Oklahoma

When the Oklahoma Legislature passed HB 1010XX in March, it was the first time lawmakers had increased state taxes in 28 years. Both the House and the Senate applauded themselves.

The governor acted swiftly to sign the bill, and at first, it seemed like a reason for school leaders to celebrate. They had been begging lawmakers to increase teacher pay for years, and it finally happened.


The Oklahoma Judicial Center houses the state Supreme Court, the Court of Criminal Appeals and the Administrative Office of the Courts.
Trevor Brown / Oklahoma Watch

The Oklahoma Supreme Court heard arguments Monday on a pair of lawsuits to stop an effort to repeal tax increases that helped pay for the historic teacher pay package.

At stake is whether Oklahoma Taxpayers Unite!, a group led by former U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn, can continue collecting signatures to ask voters to nullify the nearly $450 million revenue-raising bill passed by the Legislature earlier this year.

Jacob McCleland / KGOU

Deborah Gist cried as she stepped across the small stage in front the Oklahoma State Capitol. The Superintendent of Tulsa Public Schools and a group of educators had just finished a 110-mile walk from Tulsa to Oklahoma City to highlight their fight for more school funding.