Governor Fallin issues press release after Day 1 of the teacher walkout

Tens of thousands of teachers planning massive rallies and classroom walkouts

The spending and taxing proposals cleared the Senate on Monday and went to the House, which was expected to vote on the measures later Monday.

"I honestly do want to say thank you for what they've done so far", said Marilyn Tate, a fifth-grade teacher at Putnam Heights Elementary. The movement began with job actions in West Virginia earlier this year.

In Oklahoma City, teachers rallied for the cause and forced the closure of about 200 schools in the state.

"They gave us the guts to stand up for ourselves", she said.

The state Capitol in Kentucky filled with teachers protesting pension changes Monday, and thousands of Oklahoma educators walked out of classrooms in the latest evidence of teacher rebellion in some Republican-led states over education cuts. Kentucky teachers are calling the changes in their pension plans a "bait-and-switch".

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Bevin, a Republican who has not announced whether he will sign the legislation, tweeted in support of the pension bill, saying public workers owe "a deep debt of gratitude" to lawmakers. Teachers in the state are not eligible for Social Security benefits.

In Kentucky, teachers were angered by the surprise passage of a bill last week that mandates a hybrid pension plan with individual retirement accounts for new hires.

A panoramic image captures a sense of the size of the teachers' walkout Monday, April 2, 2018, at the Oklahoma State Capitol.

"Those legislators who vote no on everything, what are their solutions, what are their ideas to fund public education?"

The Kentucky higher education spending would be funded by a 6 percent sales tax on a host of services that had previously been tax-free.

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Lawmakers in Oklahoma tried to prevent teachers from walking out last week, by passing a $6,100 salary increase. And some, including Governor Mary Fallin, hoped the raise would deter the looming strike.

"When our members believe the legislature has committed to funding our children's future, they will return to the classroom", the union said in a statement posted online, adding that teachers would decide each day how much longer to remain off the job. They have been trying to get raises for themselves and for school staff members, in addition to more funding for educational programs. Last week teachers in Arizona also rallied for more educational funding. I was very proud to join with leaders of both parties to sign the largest teacher pay increase in Oklahoma's history. It was the first new revenue bill to become law in Oklahoma in 28 years, bucking decades of tax-cut orthodoxy. The Louisville Courier Journal newspaper reported that schools were closed in all 120 of Kentucky's counties, 21 as a direct result of a protest rally that drew thousands of teachers to the capital.

Parents were also at the capitol to support teachers. "It really is a wildfire".

The protests come a month after teachers in West Virginia staged a series of strikes for almost two weeks before winning a pay raise.

'We've all heard stories from students, parents, and teachers affected by eleven years of cuts to our classrooms, ' Alicia Priest, president of the Oklahoma Education Association, said in a Facebook video message on the eve of the walkout. After almost 28 years on the job, he has seen state lawmakers repeatedly pledge to give teachers raises and restore education funding, only to be disappointed.

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