Speed Reads

on strike

Thousands of teachers strike in Oklahoma, Kentucky

Demanding an increase in pay and funding for schools, thousands of teachers in Kentucky and Oklahoma spent Monday on strike, with many attending demonstrations in front of their state capitols.

So many teachers were participating that every public school in Kentucky was closed, as were most in Oklahoma. At the Oklahoma protest, National Education Association President Lily Eskelsen Garcia told NBC News that teachers are fed up with having to use outdated textbooks and making kids sit at broken desks "This wasn't caused by a natural disaster," she said. "This is a man-made crisis."

Last month, the Oklahoma state legislature voted to increase taxes on cigarettes, fuel, and oil and gas production, with the money going to the first pay raise for teachers in a decade; on Monday, Gov. Mary Fallin (R) said the state can't take away funding for other services to boost education. In Kentucky, the state legislature voted last week to move new teachers from pensions to 401(k)-style retirement plans. The protesters were inspired by teachers in West Virginia, who went on strike for nine days earlier this year and ended up receiving a 5 percent raise.