Oklahoma Education Association calls for end to walkout

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- The Latest on teacher protests in conservative-led states (all times local):

4:40 p.m.

The head of Oklahoma's largest teachers union is calling for an end to a teacher walkout that has shuttered schools for nine days after Republican leaders said they will not provide any more new revenue for public schools.

Oklahoma Education Association President Alicia Priest said Thursday it is time for teachers to shift their focus to electing pro-education candidates to the Legislature.

Priest made the comments to reporters Thursday after teachers and their supporters marched on the Capitol for a second consecutive week.

The Republican-controlled Legislature passed a series of tax hikes to fund a $6,100 average teacher pay raise and more funding for schools, but teachers walked out anyway as they sought additional funding for schools.

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 3:15 p.m.

Oklahoma teachers frustrated after years of swelling class sizes and funding cuts to public schools have streamed into the state Capitol not just to protest, but also to run for political office.

More than a dozen teachers filed paperwork this week to run for state House and Senate seats, many of them first-time candidates inspired by the teacher walkout that has shuttered schools across the state for a second consecutive week.

Crooked Oak High School English teacher Amanda Jeffers says she was inspired to run by the education movement, even though she acknowledges an uphill battle against a well-funded Republican incumbent.

The teacher-led rebellion over low wages and funding cuts has spread from West Virginia to Arizona, Kentucky and Oklahoma.

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