DeVos asks striking teachers to ‘stay focused’ on students

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos weighed in on the ongoing Oklahoma teachers’ strike, saying she hopes “that adults would keep adult disagreements and disputes in a separate place, and serve the students that are there to be served.”

DeVos’ comments, as reported The Dallas Morning News, were made last Thursday after touring a Dallas middle school. The secretary said she felt concern for the students affected by the strike, saying “I think about the kids. I think we need to stay focused on what’s right for kids.”

In February, DeVos took to Twitter to make similar comments during a teachers’ strike in West Virginia.

“It’s now day 4 of #WVTeacherStrike. Whether you believe good teachers deserve better pay – I do – and/or states should be fiscally responsible – I do – we should all agree kids should not suffer for adult squabbles,” she tweeted. “But kids are directly harmed when they are barred from going to school to learn. So I hope both sides in WV come to the table to negotiate a swift resolution and get students back in their schools.”

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On Monday, the Oklahoma teachers’ walkout entered its second week. The teachers are pressuring the state legislature to pass more funding for education, citing outdated textbooks, deteriorating school infrastructure and the roughly 20 percent of school districts that have moved to a four-day school week.

The Washington Post reported that, when adjusted for inflation, Oklahoma is spending 30 percent less on education than it did a decade ago.

Teachers in Oklahoma, who haven’t received a pay raise since 2008, are paid far lower than the national average, according to The Dallas Morning News.