Oklahoma gov. confronted by teachers at business speech, tells teachers prisons need funding too

House GOP / Flickr Rep Coffman Rep Mary Fallin...
House GOP / Flickr

Oklahomans aren’t buying what Republican legislators are selling right now. As the state’s teachers go into their fourth day of a walkout protest across the state, public opinion is growing—in favor of teachers. While Gov. Mary Fallin and her fellow conservative gargoyles pat themselves on the back for finally raising their state’s educational spending after decades of Republican-led cuts, teachers have made it clear that they are not satisfied. On Wednesday, Gov. Fallin was off to celebrate the Spirit AeroSystems opening of a fabrication center in McAlester, Oklahoma. The entire way there teachers, students, and citizens lined the streets protesting and demanding more funding for the state’s schools. Tulsa World reports that after the event, no one was interested in talking about the “fabrication center,” they wanted to know what she and her party were going to do about all of these Oklahomans lining the streets. Fallin began by patting herself on the back once again about the budget that was signed and the half-measures they are pretending is real progress.

“… That’s not to say (education funding) won’t be a priority in the future,” the governor told a group of reporters after the Spirit news conference. “It will always be a priority for our state. Over 50 percent of all money in all of our state budgets is spent toward education. It shows that education is a priority.

“We didn’t get to 48th or 49th in education rankings overnight. This has been going on for decades upon decades upon decades. Now we’ve made a giant leap forward. I think the Legislature should be congratulated on revenue that was very hard to get to …”

Gov. Fallin really made sure to let everyone know exactly how she and her fellow Republicans prioritize things, however.

“There are some teachers that would like more,” she said. “We hear that. We understand that. That’s been a lot of the message at the Capitol.

“But we also have to fund prisons — prisons are a big issue in McAlester — our social services, health-care services, the poor and the needy … ”

“Some” teachers “would like more,” but we have to fund prisons, social services, health care, the poor and the needy—in about that order. Social services, health care, the poor and the needy are all suffering because of the Republican Party’s asphyxiation of federal funding for all of those things, combined with Republican states that have been emptying their state’s coffers in tax breaks to the wealthiest people and corporations.

Fallin also reiterated the old Republican talking point that’s always polished off in times when the citizens are louder than the corporate media shills talking on television, about how everybody is so angry and everybody needs to be “respectful.” This is the same woman who a day before implied that adult professional teachers asking for the meaningful funding for the entire state’s children and the people that watch those children, were like spoiled teens asking for a “better car.” There’s a reason why Republicans like Mary Fallin created anti-protest legislation and signed it into law.

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