A drill sergeant turned Oklahoma lawmaker on Tuesday vented his frustration at the tens of thousands of teachers who were outside his state capitol building protesting for higher wages. His rebuke came in a self-recorded video from the Oklahoma house chamber, which he posted to Facebook.
WATCH the brief recording in the player above.
The lawmaker, Kevin McDugle, a Republican who represents the Wagoner area, had this to say:
Let me tell you something. I voted for every teacher measure to fund them all last year — took us a year and a half to pass it — and now, they come into this house and want to act this way — I’m not voting for another stinkin’ measure when they’re acting the way they’re acting. Our kids follow their example, and this is the example they set? I understand the frustrations, but this is not the way to go about it. You’re losing the support of people who supported you all year long. All year long, we supported you, and now you’re going to come here and act like this after you got a raise? Go right ahead — be pissed at me if you want to!
Teachers in Oklahoma walked off the job for a second day to protest the state’s status as among the lowest in the nation for per-pupil expenditures and, concomitantly, teacher salaries. Some 30,000 educators are estimated to have walked out. Their actions resulted in cancelled classes for about 500,000 of Oklahoma’s 700,000 public school students, Reuters reported.
The protests come immediately after Oklahoma lawmakers passed a $450 million package aimed at increasing school expenditures and teacher pay. It was the first major tax hike aimed at schools in a quarter century. Teachers believed it was still not enough and walked off the job in protest.
Oklahoma publishes a minimum teacher salary schedule.
A teacher with only a bachelor’s degree and no experience starts out earning at least $31,600. A teacher with 25 years of experience and a master’s degree must earn at least $43,900. The data suggest many districts pay more than the state minimum.
According to his official biography, McDugle grew up working in the oil fields, joined the Armed Forces, did tours in Somalia, Bosnia and Saudi Arabia, became a drill sergeant, and eventually returned home to found companies which provide marketing services to lawyers and digital media services.
[Image via Facebook video screen capture]