Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin (R) on Tuesday said that the teachers currently protesting for increases in school funding were like “a teenage kid that wants a better car.”
Teachers statewide have been on strike and protesting in front of the Capitol since Monday, forcing hundreds of schools to close for three days in a row. Pointing to shabby education materials and Oklahoma’s ranking as 49th in teacher pay, they demand higher wages and more school funding.
Last week, Oklahoma’s GOP-controlled legislature passed a bill that would increase the average teacher salary by about $6,000 and bring an extra $50 million for school funding, falling far short of the $200 million the teachers were asking for.
“Teachers want more, but it’s kinda like having a teenage kid that wants a better car,” Fallin told CBS correspondent Omar Villafranca.
Villafranca pointed out that “their car has been taken away over the last 10 years.”
“Well, it has been a difficult time,” Fallin responded. “And that’s why I’m very proud that this year we were able to get something done for our teachers.”
Vox reporter Alexia Campbell posted several pictures showing the crumbling textbooks students are forced to use:
Two Oklahoma teachers shared these photos w/ me. Their students use these textbooks. It blows my mind. pic.twitter.com/kF6Azdlgy4
— Alexia Campbell (@AlexiaCampbell) April 2, 2018
Villafranca tweeted on Wednesday that Fallin had also said “outside groups” were involved in the protests, including “ANTIFA,” a left-leaning anti-fascist group often disparaged by conservatives.
Talked w/Ok Gov Mary Fallin about #oklahomateachersstrike. She mentioned “outside” groups w/teachers at Capitol. I said yes…NEA and WV teacher union leaders.
“And ANTIFA”, she added.
Did y’all see ANTIFA at the Statehouse?
— Omar Villafranca (@OmarVillafranca) April 4, 2018
The governor’s office did not respond to TPM’s request for clarification on her comments.
h/t Tulsa World.