Oklahoma governor urges teachers to return to work

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This is a rush transcript from "Your World," April 4, 2018. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


Well, the teachers are saying they're doing it for the kids, striking a third straight day. They want better conditions right now, more funding for education, that sort of thing.

Oklahoma Republican Governor Mary Fallin wonders if there's something else going on here.

Governor, always good to have you. Thanks for taking the time.

GOV. MARY FALLIN, R-OKLAHOMA: Thank you, Neil. Good to be with you, too.

CAVUTO: It looks like this thing gets bigger and bigger every day.

FALLIN: It has been getting bigger and bigger every day.

We have had a debate for the last many years about how can we give our teachers a pay raise in the state of Oklahoma? We had a regular session last year, two special sessions this past year. And now we're in another regular session.

And finally, last week, I signed a bill to give the teachers a 15 to 18 percent pay raise based upon their length of service and to boost education funding by 19 percent in our state.

Yet the teachers went on strike Monday. And so there's been some questions about, why are they at the capitol? They got their pay raise. And I appreciate democracy in action, which is the teachers being able to come up and talk to their legislators, their elected officials, about education.

But I think education is a priority in the state of Oklahoma. The legislature has proved that by passing the largest pay increase ever in the history of Oklahoma for teachers. And we appreciate them coming up and talking to us. We welcome them, but we also think that it's important to get back in the classroom and to teach our children.

CAVUTO: What is happening to those kids in the interim?

FALLIN: They're just out of school.

And it's not every single school district that is at the capitol protesting. But there's about a third of them in the state of Oklahoma. And so a lot of the children are out of school. Some of the parents have brought their children to the capitol. Some of the teachers have brought their own children to the capitol.

Now, it's actually a great learning experience on political movements, or social sciences, to -- history -- to be able to come up and see the action that is being taken. But it's been a busy week, an active week and we have had a lot of people at the capitol.

CAVUTO: All right, Governor, thank you very much.

I know a very busy news day just keeping track of that. It just -- those crowds get bigger and bigger and bigger.

Governor, thank you very, very much.

FALLIN: You're welcome.


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