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Okla. Teachers Rally for Better Pay

February 17, 2000

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ About 17,000 teachers rallied Thursday at the state Capitol for higher pay and more funding for education.

``It’s been 10 years since we’ve had an investment in education. You can’t wait 10 years. You have to have it each and every year,″ Carolyn Crowder, president of the Oklahoma Education Association, told the crowd.

As the teachers rallied, state House members voted 98-1 for a $3,000-a-year pay raise. It passed the Senate 47-0, and Gov. Frank Keating has said he will sign the measure.

Outside, science teacher Kim Roberts passed out cattle backbones adorned with a tag that said, ``Increase Common Education Funding _ Have a Backbone.″ Shelby Baughn, a preschooler attending the rally with her family, held up a homemade sign that said, ``Oklahoma’s Report Card: Prison Funding A+, Education Funding F.″

Earlier this month, Keating joked that the best way to deal with the state teachers union is ``homicide.″ He later apologized for the remark.

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