5 figures that explain why teachers are going on strike

April 6, 2018

Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

Since the start of the year, tens of thousands of teachers in Oklahoma, Kentucky and West Virginia have gone on strike, leaving students out of school for days.

Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

After the Great Recession in 2008, education funding has frequently been on the chopping block. Here are statistics explaining why teachers are striking today.

Bill Pugliano/Getty Images


Between 2006 and 2016, adjusted for inflation, teachers’ incomes dropped by 3%. Oklahoma teachers haven’t gotten raises from the state in 10 years.

Source: National Education Association

Bill Pugliano/Getty Images


Teacher satisfaction dropped 23% from 2008 to 2012 — from 62% to 39%, around the same level as in 1984.

Source: MetLife

Bill Pugliano/Getty Images


Teacher education enrollment decreased by 35% from 2009 to 2014 as a majority of states experienced shortages in teaching staff.

Source: Learning Policy Institute

Bill Pugliano/Getty Images


Teachers are five times more likely than any other full-time worker to have at least one side job, with some teachers working up to six jobs.

Source: National Center for Education Statistics

J Pat Carter/Getty Images


In Oklahoma, one-fifth of school districts have four-day school weeks due to lack of funding.

Source: Business Insider

J Pat Carter/Getty Images

I’m choosing to march on behalf of our growing number of English language learners who deserve teachers with greater cultural competency and better resources.

— Gretchen Heine, fifth grade teacher, Oklahoma

While the strike in West Virginia was successful in raising pay, changes in Oklahoma and Kentucky have yet to be set in stone.

J Pat Carter/Getty Images