crumbling textbooks in classroom


Striking teachers go viral for posting dilapidated textbooks

Some Twitter users say they used the same books decades ago.


Ana Valens


Posted on Apr 3, 2018   Updated on May 21, 2021, 7:44 pm CDT

Ask Oklahoma’s striking teachers: The state government isn’t providing enough money to support quality education. To prove their point, they’re posting photos of the decrepit textbooks and broken furniture that kids must use—and they’re going viral for it.

Teachers first turned to the internet last month in preparation for the Oklahoma Teacher Walkout, a planned strike for April 2 citing low pay for teachers and unacceptable school funding from the state. Oklahoma ranked 49th in the nation in 2016 for average teacher’s salaries, Time Magazine reports, and despite a raise from the legislature, teachers feel their needs as educations were not met—hence, the strike.

Through photos of barely usable supplies, teachers started going viral, showing just how terrible funding is for education. Old textbooks from the 2000s are used throughout classrooms, PBS reports, meaning teachers are left with unreliable and inaccurate resources that need to be updated. Many books are falling apart, too, with covers ripped off.

Meanwhile, desks and chairs often break down without replacement, posing safety hazards to students. In one case, English teacher Sarah Jane Scarberry from Heavener High School claims students have to put together usable parts from broken desks to create new ones for class.

“I will say, our district does try very hard to supply our needs,” Scarberry told PBS. “But not all needs are met and quite frequently we know better than to even ask.”

As the strike continues, photos also continue to circulate on Twitter and Facebook, demonstrating just how underfunded Oklahoma public schools are.

The general Twitter public has mostly responded in shock and horror at the schools’ conditions. Some are calling on the federal government to help fund Oklahoma’s schools.

Several adults even recognized the textbooks in use—from decades ago.

Oklahoma isn’t the first state to go on strike for fair funding and teacher’s salaries. West Virginia, which also ranks low in the U.S. for public school funding, went on strike earlier this year. As teachers continue to push back, the walkouts suggest that the U.S. has a larger problem with properly funding public education.


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*First Published: Apr 3, 2018, 3:34 pm CDT