A billboard in Oklahoma City reads: “Your future is in a Forth Worth classroom.” Right under that in highlighted print is “teacher starting salary is $52,000.”
Fort Worth in north Texas is just about three hours drive from the billboard – but the promise of a higher salary just might entice some teachers who have been fighting for higher pay in Oklahoma to hit the road.
Oklahoma teachers ended their nine-day walkout last month, but they pledged to continue to fight for more school funding and higher pay, according to the state’s largest teachers’ union. That’s what caught the attention of Fort Worth school system officials.
“The passion and concern for children recently demonstrated by thousands of Oklahoma teachers who rallied at the state capital are exactly the attributes Fort Worth Independent School District wants for our classroom leaders,” according to the school district’s statement.
The district invested in 10 billboards that can be seen along highways in Oklahoma City, Norman, Tulsa and Stillwater. The monthlong campaign started on Monday and is aimed to recruit both current teachers and students soon-to-earn education degrees.
“If you want to work where your dedication is appreciated and where you will have the tools needed to improve student achievement, then we want to talk with you,” said Forth Worth Superintendent Kent P. Scribner.
Oklahoma State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister released this statement to CNN affiliate KOCO: “This isn’t the first and won’t be the last time that Texas or any other state will try to attract our teachers away from Oklahoma. They see in them what we see – talent, compassion, and a strong dedication to the profession. Our students deserve to have teachers who are well-equipped and competitively paid. We won’t give up that fight and can’t afford to lose ground now.”