Tom Coburn

Teacher rebellion puts red-state Republicans on defensive

Teacher rebellion puts red-state Republicans on defensive

A teacher rebellion in red states from West Virginia to Arizona has put Republicans on the defensive, forcing them to walk a fine line in the months before midterm elections between placating constituents who are angry over education cuts and conservative supporters who want a smaller government and low taxes.

In Oklahoma, most Republicans last week broke with the party orthodoxy and endorsed hundreds of millions of dollars in tax increases to fund public schools and give teachers a raise of 15 to 18 percent.

They acted after Oklahoma teachers demanded action, inspired by a nine-day strike in West Virginia, where they won a 5 percent raise. The rebellion also has spread to...

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