How the Media Obscures the Role of Latinos in Oklahoma Teachers’ Strike

Tulsa elementary school teacher Cindy Gaete

Over at the Guardian, Payday Senior Labor Reporter Mike Elk files a dispatch from Warwick, Oklahoma on how the media is missing the role of latinos in the historic Oklahoma’s Teacher’s Strike:

At a time when migrants are being demonized, some teachers on the road to Oklahoma City said they were marching to get more support for Spanish speakers and to better fund bilingual education.

Cindy Gaete, the daughter of Chilean immigrants, is one of the lead march organizers. She works at Marshall elementary school in Tulsa – a school that is one-third Latino. In a school with more 100 native Spanish-speaking pupils, she said, she is the only teacher who is a native Spanish speaker.

“The first thing I told my principal when I got hired,” she said, “is that if we are a third Latino, there should not be just one Hispanic teacher in your school.”

Without any support, Gaeta said, she has become a de facto pupil liaison for many teachers. She said she would like to see more Spanish speakers in teaching, but said many potential immigrant teachers were steered away from the profession because of low pay, and because they could not access higher education to get necessary teaching certifications.

“I would love for our applicant pool to become more diverse,” she said, “but again, it’s a lot harder when there are so many factors against the teaching profession.”

Go to the Guardian to read the full story. 


About the Author

Mike Elk
A Sidney-award winning labor reporter, Mike Elk is the founder of Payday Report and also covers labor and immigration for The Guardian. In 2015, he was illegally fired for union organizing as Politico’s senior labor reporter and used his $70,000 NLRB settlement to start Payday. The son of United Electrical Workers (UE) Director of Organization Gene Elk, he lives in his hometown of Pittsburgh He can be reached at

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