Heather Cody

Heather Cody

Citizens along the 110-mile route from Tulsa to Oklahoma City that striking teachers marched last spring brought breakfast – donuts bagels, home-made muffins, even omelets – to school gymnasiums where teachers slept on wood floors or, on lucky nights, wrestling mats. Heather Cody, a third-grade teacher, single mother and march organizer, found herself suddenly leading a mobile movement attracting national attention. Being teachers, they sorted into walking groups: Cheetahs, Foxes and Turtles. “We called ourselves ‘The Zookeepers,’” Cody said of those who each night labored over logistics. A volunteer doctor “worked on people’s feet. The blisters, he popped them and wrapped them.” Tulsa teachers reached the Capitol in seven days, their anger at a decade of funding cuts making headlines. While Cody was defiant on CNN, deals were struck. A show of force ended in a whimper. Average pay rose slightly (Cody’s monthly take home to $2,200 from $1,900). Schools got a few dollars. But key issues went unaddressed. “A lot of teachers felt defeated,” she said. The stresses of the job – performance demands, low pay, scant support for students with serious needs, the burden of buying class supplies – are seeding unrest around the country. Oklahoma is quiet now. But, says Cody, “We promise that the fight is not over.”

Contact Us

The Yale Women Faculty Forum
205 Whitney Avenue, Suite 301B
New Haven, CT 06511

(203) 436-2978

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Click this link to join our mailing list.  You will need your NetID.


Follow Us