OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin compared teachers striking for more classroom funding to “a teenage kid that wants a better car” as schools throughout the state plan to close for a fourth straight day in a protest over education funding that has spread to several Republican-led states.

Fallin and other Republicans in the Oklahoma Legislature 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. But now that’s 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.

They acted after Oklahoma teachers launched their protests, inspired by a nine-day strike in West Virginia, where they won a 5 percent raise. The rebellion also has spread to Kentucky as teachers thronged the state Capitol Monday to protest cuts in pensions. And in Arizona, restive teachers demonstrated again Wednesday, wearing red while walking around Phoenix-area high schools and demanding a 20 percent pay raise.

Oklahoma Republicans have won little praise for approving major tax increases to fund the teachers raises and higher education funding, and Fallin appeared to reflect that frustration.

“Teachers want more, but it’s kind of like having a teenage kid that wants a better car,” Fallin said in an interview with CBS News.

Some Republicans are expressing support for the teacher rebellion. Three weeks before a closely watched special election for an open congressional seat in Arizona, Republican hopeful Debbie Lesko is running a TV ad that shows her reading a book to children as she vows to “fix our schools and give our teachers the raise they deserve.”

As he runs for a second term, Republican Gov. Doug Ducey in Arizona epitomizes the dilemma for GOP candidates in 2018. He refuses to raise taxes and finds himself on the defensive amid growing frustration with education funding.