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9 days to go: vote #oklaed

October 28, 2018 Comments off

Remember in November Rally image

Yesterday, on a beautiful October afternoon (during which both OU and OSU had homecoming parades), a group of public education advocates gathered at the Capitol to remember why we walked out in April and to focus on the education vote in the upcoming election.

I would agree with Oklahoma Watch’s assessment. Yes, it was a small crowd, but it was pretty vocal. Many of the speakers were dynamic. I was also there.

TheĀ Oklahoman had this to say about the rally:

Many teachers hope the election will result in more lawmakers who are willing to increase the state’s education budget.

“I’m here today because education is so important,” Kim Schooler, a fourth-grade teacher at Truman Elementary in Norman, said. “It is the key to everything. That’s why I’m a teacher.”

Amanda Jeffers, a candidate for House District 91 who teaches English at Crooked Oak High School in Oklahoma City, told the crowd she walked out in April because “giving teachers a moderate pay increase doesn’t fix the problems we face in the classroom.”

I was one of the speakers yesterday as well, and a couple of people have asked me to post my comments. Here’s what I had written in advance, though I probably ad libbed a bit:

So…what does that ideal, pro-education candidate, in the most generic sense possible look like? Since I can’t endorse anyone specifically today, let me paint you a picture.

A candidate who supports public education understands that health care, corrections, and addiction issues ARE public education issues.

A candidate who supports public education knows that you can’t increase teacher pay by giving us more flexibility with how we spend our building fund. Whether it’s a quarter or five nickels, it’s still 25 cents.

A candidate who supports public education reads, engages, and votes. And walks around the Capitol with teachers when they’re fighting for our profession.

By the way, a candidate who supports public education knows that the teacher walkout was about WAY more than teacher pay.

A candidate who supports public education is involved with – and ideally, leading the way – helping us all understand how adverse childhood experiences shape the gap between what is taught and what is learned.

A candidate who supports public education is someone who has been paying attention to the policy and funding issues that have been hurting our schools…for more than just the last few minutes.

A candidate who supports public education knows that public schools already have academic accountability and fiscal transparency, as required by more laws than I can count.

A candidate who supports public education also knows that vouchers would take public school dollars and send them to private schools that lack accountability and transparency.

Finally, a candidate who supports public education is someone who is more concerned with doing right by school children than with his or her political future.

So far, friends, 2018 has been a landmark year. Many of the legislators who have tried to cut this state into prosperity have changed their tune. Others decided they didn’t want to stick around. Some, well, some we have just fired. Keep voting for better candidates. Keep voting for public education. Keep voting for the future.

With that said, do you know who your candidates are? Do you know where your polling place is? Do you have a plan to take the time to vote on November 6th? Our state has come too far for any of us to stay on the sidelines and let other people make decisions.sheen vote.gif

 

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