In case you have not heard the state of Oklahoma, my state, is in a bit of crisis. I have joined tens of thousands of other educators in descending upon our state capitol to march in protest over the lack of proper education funding. I am going to share some reflections of this process each day here.
You can see the Day 1 Reflections here.
Today I spent my time at the capitol inside. I will be posting pictures of this at the end of this shorter post.
My day started in the gallery of the Oklahoma House of Representatives. It was definitely a unique experience to witness. They went through their customary rituals such as the call to order, prayer, pledge (not the state pledge, however), doctor and nurse of the day, then the various honoring of different groups. Then they turned to the business of the day and this is where things went off the rails. The majority party had no business to conduct and intended to go through the motions then gavel out to adjourn to the next day. The minority leader was having none of these shenanigans. He kept attempting to bring about votes to suspend rules to consider bills having already passed house committees or the Senate and which would increase the general revenue funding for the state. It was a circus. The sessions’ presiding member kept cutting off the Minority Leader’s microphone. The presiding member also was speaking in a very condescending tone to the Minority Leader and to the teachers in the gallery when they did not appreciate the conducting of the business before the House.
Now if there were ever assembled a group of people who understand the management of groups as well as a condescending tone then that group would be educators. It is what we do on the daily. If we have no classroom management then no education is taking place. Moreover, if we talked to our students the way the presiding member was treating the Minority Leader we would see our students revolt. After we left the session, I told my wife if I ever acted as the presiding member had during an evaluation I would expect to lose my job.
The Minority Leader was actually being quite intentional and slightly brilliant. He knew what would happen as he attempted to bring the floor votes. He knew he would lose. He simply wanted a recorded vote to show who was really for education and who was merely giving lip service. I applaud his bravery to take the heat for teachers in this fight.
After the session ended quickly, my wife and I spent some time visiting with various Representatives and Senators. It was a productive time and made my desire to run for office stronger than ever. I am still committed to the classroom. In addition, if I ran Stephanie has promised to leave me, so I better stay on the sidelines for now.