#oklaed #okteacherwalkout Reflections: Day 10 – What Comes Next?

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 precious days reflections here:

Well OEA says the walkout is over. My response – that is cute. Newsflash Alicia Priest does not speak for me nor direct what I do. I speak for myself. I follow the direction of the unequaled Dr. Cobb and the amazing Mid-Del Public School Board of Education. I am going back to school Monday because they say it is time, not because the OEA president so deems.

I feel the following two weeks have been for naught. The strength of the walkout has been the size of the crowd. There will still be advocacy efforts taking place inside the capitol, but that overwhelming crowd and the visual it provides is gone. When dealing with professional politicians whose biggest motivator is staying in office, it is that visual of massive amounts of voters that causes them to pause and reconsider their positions. Now, they can feel as though they stared us down and won. This is their takeaway. We had a chance to gain the advantage and we lost it. Maybe we can get it back after November. But at what cost? How many more good teachers will flee the state before then? We had a chance for a big win. Maybe the path to victory was not straight. I believe it was there though. Tonight my 6-year-old son, Bo, had t-ball practice. They were scrimmaging against a girls’ team from the same school. Bo was running between first and second and a girl started running towards him to tag him out, so Bo turned and ran in an arc through rightfield and arrived safely at second base. So yes, maybe we need to run around some obstacles to get to that win, but the win was obtainable!

I think several things need to happen now. At some point, there needs to be some healing in our state. We are a fractured citizenry and we will come to a point where we once again need to lean on those whose Facebook posts have angered us over the past several weeks. The other major thing that needs to happen is we need to be a more engaged citizenry. Teachers need to vote at a much higher percentage, we also need to start taking a more active role in our local and state level unions. If we want to see systemic change, we have to get involved to make it happen.