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.
I want to start this journey by sharing here what I shared on social media as I headed to the Capitol:
I want to take a moment to share some thoughts about what is going on with education and the state legislature in Oklahoma. I need an outlet to share some honest reflection if you disagree that is fine, if you choose to disagree in the comments that is fine too, I am not looking to fight and argue.
I would imagine most of you have heard something about the plight of Oklahoma education, we have been featured on local news, CBS Morning News, CNN as well as in The Washington Post, New York Times, Time, and all over the social media’s.
This morning I should be going to work to discuss the Russian Revolution and contrasting it with Haymarket, Pullman, and other labor movements in Chicago with my AP World History Students. I should be starting the week-long lesson plan I worked on all last summer with the fellow outstanding educators that comprised my summer research institute. I am not doing that. In fact, I may not get to use those particular plans at all this year.
This morning I should have gotten up at 5:00 AM, put on a suit and tie, made coffee, took my children to my mom’s for the day, listened to a podcast on the 30-minute drive and gone to my school and to room A103. Sadly that is not the routine this morning.
This morning some things have been typical of a normal Monday morning. I still got up (a little later actually) and still got dressed (not a suit and tie), made coffee (I mean priorities) and then got my kids situated for the day. However, I am not going to my school or my classroom. Instead, I am going to the Oklahoma State Capitol to join about 50,000 of my teacher friends to rally, picket, and protest the education and fiduciary affairs in my state.
I am conflicted. I would rather teach then protest. I would rather spend the week discussing Eugene Debs, August Spies, George Pullman, Trotsky, Lenin, and Tsar Nicholas with my students than discuss per-pupil funding, appropriations bills, and diversified streams of revenue with legislators. I know this fight has a larger purpose though. I know other states are going through similar situations. I also know some are teaching in states where things are not bottoming out yet but are getting close. I know this stand is not about my pay but about the priority education should have in policy and budgetary matters. I know this affects everyone in this country on a daily basis. I know we all benefit from a better-educated citizenry. The stand we are making here, as well as those in West Virginia, Arizona, & Kentucky, has the potential to usher in a new age of pro-education policy in this nation. I owe it to each of you to be part of the group making this stand. So I will go and hold my signs (see below) and let my voice be heard. You, as my friends, family, and colleagues, deserve my best in this fight just as my students deserve my best daily in my classroom.