Mad Mom March: Rally for Education Funding at the Capitol on May 9
Fortunately, the Oklahoma Legislature seems to have backed off ever so slightly on eliminating income taxes completely. Do we really want to be dead bottom out of 50 states in everything — schools, mental health, help for abused and neglected children, fire and police, bridges, roads — seriously EVERYTHING that our collective taxes pay for? Do our Legislators not understand the function of government?
Let’s just talk about our schools. What I love is that parents are finally seeing that school funding is important. A few blocks from my office, over at Eugene Fields Elementary School, budget cuts in education mean that they’ll have a 5th grade class over there with 58 kids. Maybe one of our Legislators would like to go teach that class for a few weeks.
I was having a conversation with a kindergarten teacher who has 23 kids in her class at Union. Not too bad compared with the 40 that some TPS schools are cramming into their classrooms, but of those 23, she said that 11 were non-Engllish speaking. She said she loves the families of these kids because they are hard-working, and they really want their kids to learn English. They’re a very family-oriented and supportive of school efforts to teach their children. I’m sure that, despite her talent and positive attitude, her job would be a lot easier with fewer kids and maybe a full-time ESL teacher for them, but, hey, I’m just dreaming…. How often to our Legislators actually go in to the schools and spend time seeing what teachers do before they start voting in ridiculous mandates? Maybe they should include the teachers and the parents in their plans.
One of the grass-roots organizations started by parents to save public school funding is called 49th is Not OK! Go to www.49thisnotok.org for more information, or like them on Facebook.
This group is inviting all Tulsa area parents and other interested individuals and groups to descend on the Oklahoma State Capitol this Wed., May 9 at 1 p.m. for a rally to show educators that parents care about public school funding in Oklahoma.
If you can’t go, write to your representatives. I know I have been. According to what was said at the Rally at Edison Prepartory School, Legislators say they’re not hearing from Tulsa parents on this issue. I find that hard to believe, but if you care, keep writing. Or, better yet, show them you care by going to the rally on Wednesday.
I hope many of you can attend.
Don’t be fooled by law-makers who say, “Of course I care about kids. Of course I care about education. All we need are high quality teachers in the classroom. (never mind that that classroom may have 60 kids in it). The schools just aren’t using money appropriately.” I taught 30 years ago and they were saying this, which is one of the reasons I got out of teaching. Believe me, it’s even worse now. At least back then, legislators believed in public schools. Now, I think that many of them believe that public education is not the “job” of the government to provide. Well, our State constitution says that it is. Do we really want public schools to go away? Am I the only one who thinks that creating even more inequities in education is not only harmful to our democracy, but immoral? Is this what we want as parents, business people, leaders? Make these legislators put their money where their mouth is. And if it isn’t effecting your child’s school yet, it will. Just because class sizes may not have grown at your child’s school, the teachers are already feeling the effects of less money for supplies, less money for teacher aids, for mental health workers, for children with special needs. And if your child is in AP classes or is going to be in AP, did you know that funding was cut for AP? Or is your child in public Pre-K? You might not see that for long, either. These issues can’t be solved without proper funding. High quality public schools are critical to the future of our state!