Dr. John Thompson offers some thoughts on the current difficult climate in Oklahoma for education and encourages teachers to both become more politically involved AND broaden their perspective.
Following the absurd last week of the 2017 regular legislative session, Oklahoma made the front page of The Washington Post for gutting education funding to the point where 96 of the state’s 513 school districts will be reducing the school week to four days. The Post reviews the sorry story of how Oklahoma has cut education spending more than any other state, driving it down 14 percent since 2008. Only three states spend less per student than we do.
Then, Governing Magazine featured the headline: “Nation’s Least-Funded Schools Get What They Pay for,” which starts its story on our education crisis: “Nowhere is the situation more dire than in Oklahoma.” Governing cites Moore Superintendent Robert Romines, who had to deal with the 2013 tornado, and explains, “Today, he is up against a subtler but deeply corrosive attack on his schools: death by a thousand spending cuts.”
And suggests teachers get involved in politics — not just for teaching or for schools, but to save Oklahoma’s communities:
In other words, educators won’t improve our profession or our schools until we widen our perspective. It’s great that we are finally getting more political in order to help our kids, but that is just a start. We must ramp up our political efforts to provide equal opportunities and justice for all.
Thompson issues a challenge — teacher involvement in politics is not only critical to preserving the profession and protecting schools, it is essential to preserving a way of life in Oklahoma.
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