Now What?

Now What

That thud you heard…

With a resounding defeat of the penny sales tax now what?  It was a tough thing to ask – a penny sales tax for education.  I was on the fence about this question from day one – I felt that if it passed, then our legislature would wash their hands of ever doing anything for education.  I also feared that if it failed it would be viewed as a referendum on education in Oklahoma…

Teachers are amazing people, I have spent my entire adult life surrounded by them.  Learning from them.  Collaborating with them.  Working with them.  They are awesome.  They are doing great things today, even though they teach with a heavy heart.

Teachers teach because that have a calling to make a positive difference.  However, I have yet to meet a teacher that took a vow of poverty.  I know some doctors who felt a calling to medicine – they seem to be doing fine.  I know architects who felt a calling to create amazing buildings.  They are well compensated for their work.  What is the difference here?

What is wrong?

So what is it about education that is so wrong?  Why is it that our state has done nothing, nothing, over the past decade to increase the funding for education?  Slashing it at every chance they get?

Maybe this is my morning after, knee-jerk reaction.  But what plan is out there ready to be voted on?  The penny sales tax was the only plan.  Combine that with voters sending back to the capital some of the exact same people that put us in the position…I feel extremely frustrated.  Yes, there are some wonderful state representatives and senators that work tirelessly for education and those that cannot take care of themselves.

Yes, there are some wonderful state representatives and senators that work tirelessly for education and those that cannot take care of themselves.  These voices are too few.  I am very concerned about our next legislative session and what comes out of it.  A voucher bill is always looming.  RSA is still a law.  Consolidation will work, let’s do that (Will it?  Will it really?)…

I look around and wonder – is this really where I want my kids to go to school?  In a state that places such little focus on education?  And doesn’t seem to have a problem with this?

The thing is…

The thing is this – I would love a pay raise for our hardworking teachers.  I would love for our communities to understand that there is so much more going on behind the curtain.  To change the view of some of our citizens from “if you teach, marry someone with money” to “I would love my own children to teach in Oklahoma.”

To be honest, other than the students – no matter where you teach there are students who need you – why would I stay and teach in Oklahoma?  Low cost of living doesn’t count, even with that, teachers don’t earn very much.

So…Now What?

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