I am fortunate to have experienced over and over in my life what it means to stand proud together. First, at home growing up in a family of seven. Later, in school with my classmates and gifted teachers. Recently, with my fellow educators.
My district announced on Tuesday that classes will be cancelled Monday so teachers and administrators can attend the rally at the capitol. I’ve never been to a rally before. I’ve read about them. I’ve heard about them. I’ve seen the news coverage on television. But I’ve never attended one myself. I wish I could give you a good reason for not paying much attention to education issues until the past few years, but I can’t. I don’t have a good reason. I’m embarrassed to admit I taught rather selfishly in my first few years in the teaching profession and had difficulty seeing beyond the walls of my own classroom. Now, I have the #oklaed community and its bloggers to thank for showing me that we can’t afford to stay out of the conversation anymore. Others certainly won’t hold back when lobbying their agendas in education. If you need proof of that, just check out this post on Rob Miller’s blog from last month. I believe we must counter outsider efforts with what we KNOW from experience in the classroom to be in the best interest of our students.
I’ll be at the Capitol on Monday. I’m not sure how I’m getting there or where I’m parking, but I’ll be there. If anybody asks me, I believe the teacher shortage is a huge problem, and the educational budget is approaching crisis status (if it isn’t already there). I’m there because I find it hard to swallow the amount of testing and test preparation my students will undergo in the next six weeks. I’m there because I’m growing tired of educators being left out of the conversation about what’s best for education. I’m there because I’m worried what public education will be in coming years for the children in our state, particularly these three:
More importantly, I intend to continue “being there” long after Monday by following up with my legislators about important education issues, and finding out from candidates in future elections where they stand before I cast my vote.
Education in our great state has certainly taken its fair share of blows in recent years. Even in these difficult times, there are still so many outstanding people willing to dedicate their lives to our children. Despite poor compensation. Despite unfair scrutiny. Despite inequitable evaluations. Despite unfunded mandates. Despite political agendas. I consider myself very fortunate to be in the company of those who advocate tirelessly on behalf of our children, and I’m looking forward to meeting more of them on Monday. I’m grateful for the many people who have shown me what it means to stand proud together long before and long after I learned to sing it in my alma mater.
See you Monday, friends.
(P.S. Hail to thee, Moore High!)