You know about a year ago, someone on facebook reached out to me through a teacher group and told me about his plans to plan a strike. I discouraged him, I said you have an advocate in the state department, there is good will, lets see if they legislature delivers. They did not strike.. I should mention that this person is no longer a teacher, they left the profession.
So now after several failed attempts a teacher raise – including the 1 cent sales text with President Boren, the Step Up Plan, and suggestions by Joy Hofmeister in her OKSDE budget plans – I am left reflecting on if now is the time?
I see the teachers in West Virginia protesting and walking out – because they are making much more than Oklahoma and its still not enough.. and I see them on the news, and I know their legislature is getting the message.
Tonight I spent time watching the public hearing at Bartlesville as to whether they should support a teacher strike.. I was moved by the community that supported their teachers and how it was not teachers talking, it was students, business owners, and grandparents.
As I know from my study on teachers leaving, it is a hard choice for them.. but I worry that it is almost too late for your students in Oklahoma. If another wave of qualified teachers leave, what will our classrooms look like.. 35 students, 40 students, standing room only? Or will we have to stop viewing teaching as a profession all together and just make sure someone is in each room? What will the solution be?
I feel as though my perspective has changed from a year ago. I think if teachers strike it will be justified and the only people to blame is all of us for not holding our elected officials accountable much earlier.
the whole thing makes me incredibly sad.. I know how important teachers are to our communities, to our social fabric, and most importantly to our children.
Have we crossed a line of no return?