Walkout still on; BOE decides to take no action at this time
Superintendent Armstrong still allowed to determine when class would resume.
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A Board of Education meeting last night met to gather intel and decide on whether action should be taken on the teacher walkout, which is now stretching into it’s second week.
Despite the weariness of the parents and the objections from critics, the walkout is actually gaining ground. Tulsa World reported that nearly 200 attorneys descended on the Capitol in support of the teachers. Reports of help and encouragement from out of state has also been seen on a regular basis.
At Monday Night’s BOE meeting, the feeling was no different, and the teachers and supporters were grateful.
“I was pleased to see positive discussion concerning the continued teacher walkout,” said Cheryl Jackson, former teacher and parent who ran for the school board in 2016. “Mr. Armstrong stated, and I agree, that even though we’ve achieved great strides in the past few weeks we have to continue the discussion about funding education and we have to help our community be informed and involved.”
Jackson also stressed that this wasn’t a problem that happened quickly and couldn’t be fixed overnight. “We got here because of complacency,” she said. If Oklahoma is going to get back in the race we have to be involved. Public education affects us all, not just teachers and parents.”
Shana Bethel, who teaches at Sapulpa High School, was grateful to the administrators and board members that have stood with the teachers since they began their protest. “Melinda Ryan and Rob Armstrong did a fantastic job supporting teachers and staff in their efforts to secure funding for the school,” she said. “The support that we have gotten from our administration is very much felt by the teachers and we are very thankful.”
Jackson shared Bethel’s gratitude, extending it to the local representatives who have been here and at the Capitol supporting the the teachers. “Thank you to James Leewright, Mark Lawson and Kyle Hilbert,” she said, calling the situation a “Goliath that they inherited as a result of years of neglect.”
After asking a lot of questions about the situation and the plan the teachers have for moving forward, the Board decided not to take any action at this time.
Well, that’s not completely true: they did vote to replace the lights at the softball fields.
The group of teachers marching from Tulsa to Oklahoma City should be finishing up their walk today, after being held up by rain and even snow as they’ve plodded along from Webster High School in Tulsa along Route 66 to Kellyville, then Bristow, Stroud and further until reaching their destination at the Capitol.
The largest concern for the 500,000 students in the state that are a absent from the classrooms at the moment—as well as their parents and yes, their teachers—are the upcoming state testing program, which was due to start this week.
State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister made the announcement yesterday that the state testing window would be extending to April 27 to allow the teachers to return to classrooms in confidence that their mission had been accomplished.
Featured Image: Tanya Mattek via Flickr. Used with permission.