440 days ago I started a counter to remind the politicians in Oklahoma that promised to pass a bill to give K12 teachers a raise. They made these promises to persuade Oklahomans to vote against State Question 779. They said they had a better plan than the one penny tax that would have provided revenue for education in Oklahoma and would have provided a raise to our hard working teachers.
The future of Oklahoma is in educating our children. We do not have a crystal ball that will help us know what jobs will be available in Oklahoma in ten, twenty, or thirty years. It is likely that they will be different from today. It is likely that they will require a broadly educated populace. It is likely that without an educated population that they will be somewhere else other than Oklahoma. Education is critical to our future success.
Government in Oklahoma, like that at the national level, is in a semi-functional state at the moment. Politicians pass out candy to get votes, “we will lower your taxes”, without informing their constituents what lower taxes will mean, that their roads will not get paved, their health clinics will be closed, or that their children will only have a four day school week. We must keep the politicians accountable just as they have stated they want to keep the institutions that serve the citizens accountable.
As the days have continued to add one upon another, there have been many that have liked and retweeted the #SQ779 counter. Special Session after special session has passed without the politicians that said they had a better plan stepping up and making it happen. They were empty promises, statements made to push the hard work of legislation and compromise down the road. Finding a solution will be difficult, there are no easy answers. Watching @OKGov in action over the past year has been rather demoralizing.
As with #SQ779, there is now a new plan being proposed from outside of our elected representatives. Step Up Oklahoma is a plan to stabilize state revenue, reform government to increase efficiency and cut abuse, and raise teacher pay be $5,000. This plan has gained support from may state and community leaders. There is hope. The leaders in Oklahoma understand that education is essential to our future success. They made a plan that not only provide a raise to teachers and stabilize the State budget, but will reform the government to make it possible for the elected officials to do their job. It is a good plan.
David L. Boren: The Step Up Oklahoma plan to close the state’s budget gap is an opportunity that must not be missed
As an educator, I believe in the future. I work everyday to help make a better world by helping students become more than they dreamed they could be. I have been given unbelievable opportunities to make an impact on the future by working with students. I believe that the future is bright, if we invest in our children.
Today, I am turning off the counter. Part of me is sad to see the days pass by with no action from the State. A bigger part of me is hopeful that the business, civic and community leaders have taken up the cause and will make the changes that are needed. If you have been following the counter, then please continue to advocate for our K12 teachers and vote for those that invest in education. Have Hope.
Thanks to all who retweeted and liked the #SQ779 counter. There are better days ahead for Oklahoma.
Thanks to Tom Woodard who assisted with the counter and teaching me a little more #IndieEdTech.