Some pros and cons of today’s experience (Walk Out: Day One):
Pro – There were so many teachers and other supporters there that my middle-school passing-period crowding-weaving skills were put to a serious test. Lots of people I haven’t seen in a long time (SWOSU peeps!!), and people I work beside every day. It was wonderful to see so much support!
Con – Does anyone know why our lovely Governor wasn’t there?
Pro – FOOD TRUCKS!
Con – So many people trying to use the internet, the trucks couldn’t get a signal, so you had to pay cash.
Pro – Music teachers and teacher-musicians from across the state, along with some college and high school students, put together the Walk Out Band, which played marching-band style arrangements of songs like, “RESPECT,” “We’re Not Gonna Take It,” “The Final Countdown,” and “Another One Bites the Dust.” These people have some good taste in music!
I know them!!
Con – In between Band sets, the DJ playlist, which was a really good one, was very short, and therefore we heard the same songs a lot throughout the day. Can’t win ‘em all.
Can we talk about the real stuff now?
Pro – I was able to speak with Mark McBride, Emily Virgin, and Jacob Rosecrants. I gave each of them a thank you card for all the work they’ve done and the many, many, MANY conversations they’ve been forced to endure with me. We were, after all, instructed to come say thank you. I made sure to ask Emily and Mark both about the support staff hired by outside agencies – like Sodexo – and whether there is anything that can be written in statute to ensure that those support professionals will also get whatever raise the rest of support gets. They both seemed interested in the idea of looking into it. It’s one of those problems you don’t even think about unless you have heard a story about it.
Con – I was NOT able to speak with Senator Sykes. No real surprise, there. There’s a reason I’m running for Senate, after all.
Pro – Our people were polite and friendly, tactful even when they really didn’t want to be, and only one person got kicked out of the gallery during session (she just couldn’t take the idiocy anymore and shouted something quite loudly).
Con – Certain legislators were not so polite and friendly. Standridge, for instance, opened each encounter with something along the lines of, “I’ll talk for three minutes, you listen.” Some other reported words of his include:
~ ”Teachers should hang a paddle on the wall to help deal with behavior issues.”
~ “There is not an education funding issue in Oklahoma. There is a teacher dialogue and attitude issue.”
~ “I’m not familiar with SoonerCare. Remind me what the uhh…”
~ That his kids go to All Saints, where the teachers make less than we do. When told those teachers should be there with us, he said they would never be there because they do what they do “for the kids.”
~ When asked what he’s done for public education, he answered, “Uhhh…..well, let me think…..uhhh…..” and never actually answered the question.
(Thanks to Darcy Pippins for the compilation).
Rep. McCall, our lovely Speaker of the House, entered the building early this morning and hid in his office all day – he didn’t even show his face to vote – did it from his office.
Senator Quinn suggested that teachers who are unsatisfied simply change their profession.
That’s a lot of cons – I’m getting off track. Here, have a Lorax:
Pro – I had a really tasty pulled jerk pork sandwich. With AMAZING fried okra!
Con – It was $8….
Pro – Rep. Scott Inman was AWESOME! He did everything he possibly could to get the Capital Gains Tax Exemption bill heard on the floor multiple times.
Con – It failed every time. I’m not talking about the bill itself failing – I’m talking about getting it on the floor for discussion. It was business as usual up there. They gaveled in at about 1:30 and gaveled out around 2:15ish. For the rest of the day.
Did I mention Gov. Fallin wasn’t there?
Did I mention the many, many, MANY empty parking spots for legislators who didn’t show up?
Did I mention how much I appreciate those who did?
To paraphrase one of my favorite contemporary composers – We’ll be back. Soon you’ll see. You’ll remember that you work for me! (Us! But that didn’t rhyme…)
Onward to Day Two!
Scroll for more pics of signs and stuff!