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By Kojo Asamoa-Caesar
Education in Oklahoma is a house on fire. Teachers finally have had enough and got organized to walkout of the building. The state government, the slumlords in this analogy, threw a bucket of water on the burning building. And now they want teachers to thank them because this is “historic.” Historic only because they’ve been watching the house burn for decades and chose to do nothing. They only acted now because teachers threatened to walk out. Now we’re supposed to be grateful and stay in this burning building because they threw a bucket of water and passed an illusory fix.
Teachers, stand your ground. Don’t let them take your power away from you. If you do, you’re enabling them to continue to hurt our kids and communities with abysmally insufficient funding, and you’re teaching them how to treat you moving forward.
I stand firmly with teachers and I am mad as hell at the attempts to silence teachers, to quell this movement, to make them out to be in this for themselves, to bait and switch them, to insult their intelligence, to sow discord and division amongst them, and to return them to business as usual.
If the state does not restore funding to education so we can give our kids the world-class education they deserve – then something drastic has to happen. And I, for one, don’t plan on going back to business as usual. I will do everything in my power to help to effect necessary change. We as leaders in school buildings can help ensure and inspire all our teachers and staff get registered to vote. We should have 100% voter registration in our school buildings. We should use our influence to get all the parents of our scholars to register to vote. We should share out and report what percentage of our staff and parents are registered to vote. And share resources and knowledge to help all schools increase their percentages. That’s just one idea I can think of where I can immediately begin to help affect change as a principal. And I know there are many more. We need more ideas and we need to be bold and we need to buck convention and we need not be scared. The time is now!