The American public is inundated with the most horrible rhetoric I have experienced in my 40+ years of voting. In the national side how can you believe a party that is obstructionist and viciously attacked members of the opposing party in the press And have members that have called for violence / harassment of members of the opposition party. All politicians make campaign promises to the people that vote. Some promises can never be kept, some are kept, some are attempted but fail because they don’t get the support from both sides.
- At the state level I have watched an interesting set of issues. Mostly about education funding. I MUST STATE I SUPPORT EDUCATION, having said that, there are points that I take issue with. Calling for a strike by the OEA, was effective, to a point. The legislature, too little too late, took the Teachers, seriously and made progress toward fixing the issues. The teachers did get a raise and some funding for the classroom was restored. Where I begin to disagree was when the OEA leader continued to say it’s not enough. And basically continued to bargain in bad faith. “Bad faith how can you say that”? You may ask.
She continued her criticism of what was offered and when it was met, she changed the goal.
She lied to the public claiming she had a consensus of the Union membership, yet numerous members were never asked for their input.
She gave the perception that she wold hold the legislature hostage until all demands were met by continuing to strike. That is nothing short of extortion!
Was education fixed? Not completely, it was started down the path to a better system.
Should they Strike again this year? My personal opinion is No. this election will change the makeup of the state government.
How do we fix the problem? That is a subject for another. Daily Dose of Common Sense!
To begin with, I wanted to be known that I support education, full funding of the classroom, and an increase in teachers’ pay to bring us (the state of Oklahoma) from the bottom of the heap to at least equal to if not higher than the surrounding states. Education system in Oklahoma has long sense lacked proper funds. We rank 49th in the US for teacher salary. Which is sadly inadequate and has caused many quality educators to leave the state for the surrounding states, Texas being the biggest recipient, due to that low pay. Having stated my support for education I now have to say to the OEA, enough is enough. You called for a walk out with a list of demands that the legislature worked hard to meet. With landmark legislation raising taxes (sadly that it had to come to that title of landmark) the first thing they did was to pass a raise in pay. You asked for $10,000 a year, you are not satisfied with $6000 a year to begin with. Other legislation was passed to fully fund the raises unlike previous years where raises were given but never funded. But that still wasn’t enough for you to go back to the classroom. Now you demanded that all cutbacks in education were to be restored. You demand that the legislature restore the five-dollar tax on hotel stays to fund the classroom. You demand the elimination of the capital gains tax exemption. Your President has appeared on Facebook live giving the appearance of an angry person, demanding every need be met immediately. Her comments at the capital continue to make it look like the teacher’s union, OEA, is more interested in money then in education. I know this is not true, teachers are tired of being lied to by politicians that run on the principle of fixing the educational system yet failing to do so. When verbalizing my discussed with the continued walk out to a retired teacher of 40 years tenure, I was lectured that had she been able to she would have been at the capital with her peers. She was there in 1990 that got House Bill 1017 past but was unable to be there this time. She then told me that I shouldn’t blame the teachers for their actions when the disparity in pay is enormous. “It is amazing that we are 49th in the US in teacher salary, but 15th in the US for the salary of our legislators”. With that bit of information, I rethought my position, and began to look at the whole picture again. The title of this piece, When the Tail Wags the Dog, comes from the idea that a union should tell the legislative body of a state or of the US government how to do its job. The same analogy can be used in how insurance companies are successfully telling physicians how to practice medicine. It doesn’t work, and it actually causes more problems and increases costs while decreasing quality. Another issue is for the teachers to understand that their walkout was successful to a point, they are now approaching a point where the educational system will begin to lose federal funds, students will miss state testing deadlines, and the school year will be in jeopardy. Seniors in high school expected to graduate on time but now that may be delayed. This phrase was used on the steps of the state capital day after day after day “enough is enough”. Teachers the legislators have heard you, the public supports you, now it’s time to go back to work and do what you do best which is educate. Legislators it’s up to you to do the job that you were elected to do, you are public servants, you are no different in your profession as the teachers are in their profession! It’s high time that you start acting like a public servant more than an elitist. You were elected to do a job, you politicize the process pointing fingers across the aisle on both sides, were I grading your performance over the past 20 years I’m afraid I would have to give it an F minus. State legislators, it’s time to do what is right. Fully fund education here on out. Failure to do so will cause you to lose your jobs. Midterm elections are coming, and the movement is spreading. To our elected officials in the US government, I say the same thing. Get it done right. Quit playing petty politics with the security of our nation, balance the budget and reform the healthcare system. You want to find extra money to help balance the budget consider taking a pay cut, paying for your own health care, paying for your own retirement. And the state and federal entitlement programs to legislators. Folks you’re no better than the rest of us!
For those of you reading this, you can agree or disagree with my opinion because that is your right. It is however my opinion, and I am allowed to express it. Feel free to comment for that is your right.
I admire the teaching profession, it takes a special person to desire to help another person learn and truly be concerned when they see the difficulty a child has in grasping the concept. Some of the best teachers have discovered a way to make learning fun. In the state of Oklahoma, teachers have been underpaid for many years. They have utilized their First Amendment right to march on the capital for education reform improvement in the education system and now for an increase in teachers’ pay. While I agree totally that they need an increase in salary both in starting salary for a new teacher as well as an increase in salary and benefits for our veteran teachers, I do not believe that continuing with plans for a walk out after the legislature has finally worked and done their job to fund a raise is appropriate. To have the president of the OEA publicly state that the demands given the legislature were not all met, gives the impression that they are more interested in getting their way than performing their duty. I will reiterate that I am not against raising the pay of those that are educators. The politicians in the legislature of the state of Oklahoma have for the past 40 years failed to do what they were elected to do. It’s been the last three sessions, with a decrease in revenue leaving a large hole in the budget and requiring cutbacks from all services they continue to spin their wheels and pass laws dealing with driving in the left lane, texting while driving, while procrastinating on fixing the fiscal problems. This is totally unacceptable. The legislature for the state of Oklahoma needs to use “A Daily Dose of Common Sense” when prioritizing their approach to legislation. Band-Aids and duct tape to fix recurring problems are also unacceptable. I asked that the teachers use that same “Dose of Common Sense” and accept the increase that is being worked on and not walk out if it passes. Politics today has become a haven for special interest groups. While our representatives tend to listen to these groups, they should be listening to the masses that elected them. This is not an uncommon problem in both state and federal legislators. It is time to get political parties and political agendas out of our government. Elected officials need to serve the people that elected them, not the PAC’s that funded their campaign. To be fiscally responsible and the funding of our education system reforms in all areas of the system must be addressed. Duplication and wasteful spending must be eliminated. Raises two elected officials should cease until those officials efficiently fix the problems with the state budget. We now enter the wait and see phase of the threatened walkout. Should the salary increase that is currently being worked on pass, it wouldn’t be ethical to continue with the Strike. Should they decide to continue with the walkout/strike, it would give the impression that they are just like all the other special interest groups. They would be more interested in getting what they want over the needs of all the people. Of course, this is just my humble opinion.