Educators Walking From Tulsa To State Capitol In OKC
TULSA, Oklahoma - More than 125 Tulsa-area teachers started the March for Education Wednesday morning. Some of those teachers are walking 110 miles from Tulsa to Oklahoma City.
The walk's goal is to call attention to education funding in the state.
"Our kids are suffering. We don't have textbooks. We don't have a T.A. who helps us anymore. We're here to get some more education funding, hopefully," Lindbergh Elementary teacher, Melissa Wills said.
The marchers stopped in Kellyville to rest up for the second leg that will start Thursday.
Among those walking is Tulsa Public Schools Superintendent, Dr. Deborah Gist.
"I think anytime that citizens come together and make their voices heard, our elected officials hear us. I mean that's how the process works," Gist said.
Gist said her plan at this point is to walk the whole 110 miles but said the teachers could call it off down the road if legislators take action.
Over 120 people gathered for a rally before the walk on the front steps of Webster High School.
Gist and representatives from the Oklahoma Education Association and the National Education Association got the crowd energized.
"Hold them accountable and walk. Walk until you get what you need for our students and for public education," said NEA Secretary-Treasurer Princess Moss.
The early estimates we've heard, out of the 120 or so who are signed up, about 50 to 60 are planning to go the whole way.
As the walk continues, they’ll be sleeping at various schools along Route 66 during the walk.
Organizers said it'll take seven days to get to the Capitol. Walkers will average more than 15-and-a-half miles each day to do it.
We asked McLain teacher Ronnie Smith if he thinks this will be effective in persuading lawmakers to pass legislation earmarking millions more in education funding that the OEA is demanding.
"Well, I don't know how soon, but I'm praying to God it does. Because our kids need the funding, our teachers need the funding, and our state workers need the funding, so, we all need it," he said.
Depew Police are reminding drivers to watch out for the walkers as they start again Thursday.
Day 1: Wednesday, April 4 from Webster High School in Tulsa to Kellyville High School. - 17.9 miles (5 hours, 57 minutes walking)
Day 2: Thursday, April 5 from Kellyville High School to Bristow High School - 15.1 miles (4 hours, 59 minutes walking)
Day 3: Friday, April 6 from Bristow High School to Stroud High School - 17.5 miles (5 hours, 46 minutes walking)
Day 4: Saturday, April 7 from Stroud High School to Chandler High School - 15.6 miles (5 hours, 7 minutes walking)
Day 5: Sunday, April 8 from Chandler High School to Wellston High School - 10.2 miles (3 hours, 21 minutes walking)
Day 6: Monday, April 9 from Wellston High School to Jones High School - 18.4 miles (6 hours, 6 minutes walking)
Day 7: Tuesday, April 10 from Jones High School to the State Capitol - 15.4 miles (5 hours, 6 minutes walking)
Along the way, the group will sleep in school gyms along the way and donations of food and water will help fuel them.