Election day is Tuesday, and Oklahoma teachers say they are still working to make their voices heard seven months after the teacher walkout. Many schools across Green Country said they are closed on Tuesday so teachers can get out and vote.
On the last day of the walkout, a big phrase from teachers was “Remember in November.” Now, that day is here.
“We’re intelligent people,” said Grissom Elementary teacher Lynnette Shouse. “We know what our struggles have been, and we can have an effect in such a big way.”
When Shouse started teaching 28 years ago, she says, class sizes were in the low 20s. Now, they are in the mid-30s because it’s hard to find educators to keep those numbers down, she said.
“Just because a raise has gone through doesn’t mean that people have flooded back into the state saying, ‘Oh, I want to teach in Oklahoma,’” said Shouse.
She says she spent several days in Oklahoma City during the walkout, along with thousands of other educators, and is continuing to make her voice heard by working to get people to the polls.
“Even though we may not be running for office, we still have stories that I think help them see what’s really happening in the schools,” she said.
Shawna Mott-Wright, vice president of the Tulsa Classroom Teachers Association, says, “we have been knocking and walking and calling and talking – doing everything we can just to get the word out.”
Mott-Wright says this could be a historic day for Oklahoma because voters could elect a record number of pro-education candidates into office, including some current teachers.
“The problems we have now are not the problems we had 14 years ago, or even 10 years ago, or even five years ago,” she said. “They know that and they live it every day.”
“This is going to give us a chance as teachers to make our voices known,” said Shouse.
Tulsa Public Schools is one of several school districts across the state that will be closed for election day.