Tuesday, April 1, 2014

25,000 Oklahomans rally for Education at the State Capitol

Will Republican dominated State Legislature and State Government Listen?

My guess is no -- hope I am wrong.

Yesterday while Oklahomans were rallying for education at the State Capitol to protest Oklahoma being the #1 state in cutting education funding since 2008 and 49th in teacher salaries, our illustrious hard right legislature was passing this out of Committee:
A bill that would have school children reciting the pledge to the Oklahoma flag as well as the pledge to the U.S. flag at least once a week was advanced by a House committee
Went to the link at the Tulsa World and most people who commented couldn't believe such a bill was coming up for a vote.  Are some Oklahomans still fighting the Civil War even though Oklahoma was not a state?   Someone needs to tell this legislature that state's rights do not override the federal government no matter how much they want it to happen.  I, for one, will not recite a pledge to any state flag and if I still had children in school, neither would they.  The arrogance of some of the people in Oklahoma State Government astounds me.

So happy every day that I live in Norman and not other places in Oklahoma because I would never make it in some places.  I am not delusional enough to think I would.

A former Congressman Mickey Edwards from OKC who was very conservative while he was in Congress now says he would be considered a liberal by today's standards. Know how he feels.

It was great to see so many people turn out for the rally!  Still cannot believe they have cut so much from the education budget in Oklahoma but now want to give another tax cut.  Thought education was supposed to be funded first and fully not last and under funded but then I never lived in a state with so many hard right elected officials in the legislature and state government.  The lack of common sense out of a lot of the legislature is disgusting.  We have a shortfall of $188M and they want to reduce taxes because today's GOP cannot raise taxes no matter what.  They instead give more tax breaks or keep ones like for horizontal drilling that should have gone off years ago.

Not impressed with Republicans in charge of state government -- this group here is the worst I have seen in all the states we have lived and I thought New Hampshire was bad on education -- caused us to move down to MA but today they look good compared to Oklahoma where Republicans seem out to destroy public education in their support of charter schools owned by hedge funds and GOP donors. Are some Republicans in this state for sale to the highest bidder like ALEC and the Koch Bros/Rove? Draw your own conclusions but these Republicans have changed since being elected to state government with common sense going out the window.

Really appreciate the facts we get from Oklahoma Policy which is a non-partisan group.  Here is another example on education and the shortfall on the budget.
For Immediate Release from Oklahoma Policy Institute: 
March 31, 2014 
Oklahoma Policy Institute Executive Director David Blatt released the following statement in response to the rally for education funding today at the State Capitol: 
The tens of thousands who rallied at the Capitol today should be a wake-up call to legislators. Almost no one is clamoring for another tax cut, but Oklahomans do want to restore our state's investment in education. The popular support for education funding matches what economic experts and business leaders say is most important to boost the economy. 
Lawmakers are considering automatic tax cuts that would be triggered whenever revenue grows modestly. But we need a better trigger. How about no more income tax cuts until per pupil funding climbs back to where it was in 2008? How about no tax cut until our teacher salaries are no longer among the lowest? How about no tax cut until our students are no longer being taught from outdated textbooks? How about no tax cut until our college graduation rate reaches the national average? The message from Oklahomans is clear: "Don’t cut our taxes until you fund the services we need." 
In comments at the rally, Blatt emphasized that choices made by legislators to repeatedly cut taxes and let tax breaks expand have contributed to the state's current budget problems. "If we can start making the right choices, the money will be there to do the things that we know will strengthen our schools and ensure the next generation has even greater opportunities than this one," he said.  
A full transcript of Blatt's remarks at the rally is available here.
A recent OK Policy issue brief laying out options for filling the state's budget hole is available here.

We are extremely fortunate in Oklahoma to have the non-partisan Oklahoma Policy which gives us facts not spin on what is happening which gives all of us the opportunity to make up our own minds.  When my son recommended Oklahoma Policy he did me a huge favor and been a fan ever since.

Education has always been near and dear to my heart and have spent countless hours volunteering in various places we have lived and have to admit I have never seen such an anti-education legislature I have seen with the Republicans here in Oklahoma.  Took me a long time to admit even here in Norman that the people against the school levies were Republican when I ran into problems because I supported school levies and bond issues while fellow Republicans at the time did not.  

Our children's education should NOT be a partisan issue but every child should have the right to a very high quality education.  When we moved to Oklahoma, I checked out schools and Norman came out so far ahead of anyplace else there was never a doubt we were moving here -- no place else in Oklahoma. Our state legislature should ensure that every student is afforded a first class education and that our teachers do not rank 49th out of 50 in teacher pay.  Maybe if the legislature quit wasting our tax dollars on social issues trying to determine how we live, we would have more money for education -- just a thought.

Something needs to change on education funding in Oklahoma.  If it doesn't, then we need to change who runs the legislature and state government.  

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