This Immoral Measure Would Silence Your Voice

“What does it mean to be a superhero? We're all fighting for the better good. But, at the same time, I think what stands out is, as superheroes, you don't give up; you don't surrender. I think that's what makes a superhero.” Ellen Wong

Yesterday, I witnessed a blatant attempt to silence the voice of teachers and support professionals. The Oklahoma House of Representatives debated and passed HB 1749. This measure will eliminate an association’s members’ ability to payroll deduct their association dues. It was very clearly established during the debate that the only such association anyone could identify to meet the description in the bill was the Oklahoma Education Association.

The maker of the bill, Tom Newell (R, Seminole), said it was “morally wrong” to have schools deduct dues and then the teachers turn around and bargain against the school and then strike if we don’t get our way. (He doesn’t seem to know it is against the law for teachers to strike or that we bargain WITH - not against - our schools, but that is the subject for another blog.)

What really struck me as offensive were the words “morally wrong.” These words were used and repeated numerous times. So let me give you a list of some things I think are “morally wrong” when it comes to public education.

It’s “morally wrong”--

  • For our students to be 49th in the nation in per pupil expenditure.
  • For our teachers to be 49th in the nation in pay.
  • For our students to sit in overcrowded classrooms.
  • For our students to be tested to the point of tears and frustration.
  • For third graders to be labeled failures based on one high-stakes test given on one day.
  • For our students to use outdated text books and technology while our state cuts taxes.
  • For our state legislators to worry more about testing companies’ profits than they worry about our students.
  • For our state to propose eliminating Advanced Placement courses from our schools and try to control curriculum based on political ideology rather than academic truths.
  • For elected officials to try to use their position to silence citizens because the citizens don’t agree with them.

This list could go on and on, but you get the point. I DO NOT think it is “morally wrong” to payroll deduct dues. In yesterday’s debate, it was pointed out by the author that it wasn’t about cost since it really doesn’t cost the school - simply it’s “morally wrong.”

So this, my friends, is where you become the Superheroes yet again. You continue to educate our students day after day despite the “morally wrong” issues I listed. You continue to call your legislators with your concerns about what it’s like in the real world of public education. You speak up for your students because you are sometimes their only advocate. You don’t give up. You my friends are truly Superheroes, and you are appreciated. 


 

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