When I revamped this blog, I did it with a focus of reflection on my teaching in mind. I wanted it to be a way to think more critically about what I was doing in the classroom, why, what I could try that was new to me, etc. I wasn’t concerned about readership. If people found my blog, and liked it, fine. I was doing this more for me (and ultimately my students) than for anyone else.
However, the events of the past couple of years or so (more accurately, the recent Oklahoma legislative session) have caused a shift in my focus. I’ve been outraged, disheartened, and inspired into writing posts that have a focus on what’s been going on legislatively.
Politics is not one of my strengths, but I’ve been learning as I go. I educated myself on legislation that I started catching wind on through social media. I utilized wonderful resources provided by news sources (too many to list, but I really like this one; it adds educator insights to news stories), bloggers (and here, here, here), and education groups (again, one of many, but one of my faves) to help learn about legislation and legislators.
I started off small. Last year as I came across legislation that was causing a stir in social media, I’d look into it for myself, then send off emails to legislators letting them know how I felt about the particular issue. It may seem like a small thing to do, but for me it was huge. I’m not confrontational by nature, but I felt strongly on a few issues and made my quiet voice heard (or attempted to anyway).
As things started quickly heating up at the Capitol this past session, I realized I just couldn’t remain quiet any longer. It wasn’t enough for me to just send a couple of emails. I needed to do more.
I flooded my social media with posts and tweets on some of the different education bills being sent through the legislature. I talked about what I’d learned with teachers at school to keep them informed. I continued to send emails to legislators. I joined several different Facebook pages that provide updates on what’s happening legislatively so I’m more informed. I even went to the Capitol to speak with legislators.
Needless to say, keeping up-to-date on everything became a bit of an obsession. I tend to get a little too worked up on things and had to make myself step away from the may lay from time to time to give myself a break and prevent myself from having a stroke by some of the idiocy going on in edu-politics. I sometimes wonder if I’m taking things a little too far with all that I do. But when one of the teachers in my building asked for my help and advice on how to become more involved, I knew I was doing something good.
This is what is needed — more people involved in the legislative process. We, as a people in general, have become pretty blasé about it all. We don’t seem to pay much attention. And when we do pay attention, it’s more to just gritch and moan about it rather than doing anything constructive. This just has to change.
We have that opportunity for REAL change in exactly one week on June 28 with the state primary elections. With so many edu-candidates in so many races, it is vital that you do your research on who is running, what their record is (if any), and, most importantly, SHOW UP AND VOTE! Make a day of it. Take friends and family along for the ride, and then celebrate exercising your civic duty by going out to eat wearing your ‘I Voted’ sticker proudly for all to see.
This truly is a chance for all of us, but especially in #oklaed, to help bring about real change. Change that could benefit our students and their future. It’s worth taking the time to go vote for them. For our own children and grandchildren. This really is the time for us to take it all.