It’s on, Oklahoma

The craziness of the season is definitely starting to settle in. There was not a moment from 7:50 AM to 4 PM when I didn’t have kids in the room. Don’t get me wrong–I am so grateful for their presence and for their determination. 

But I’m an introvert. 

I think that’s all I need to say about that. 

During my plan, I told the kids in my room that I needed to use the restroom (which was true). But I stayed in the stall long enough to read my devotional for the day from She Reads Truth. Yes. I locked myself in the stall so I could have five minutes. Best decision of the day. 

When I got back, it was time for class to start. I reviewed the Fundamental Theorem of Calculus with them today and then gave them some problems to work in class. Many commented about how the problems I wrote were really helping them finally grasp what I consider to be one of the greatest breakthroughs of mathematical history. 

Let me rewind there for just a moment, if you’ll allow me to rant. 

Did you notice something? The problems I wrote. I can’t find problems this contextually deep in our textbook. They don’t exist. Our textbook by no stretch of the imagination is adequate preparation for the AP Exam. So, I end up writing a lot of my own assignments and all my own assessments. And you know what? My pass rate for the AP Exam is between 80-90% (with almost 100% participation). For comparison, national pass rate last year was 57%. I credit much of my students’ success to the fact that I get to supplement a lot. Because my district has traditionally granted me as many copies as I need. 

Today I found out this will no longer be the case. We have been told no more copies, so don’t ask. And next year, plan on the same. You want to know why? Because our state. It’s in so much trouble–I cannot even begin to describe it to you. We’re forty-eighth in per-pupil spending on education; we have more incarcerated women per capita than any other state; second in teen pregnancy; fifth in obesity; and the list goes on. Don’t you think the answer to solving some of these problems is to invest in our future by properly funding educarion? Instead, we just keep electing men who are doing nothing to fix our budget crisis and everything to get re-elected in a state that only wants to cut taxes. Oklahoma, for the love of all that is holy, please stop voting strictly party line. All red all the time is not working for us. Look at these statistics. 

In comparison to most teachers in most districts, my problems are small potatoes. I have big classes so I have to hide in the restroom sometimes. I won’t get any more copies, but my family can afford to pay the $15/month to print from home and we’ll gladly do that.

But I work for a district that has saved money for literally two decades for such a time as this. And we’re still feeling the pain.  Most other districts are not this lucky. 

Yes, I’m one of the lucky ones. 

If you believe in the power of education and the power a teacher can have on students’ lives, then I am begging you: please speak up for us and please do your homework next election cycle. I ask that you don’t discredit someone just because s/he may identify with a party you’ve never sided with. It’s time to be creative and to try new things. The old is not working for us. 

I stand with our kids. 

I hope you will, too. 

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