By the Watchman
After decades of campaigning by the various teachers unions in the United States combined with the continuing decline of the quality of the education our children are receiving is it any wonder that the unions now want to take over state government. We think not. Do we feel the teachers have a legitimate complaint, the answer is yes? Do we feel that they are going about it the right way, the answer is no. We also wonder why they have ignored the repeated request for their backing from grass roots organizations trying to improve education in the state until now. We also wonder why they are going after the wrong target.
A recent report put out by the State Treasurer which you can read here State Treasurer's Report: Oklahoma's Recession Hits The 1-Year Mark | KGOU clearly indicates that the state of Oklahoma has been in a depression for at the minimum of a year. We encourage you to open this link and read the article for yourself. Everyone across the board took a cut in their budgets. Even education took a cut. Since the Democratic party is so much into paying their fair share why should you as teachers, followers of Alinski and Union members feel you should not have to pay your fair share? Wait I forgot. You're liberals. That only applies to Conservatives. How many people and especially teachers were aware of that? According to this report there is every indication that there will be less money available next year unless you take the time to identify the real problem and take it on.
Now we do understand zealous support of your favorite candidate or party. We found one blogger who happens to be a History teacher in the Tulsa Public School System who said this about himself "Tulsa area teacher, educational consultant and general inspirer of minds young and old. Everything I say is so wise even I can hardly believe it. Feel free to concur." We wonder if his self-centered attitude is also being used to teach his students. His name is Dallas Koehn and he writes Blue Cereal Education on facebook or @BlueCerealEdu on Twitter. From what we can see in his blogs is that he is a master of low blows and unfounded innuendos. We have been unable to find anything where he has documented his allegations.
There have been accusations of Political Party Switching during this campaign. Two races endorsed by OPE were prevented access to the State GOP data base because the GOP determined them to lack the necessary Republican Credentials in the race; Chuck Bretanus, running against Sean Roberts in HD 36 and Brian Jackson, running against Dan Newberry in SD 37. In Bretanus' case, the GOP was told by County Officials that the candidate had run as a Democrat in a recent election. In Jackson's case he had remarked that a Democrat would be better than Dan Newberry for the seat he himself was running for, according to Jake Parsons, Director of Operations at the State Republican Party. The sad thing was that he was right and Jackson is a long time staunch Republican.
Another show of zealous activism proved to be an outright lie. One supporter of a Teachers Caucus candidate posted an article claiming a candidate was a member of the KKK. The candidate addressed the situation here State Senate Candidate Holds Press Conference To Deny He's In The KKK… | The Lost Ogle. This was posted in an effort to get the other Republican candidate an edge in the race simply because they felt he was easier to defeat than the candidate in this article. It should be noted that the Democratic candidate for this office has made no attempt to reign in these false allegations made by his supporters. A stellar teacher he may be, but this indicates to us a lack of moral character.
The next article of interest we found was this Oklahoma Education Journal – "The Legislature shall establish and maintain a system of free public schools wherein all the chi. We won't deny that it does. A few of the arguments that the teacher's caucus has against some of the other grass roots organizations are arguments against homeschooling and school choice. These arguments are mute. Their real problem is it takes money away from the school. The reason parents are opting out of the traditional public school system should be obvious. Those that want school choice are looking to put their children into schools where they stand a better chance of being taught what they need to learn. The same applies to those parents that use homeschooling. We find it amusing that these alleged professional educators would take issue with a group that actually uses homeschooling, and the leader of the organization is a former educator.
The next article of interest we found was this 'The Teacher Caucus': Pro-public education candidates to file Wednesday for state legislative races - Tulsa World: Education . We found that this article was actually posted on the same day that the candidates filed for the respective offices they intended to run for. Never the less we will give them credit for applying even if they lack the basic understanding of where the true heart of the problem is. We must ask ourselves how they can fix a problem when they don't understand what the problem is.
The next article of interest we found was this Primary Election Whittles Down 'Teacher Caucus' | Oklahoma Watch. When you consider the short period of time that they put these campaigns together in, they faired very well. Fifteen of them won their party's nomination which included the ouster of two incumbents. Five more face a runoff election this month.
We did find another article on the primary elections that set a different tone on the races here How the teacher's caucus fared | News OK. There was not so much of a change in the outcome but in the way it was reported. It is worth opening both the links in this paragraph and the previous one to see the difference.
The next article of interest we found was thishttp://bluecerealeducation.com/blog/okelections16-republican-primary-runoffs-paul-blair-sd41. This educator must think he's a gift to the world. We understand being zealous about your candidate but if you are going to be zealous be correct. One other thing this article brings out is the apparent deep rooted dislike for candidates of the Christian faith from the Democratic Party.
There was another supporter of an Edmond candidate who posted the photographs in this article here State Senate Candidate Holds Press Conference To Deny He's In The KKK… | The Lost Ogle . The stated reason was to get Paul Blair out of the race because they felt that with him out of the race, the Democrat was a sure bet to win. Denigrating a man comes straight out of the Democratic Party Playbook. Just as a reminder, it was the Democratic Party that formed and supported the KKK.
The next item of interest we found was this. This is also from the Tulsa area educator and as usual there is nothing in the article that indicates anything but a total and complete dislike for the Republican Party. As an educator he is not living up to his vocation. Instead of downplaying everything the Republican Party does or every member of the party, he should try putting his skills to work by trying to educate the voters about the candidates in the race. That is far more useful than blowhard partisanship.
The next article of interest we found was this https://okeducationtruths.wordpress.com/2016/06/27/and-now-1-its-for-the-children/. If the teachers are doing this for the children then why is their number one priority a pay raise? You are using our children as a pawn in your quest for self-enrichment. Who are you trying to kid. What this amounts to is a pour and simple money grab, yet you still don't know where the money is going to come from. What a farce.
The next article we found made us wonder how many different groups were out there pushing teachers into politics. You can see a portion of it here. The portion indicated in this snippet was completely truthful and the numbers are correct.
The next article of interest we found made us think that they should change their name to okeducationhalftruths. You can see the article here
As we mentioned earlier in Mr. Jackson's case, he was denied access to Republican Party records for the district he sought. Jackson had stated that a Democrat would be a better choice than the incumbent for the seat he himself was running for, according to Jake Parsons, Director of Operations at the State Republican Party
The next article we found displays the complete lack of understanding and failure to want to work with groups outside of their own little umbrella. You can see it here They did so little research on this article that they failed to find the fact that the representatives from ROPE were all former educators themselves. They do not loathe public education. They want it to work. Their desire is that each and every child in the state of Oklahoma receives the best education possible. They were smart enough to realize that local control of individual school districts and education was slipping and being handed to the federal government. Of course those educators who didn't want to sit down and make the lesson plan were happy with the new program. It meant less work for them. It also meant the dumbing down of our children and our society. It was designed to turn this free nation into a totalitarian state. Is that what they really wanted?
We always give credit where credit is due. In this case the credit goes to Angela Clark Little, a mother in Edmond with children in school. She at least is trying to do something about the education system in Oklahoma as you can see here. We must ask where were you in 2010 when other grass roots organizations first started the fight to improve public education. What they have accomplished could have happened a lot sooner with your help and the help of those members of your group. It is still getting done, but it's taking a lot more time because of the lack of manpower.
The next article of interest we found was this Oklahoma lawmakers have plan to trim state tax credits, two top legislators say | News OK . Most of you are unaware that the legislature gives out almost two billion dollars a year in tax credits to various companies in the state. These are used as an incentive for coming into the state, expansion of operations or just hiring. Most of those tax credits go to companies that donate money to the campaign coffers of the politicians. During the last session of the State House and Senate they did keep their word sort of. They cut one hundred and eighty seven million dollars in tax credits. These people have no idea how it's supposed to work.
In order to understand how it's supposed to work you need to go to this portion of the Oklahoma State Constitution Article X, Oklahoma Constitution - Ballotpedia part 6b. There you will see there is a clear and definite sunset date on these tax credits. Some of the current tax credits have been running for decades. They have no way of telling how long a tax credit has been given to an individual organization. They failed to set up a way to track the tax credits.
One of the actions taken to look at tax credits was an interim study of the problem. You can see the report herehttps://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/279161/tax-credit-task-force-final-report.pdf. They met several times between session of the state Congress and all they could come up with was a six page report. That looks more like a reason to collect per-diem and party than it does to do an honest investigation of the problem. They wouldn't want to offend their campaign contributors now would they?
The next article of interest we found was this Governor Signs Dues-Collection Legislation Deemed Ambiguous if not Unconstitutional – Oklahoma Democratic Party. This is a law that the Governor signed that took the responsibility for paying union dues away from the state and made it the responsibility of the union member. Some teachers and their unions are upset about this. We ask why they should be. Are they afraid to accept a little responsibility for paying dues to an organization that the voluntarily chose to belong to? Oklahoma is after all one of almost half the states in the union that doesn't require you to belong to a union to work.
We would like to put one other scare tactic they are using to rest. This article is well worth opening and reading it for yourself State is not 49th in teacher payOCPA - Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs. The teachers and their union is going around claiming we are the forty ninth rated state in the union as far as anything goes in education. That is far from the truth. What numbers they are using are phony numbers generated from the U.S. Department of Education. In fact this organization did its own study last year comparing Oklahoma against every state that we share a common border with and came out ahead of three of them. There is room for improvement, but not at the expense of everyone else.
We sit here and see all this complaining about the legislature not giving the teachers a pay raise yet there is one item that they are not complaining about. How can the Tulsa Public Schools lay off 200 administrators and 142 teachers and turn around and lower the pay on 3 administrators while giving the rest a pay raise that amounts to a total of two hundred and ninety three thousand dollars? One would think that you need to look at your own administrations before looking at the state legislature.
In conclusion what we have here are some well-meaning people who feel that fixing the education funding is a simple matter of letting teachers run the state. These same people were asked to help many times in the pass but refused. They wanted to chart their own course. Well guess what people; you can't squeeze money out of an empty well. Mismanagement of the tax exemption program has allowed it to get completely out of control. The Teachers Caucus went into this campaign without properly identifying the problem and with no real plan to solve it. They claim it's for the children, but in reality it for the pay raise they want, and admittedly deserve. This loose confederation of various teacher sponsored groups need to re-evaluate why they are doing this and what they hope to accomplish. They need to show up and support some of these other grass roots organizations when they are at the capital trying to get you what you need.