Tuesday, April 03, 2018

O-K-L-A-H-O-M-A! You're Not OK!-- A Guest Post From Tom Guild


Public education is a great egalitarian experiment. All children of all races, religions, socioeconomic backgrounds, and of varying abilities have access to a public education in America and in Oklahoma. Sadly, tragically really, the political ruling class has tarnished this noble experiment by benign neglect or with malicious intent. They have failed Oklahoma, K-12 education, higher education, Oklahoma’s educators, and most tragically Oklahoma’s children.

Oklahoma’s teachers are 49th nationally in salaries and haven’t had a pay raise in ten years. They are not treated with the respect warranted by their educational attainment, their professional status, their importance to Oklahoma’s future, not to mention the respect deserved by every single human being. Despite the neglect and disrespect and low pay, classroom teachers in Oklahoma have hung tough and only began flocking to other states with much higher salaries recently. They have tired of not being able to survive on their take home pay and often must take a second or third job to support themselves and their families. Their generosity in paying out of their pockets for materials to do their jobs and enhance educational opportunities for their students, has grown more difficult as their pay and financial support for public education have deteriorated for years.

While common education, higher education, and state employees have suffered, the upper crust has thrived under Oklahoma’s elitist political ruling class. Wealthy special interests like the Oklahoma fossil fuels industry has prospered and grown ever richer and increasingly sassy and demanding. In 2014, the Oklahoma State Legislature completely lost their moorings and reduced the oil and gas gross production tax (GPT) from 7 to 2%. At 7% it was already the lowest in the nation, even lower than Texas. This boneheaded move robbed the state budget annually of hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue, and greatly weakened public education, that was already in a devastated condition after years of neglect and starvation budgets. Higher education support has also been severely strained by the reduction in the GPT, coupled with massive reductions in the Oklahoma state income tax, heavily weighted to benefit the wealthiest Oklahomans. This adds insult to injury.

Now, Oklahoma teachers have walked off the job demanding higher salaries, money for their classrooms, pay raises for support staff, and additional money to increase the salaries of other state employees. Oklahoma teachers have and deserve widespread public support. They are the veritable canaries in the coal mine. Oklahoma is disastrously close to becoming the equivalent of a third world country. The Sooner State is in freefall and has been brought to its knees. We are tough. We survived the Dust Bowl. We survived the Great Depression. Can we survive the current ideologically rigid and regressive politicians leading us to oblivion? Hell, yes! They may have God’s unlisted phone number. We have each other, true grit, determination, love for our state and our fellow Oklahomans! We have a righteous cause! Things may turn ugly. We may go through bone crunching pain. It may get worse before it gets better. The peaceful political revolution has only just begun! We Shall Overcome!!

You will be fine again, Oklahoma! Oklahoma-- OK!!

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At 6:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

OK won't spend money on building tornado shelters for their students unless the mega churches pay for them. Are we going to see OK teachers get raises only if they praise JAY$u$$ on Sundays?

At 6:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

No, OK will not be ok again. The problem isn't that OK caters to the fascist interests and ignores all the rest of the people.
The problem is that the voters in OK are, bar none, the dumbest and most hateful in the nation who don't live in TX or AL.

If the schools all closed permanently and nobody's kids (outside of the very wealthy that have their private schools) got edumacated, I doubt that anyone could discern the difference. Between their micro-cephalitic parents and the intellect-destroying churches, those kids are destined to be either the custodians or televangelists of our future anyway.

At 4:14 PM, Anonymous Exit 135 said...

I was taken by the intelligence and grace of Estonia President Kersti Kaljulaid yesterday at the White House. trump looked like he needed to be sedated. She looked like a leader of a democratic country with democratic norms.

This is her on the role of education and science in her country.

"Not for me, but for Estonia. A small country has only one natural resource and it is located between our ears. That is completely clear. Therefore, education that is accessible to all children, regardless of their parents’ living or work choices, is a good thing – we have it today and we must keep it."

I would take her in a heartbeat to represent me. For it is about her country and its kids, not about her or the political elite.

Again her on one of the drivers of her economy: "However, it can be quite clearly said that democratic values ​​are available at any level of income."


At 7:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Clearly Estonian voters are at least twice as intelligent as americans.

That's what I've found in my international travels. I haven't been to all that many other places, but everywhere else I go, I find the people to be far more intelligent, thoughtful, conscientious, educated and friendly than in almost any place in the USA. Certainly, OK is fine if you're an ignorant white Christian zealot. If you're not ALL of those things, OK's fine ignorant white Christian zealots would just as soon see you die.


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