Editor’s Note: OKGrassroots will be releasing a feature series on Education Policy and the recent Election Cycle in Oklahoma. We will take time to explore ideological differences and how those are playing out in – not only the political realm – but the public square as well as we publish information we have collected on the ‘Teacher Caucus’. Not everyone in politics tells the truth. Not all sources are reliable. Do your own homework. Follow the money. OKGrassroots hopes these articles will help people to connect the dots and make informed choices at the ballot box. Decisions are still being made in run-offs around the state./sc
Here is article #1:
2016 Oklahoma “Teacher Caucus” Highlights, Parties, Ideals and Education Goals.
After the 2016 legislative session once again left public education activists disillusioned and frustrated by the lack of money allocated for public education and teacher’s raises, many banded together to identify and recruit as many ‘pro public education’ candidates for the 2016 election cycle as possible. Their efforts have media referring to them as the “Teacher Caucus”.
Frankly, this is great. Anyone not happy with their representative in government should run to be a representative of the people in government. It is important to note, however, that though the majority of the Oklahoma state budget goes toward education, there is more to governance of the state than education.
There’s also another issue at play here; a very large degree of partisanship.
Since the 1960’s and the Elementary and Secondary Education Act – legislation designed specifically to address civil rights issues in education via pouring money into state schools from the federal level to ‘fix’ poverty – public education in this country has become more and more progressive as a rule. This trend has played out in Oklahoma – with the help of social media – to the point that many noticed when the Oklahoma public education community fought parents to keep Common Core and against the teaching of Intelligent Design theory and actual history (over the now-sanitized, politically correct version found in AP courses) changes to the Oklahoma Academic Standards and, of course, school choice (and more school choice).
We are not ones to suggest stifling free speech in any measure. We truly believe people should be able to freely express their opinions and thoughts whether they agree with ours or not and we see the benefit of political parties and political action groups toward that end – as a way to express ideological differences.
It is important, however, to distinguish the difference between publishing ideological thoughts and opinions vs lies, half-truths and rhetoric. There is also a very large difference between condescending, demeaning, ad-hominem attacks and vigorous, open, civil debate.
In this quickly-becoming-populist era, it’s also important to point out, understand and accept that there are large ideological differences fomenting today between public education activists and those who identify as Conservatives and/or Republicans. In fact, the Oklahoma GOP platform – whether someone labeled as a ‘Republican’ admits to it, reads or follows it – has education planks against Common Core, for teaching competing ‘evolutionary’ theories, the teaching of accurate history and school choice.
True, in an ideal world, partisanship would have no part in the education of children, but, unfortunately, we’re not there yet and this trend is getting worse.
In a series of blogs over the next several weeks, we will take time to explore these ideological differences and how those are playing out in – not only the political realm – but the public square as well as we publish information we have collected on the ‘Teacher Caucus’.
I live in Bartlesville Oklahoma now, but I grew up in Texas. I was a cofounder of the Associated Conservatives of Texas in the 90's, serve on the Traveling Liberty Bell board, was a co-founder of R3publicans in 2008, Constitutional Liberty Coalition (a multistate effort) and OKGrassroots in 2009. We are working together to restore the republic and proclaim liberty throughout the land! Finding Gems & Sharing Them - my personal blog * R3publicans * OKGrassroots * Constitutional Liberty Coalition