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Why We Left Oklahoma

"Why are you so vocal about the Oklahoma teacher walkout?" has been asked of me multiple times in the last 2 weeks. You are right, on the surface, it may seem a little strange that a Missouri-girl, non-teacher, would be so vocal about the walkout in Oklahoma. However, my husband & I were some of the first to "walkout" on Oklahoma schools. In the Spring of 2003, my husband was finishing up his undergrad degrees at Oklahoma State University (I had already graduated in 2001). During his final semester, while student teaching, we heard that the State Education Budget had been cut by $5 million dollars. We saw the writing on the wall. It would be an uphill battle for him entering a new teaching career. Schools had already begun cutting positions. He would be lucky to find a position and be paid a living wage. This was in 2003, before the Great Recession.

Most discussions of the 2018 teacher walkout looked at statistics going back to 2008. The reality is that this "walkout" has been going on much longer. Oklahoma State University gave us both a quality education that has served us well. We are & always will be proud to call ourselves "Cowboys." That loyalty wasn't enough to keep a talented new teacher in Oklahoma.

  • Pay your teachers what they are worth.

  • Invest in schools & you will have teachers worth investing in.

  • Support the next generation by supporting the teachers & schools.

Based on the behavior & budgeting of the Oklahoma legislature for the past 15 year (or more), all of those lines are just noise to them. The legislature & leadership of the state of Oklahoma has proven, year after year, that they simply do not care to make education a priority. That is why we left Oklahoma.

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