It was a battle between the gubernatorial candidates yesterday here in Norman.
After the teacher walkout in April, teachers in Oklahoma were given a $6,000 pay raise, but they said it just isn’t enough. Education funding remains a top issue in the Oklahoma governor’s race.
Gubernatorial candidates Kevin Stitt and Drew Edmondson faced off in a forum at Longfellow Middle School Sunday where they discussed their plans to strengthen education. The majority of teachers were there to support Edmondson.
“Number one, the pay raise is the first step in a series of pay raises. Number two, we’ve gotta bring down class sizes,” says Edmondson.
Renee Jerden, an Oklahoma choir teacher, voiced her support for Edmondson. “He’s just been really, really supportive of educators and everything that we stand for. He has our best interest and the best interest of students at heart, and he has proven it every step of the way.”
Stitt also expressed his plans to help teachers. “Forty other states used what’s called the Praxis test. I want to adopt the national test so that’ll make it easier to not only recruit more teachers in our state, but will reduce the regulations on the ones that are coming out of college,” says Stitt.
At the forum, education was clearly the main focus of attention. Dozens of teachers gathered to show their support for increased funding. Teachers formed the 11th Day Committee after the walkout hoping to continue to see improvements in the system.
“…Working on voter education, voter registration, making sure that there’s education readily available about the candidates that are available in our area,” says Jessica Farris, Gifted Resource Coordinator.
Teachers are hopeful that the activism they showed in last spring’s teacher walkout will carry over to the November election. Voting takes place November 6th from 7 a-m to 7 p-m.