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Educators and parents speak out about state of schools as Governor Stitt prepares for state address

Posted at 8:43 PM, Feb 03, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-04 09:03:53-05

TULSA, Okla. — Many teachers tell 2 Works for You they're cautiously optimistic going into this year's legislative session.

Some are encouraged by the governor speaking out in support of education, while they prepare to ask for more.

"How do we define what top 10 is so we know what to work towards? Are we going to be top 10 in investment in education, are we looking at outcomes? How are those things related?" Union 6th/7th grade teacher Brendan Jarvis said.

Governor Stitt said in his inaugural address that government money alone is not the answer. Teachers replied saying additional funding is needed for Oklahoma to become a top 10 state.

"School districts really try to do the best they can with what they have. It's not that we're not out there trying. Things like class sizes take... it literally takes money to invest in our schools to bring those down," Jarvis said.

More families will be joing the conversation this year after the state launched its first Parent Legislative Action Committee. They plan to send delegates to the capitol twice a month during the session, and track bills aimed at increasing classroom funding.

"It feels like we have changed the narrative about education in Oklahoma. We're happy to support Governor Stitt's goal of making Oklahoma a top 10 state for education," PLAC officer Melissa Abdo said.

Educators said more lawmakers than ever attended forums across the state over the last month.

"They're asking us questions about how we feel which is a great thing to see. Teachers sometimes... we feel like we're left out of the conversation," Jarvis said.

The Oklahoma Education Association is asking for an additional $3,000 raise for teachers this year.

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