I have decided to come out of blogger retirement because the next couple of days, weeks, and months will be so important to the State of Oklahoma. You have heard by now that if the Oklahoma State Legislature does not meet the April 1st budget deadline with a budget that includes a 10,000 dollar pay raise for teachers, 5,000 dollars for support staff, increased education funding and steady revenue streams, teachers across Oklahoma will be walking out and rally at the the capital until the legislature does their job.
Last week I was asked to speak on behalf of teachers in my district to our Board of Education as they considered a resolution to support teachers by suspending school in the event of a teacher walkout. Below is what I shared:
Good evening and thank you for allowing me this time to address you. My name is Meghan Loyd and I am the Choir Director at Midwest City High School. This would be much easier for me to sing this to you instead of speaking it, but I will save everyone from that tonight! I can tell you that I have wanted to be a teacher since my first day of kindergarten. I remember when I was in elementary school I would come home from school and play “teacher,” I would line up my stuffed animals and teach them what I had learned in school that day. Then I discovered music and fell in love. I know that I was meant to be a Choir teacher. I love my job, I love my students, I love my school, and I love my district. I do not want to walk out of school. I do not want to be away from my students. I want to know that they are safe and fed. However it has become apparent that after years of blogging, sending emails, making phone calls, lobbying, working on the campaigns for pro-education candidates and for pro-education state questions, we have come to the last option. It is scary. It is one thing that I never wanted it to come to, but this what we need to do.
This is more than just walk out for higher teacher pay, this is a walkout for the future of Oklahoma. There are some that will say that we are giving up on our students, but I believe that is false. We are walking because every student deserves a highly qualified certified teacher in their classrooms. We are walking because every student deserves up to date textbooks, not ones held together by tape and glue. We are walking because we want fully funded classrooms where teachers don’t have to worry about supplies, and we can focus on providing the highest quality of education for our students. We are walking because we are tired of seeing the best and brightest education majors leave this state for higher paying teaching jobs across the state line. We are walking for a pay raise for educators and support staff that is ten years overdue. I am walking for talented student musicians that I get to work with every single day.
I know that this is something that we would have hoped to avoid. However if the legislature fails to meet the April 1st budget deadline, with a budget that funds pay raises for not only teachers and support staff, and brings back common education funding to the 2008 levels, I ask that you, as the Mid-Del Public Schools Board of Education, vote to support teachers and staff in a work stoppage. I ask that you support us, as we go to the Capital and fight for our students. I know that this a scary thing, but I know we have reached a crossroads in Oklahoma’s history and I hope that Mid-Del will be on the right side of history.
In the meantime, I encourage everyone in this room to email, call, visit, and write to your legislators asking them to work together to meet the April 1st budget deadline, in hopes that we can prevent this work stoppage. I am not from Oklahoma, I’m from Arkansas. I could easily go home and teach in a position where I am paid more and be closer to my family, which my mother would love but I love Oklahoma, I love Midwest City, and this is my home. I am proud to be a Bomber!
Thank you for your time and thank you for service to the students, teachers, staff, parents, and community of Mid-Del Public Schools.