I can't even begin to describe the thoughts that have swirling around in my head the past couple of days. Unless you have been living under a rock or you are just trying to avoid the bad news, it has been a rough couple of days for teachers in Oklahoma. We knew it was coming. We were prepared for it, as much as we could have been prepared for it. But I can tell you the shock of the revenue failure and 47 million dollar budget cut to PK-12 education news, I found myself without my unicorns and rainbows that others seem to love about me. I was mad, in fact I'm still mad. I'm completely to blame for this problem.
Before you say, "Oh no Meghan, don't blame yourself!" Well...I am. You see here is my confession, I never transferred over my voter registration from Arkansas to Oklahoma till recently. I didn't vote in the last election. Because I didn't vote, because I didn't show up and do my civic responsibly individuals that are making decisions that are hurting students and teachers are still in office. And again before you say..."Oh no Meghan, don't blame yourself!" Well as a teacher and as a citizen I had a responsibility to care for the well being of my students and I didn't do it. For that I feel guilty. While many of fellow Oklahoma Edu-Bloggers have shared their thoughts on the issues, I have remained silent because I simply felt too much anger and guilt. Anything that I would have written would have been a lie at best. I have no right to complain or be angry, because I did nothing. My apathy and laziness helped create the problem.
What I have to remember before I beat myself up too much, is it is time for me to move on. So I ask what's next? Where do I go from here? My first step, register to vote. Check. My second step, stop being silent. I have always loved the story of Esther and I came across this verse recently that really spoke to me, "For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father's family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?" Esther 4:14 Now I'm not saying that this funding crisis in education is exactly like the issues in the Book of Esther, but there is truth in this verse. We as educators can't remain silent anymore. We have to speak up and reach out. We have to get our voices heard. If we don't share our story, if we don't speak up for our students, nothing will change. Another truth, this is our "for such a time as this." We are in a crazy time, but we are here for this very reason. We are here to love, support, encourage, stand up, and show up for our students. We are teachers in Oklahoma right now, we should not be ashamed of it, but we should embrace it and do what is best for our students. Our time is now to make change, meaningful and lasting change. We must embrace our space and embrace our time.
Another what's next for me is coming from an idea sparked by Mid-Del Public Schools Superintendent and education blogger, Dr. Rick Cobb, gave a challenge to #GiveItBack. You see I'm going to be getting about 30 dollars back in my wonderful little tax cut, those 30 dollars are going straight to my school, where I know that they will be used to benefit the students in my school. I urge you do the same. Take that money and donate it to your local school district.
So maybe the past couple of days I have had some pretty sad unicorns and rainbows lately. However, my unicorns and rainbows are happy and passionate once again. I'm going to do what is best for my students and I'm going to speak out and stand up. That is my what's next.