My four daughters’ future is worth a penny. And their future depends on me standing up, speaking out and advocating relentlessly for what they need and deserve in school.
I learned that from being in Stand for Children Oklahoma’s Stand UP program. During the six week course, I learned everything from how to speak with my daughters’ teachers and principal, to how to make sense of the state’s school report cards, to what it takes both at home and in school for my girls to be the first in our family to go to college.
When I walked across the stage on Oct. 27, shook Oklahoma City Superintendent Rob Neu’s hand, and received my Stand UP diploma with 26 other parents, my entire family applauded me. The sound of their and the audience’s loud claps, whistles, and cheers was thrilling. But it was the pride I saw in my girls’ faces I remember the most. Smiling from ear to ear, they were proud of me for caring enough about them to go through Stand UP. I also could see the wheels turning in their own minds about how one day it could be them walking across a stage and receiving a diploma.
It’s those dreams my daughters have for themselves and what I, too, dream for them that made me want to write this blog.
I know my daughters’ teachers and their principal are doing the best they can with the resources they have. But class sizes get bigger every year, and teaching shortages are getting worse here in Oklahoma City and across the state. Our schools are having to cut back on what they offer our children – at a time when it’s crucial they offer more, not less, if our kids are to be competitive. Teachers haven’t seen a raise from the state in nearly a decade and our schools are weakening right before our eyes, with major consequences for my daughters and all Oklahoma children.
I have heard people say we just need to be patient and things will maybe get better in a few years. I can’t accept that and no parent should. My oldest daughter is 10 now and she can’t afford for things to maybe get better four or five years from now. She only gets one shot at elementary school…at junior high…and it’s my responsibility and Oklahoma’s to give her and all children the best chance to be successful now – not years from now when it’s too late for them.
A quality education for all children means quality teachers in every classroom and lower class sizes. That means paying our teachers a decent salary and better supporting students in the classroom, and that is why I support a penny more in sales tax.
Our family lives on a fixed income so I know all too well the value of every dollar. But the reality is our teachers and students need immediate attention. The cost of Oklahoma doing nothing is much, much higher for my family than a penny here and there to ensure my daughters one day walk across a stage, get their high school diploma, and go to college.
So please join me and get involved with the citizens who are trying to get a penny sales tax for education to a vote of the people. Visit okchildrenourfuture.org and stand up, speak out and advocate relentlessly for our sons and daughters and for all Oklahoma children. Their future is our own.