Community rally set to support teachers
Education • While not in support of a walkout, the rally aims to encourage the Legislature to act
A group of community leaders has planned a rally for noon Thursday to support Oklahoma teachers and encourage the Legislature to funding.
Speakers will include Mayor G.T. Bynum, City Councilor Phil Lakin, Gordy Guest, vice chairman of the Tulsa Regional Chamber of Commerce board, Booker T. Washington parent Mai Cazenave and Tulsa Public Schools board president Suzanne Schreiber.
Lakin told the Tulsa World on Tuesday that the rally was organized Sunday at a private meeting that included about 10 local officials including representatives from the Mayor's Office, TPS and Tulsa Regional Chamber.
The rally will be at the Williams Green downtown, 61 E. Third St.
Lakin said the rally is not in support of a teacher walkout.
“There are two things we are trying to do,” Lakin said. “We want trying to just generally show our support for our teachers . ... They have been shouldering this for our state while our Legislature has not made any advancements in how to reform education, how to cause pay increases, or educational budget changes, or anything else.
“The second point is to just encourage our Legislature to come up with some kind of plan before now and April 2.
“Because if they don't, the social and educational and economical impact could be disastrous in our state.”
Bynum said it's important to demonstrate that the issue isn't something that only educators care about.
“This isn't a policy dispute confined to the state Capitol,” the mayor said. “A quality education system is something all of us have a stake in, and my hope is that Oklahomans in cities across the state demonstrate
their support for our educators. In Tulsa, we want to show our teachers we have their back and honor their work.”
To help drive home that point, the mayor on Wednesday will ask the City Council to support a resolution expressing the importance of education and the need to properly fund it.
“The City of Tulsa implores the Oklahoma State Legislature to work urgently on behalf of the children and families in our state to take swift and meaningful action to develop a viable plan to pay teachers the professional salaries they deserve and to provide the additional support they need,” the resolution states.
The Tulsa School Board passed a similar resolution Monday, which said, in short, that it supported any advocacy efforts its teachers could undertake.
The board is also slated to consider authorizing Superintendent Deborah Gist to shut down school in the event of a walkout Thursday.