Com­mu­nity rally set to sup­port teach­ers

Ed­u­ca­tion • While not in sup­port of a walk­out, the rally aims to en­cour­age the Leg­is­la­ture to act

Tulsa World - - Metro&region - By Kevin Can­field ad­dress ed­u­ca­tion

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.

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