Collinsville, Oklahoma
March 30, 2015
Oklahoma Education Rally
Teachers, Parents, & Students From Across The State Met At State Capitol For 2nd Year To Rally For Less State Testing And More Funding
First, a big thank you to Joe Landon and the American Bank of Oklahoma for chartering a bus to carry Collinsville teachers to the State Capitol at no expense to the school (again). Thank you to all that attended statewide, and thank you to our State Senator and Representative for taking the time to field the questions (and frustrations) of Collinsville educators and parents Monday March 30, 2015 in Oklahoma City. -- Ted Wright
State Senator Rick Brinkley (seated far left) fielded questions in a crowded State Capitol conference room from the Collinsville contingency that could fit into the room early Monday morning.
State Representative Earl Sears (standing right) was encircled by the same Collinsville group fielding questions about an hour later in an empty snack bar near his State Capitol office just before the "official" state-wide rally began outside on the Capitol grounds (facing the south steps) at 12:30pm.
Editorial / Ted Wright Personal Opinion: I doubt Senator Brinkley nor Representative Sears heard any "new" information or concerns Monday but couldn't avoid feeling the passion of the Collinsville educators and parents as they expressed their frustrations and desire for both immediate and long term solutions to the continued yearly funding cuts and excessive state mandated testing / evaluations / etc. I didn't hear answers from either Brinkley or Sears that there would be any significant funding improvements this year with state revenues down significantly as the oil/gas industry is declining. A flat public education budget is likely the best we can hope for this coming year with an assist from the state "rainy day" fund. There is hope that the legislature will approve allowing the state to use already required (and university accepted) ACT testing results and eliminate EOI testing. There were many other areas discussed incuding teacher shortages, vouchers, school district consolidation (there are 527 total with 24 in OKC), postponing state income tax cuts, and capping certain other non-education budgets (education is apparently already 52% of the total state budget including public, higher and technical schools). There seems to be universal agreements that the atmosphere of hope for Oklahoma Education has improved with the change in leadership at the State Department of Education. New State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister even addressed the rally at the capitol this year while her predecessor was notably absent last year. Education is not the only state funded priority and there are no clear black and white solutions when you are "robbing Peter to pay Paul" but I am hopeful that everyone in the state will work together to find better solutions to problems that continue to hinder the future of our youth and our economy with us old timers paying the taxes (at the city, county, state, and federal level). Today's students will continue to pay for our mistakes ... how long can we wait? And for better or worse, this state (and likely the nation) is "too closely reliant on" the oil/gas industry and our economy will contine to rise and fall with it, barring some significant far reaching changes in the future. -- Ted Wright 3/31/2015

Mustang School student Kiante Miles provided the highlight of the rally (in this KOCO video) with what he sees as the goal of Oklahoma education.

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Bus Load Of Collinsville Citizens Voiced Their Concerns