Letter to OK Senate and House

I’m actually getting kind of tired of writing only about education issues. It’s Spring Break. I should be writing fun stuff. But the fight continues, and the Oklahoma Legislature seems determined to end public education.

Here’s the text of a letter I just sent to Sen. Anthony Sykes and Rep. Paul Wesselhoft. Very likely it will do as much good as farting at a tornado, but I had to try.

Sen. Sykes and Rep. Wesselhoft,

I am sorry I was unable to visit with either of you today when I was at the Capitol with the #oklaed group. I stopped by your offices, but you weren’t in. I am writing now to ask you to begin supporting public schools and public school teachers and students in Oklahoma.

As a public high school English teacher, I am asking you to support the new Oklahoma standards that were created by Oklahoma educators. One of the complaints I heard about the English standards was that they do not include reading lists for each grade. This is ridiculous. Schools very well may not possess the books listed on the standards, and Lord knows we can’t afford to buy new books with what the Legislature has done with the state’s money. Further, many inner-city school children are not reading at the same level as kids at, say, Southmoore. Did you know that OKCPS high school English teachers are not even allowed to teach novels? Having a required reading list wouldn’t do much good when the largest district in the state isn’t even reading long works.

I am also asking that you stop supporting the deregulation bills, SB 1187 and HB 3156. It pains me that I would even need to explain why. Do you really want to give cash-strapped school administrators the chance to fire experienced (and thus more expensive) teachers and replace them with uncertified minimum-wage “adjuncts” who could be felons since background checks wouldn’t be required? How about if we deregulate the Legislature, cut your pay and retirement and insurance, and let the people replace you at will? It shames me to know that members of my political party voted in favor of these two bills.

I suspect that, once again, I will get no response to my e-mail and the will of the people will be ignored. Perhaps Mr. Wesselhoft will even call me “ignorant and arrogant” again like he did on Facebook a few days ago. Still, I am making an effort to tell you what a voting resident of your district wants from you, his elected representatives. I think you’ll find that the majority of people in your district feel the same.

Steve Wedel
Moore, OK

Yes, Wesselhoft really did call me (and several of my friends and a former student who is smarter than he’ll ever be; and he misspelled her name) “ignorant and arrogant” when we criticized him for admitting he had not heard about SB 1187 and the controversy it was stirring up. Here’s the proof:


What’s funny (in a very sad way) is that I was ignorant. I had no idea Wesselhoft had already voted yes on HB 3156, which does exactly the same thing as SB 1187. Thank goodness he’s term-limited out this year.

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