Open Letter to Oklahoma Voters and Lawmakers


I am a teacher. I teach English at the high school of an independent district within Oklahoma City. I love my job. I love your kids. I call them my kids. I keep blankets in my room for when they’re cold. I feed them peanut butter crackers, beef jerky, or Pop Tarts when Michelle Obama’s school breakfast or lunch isn’t enough to fill their bellies. I comfort them when they cry and I praise them when they do well and always I try to make them believe that they are somebody with unlimited potential no matter what they go home to when they leave me.

What do they go home to? Sometimes when they get sick at school they can’t go home because you and the person you’re currently shacking up with are too stoned to figure out it’s your phone ringing. Sometimes they go home to parents who don’t notice them, and those are often the lucky kids. Sometimes they go home to sleep on the neighbor’s back porch because your boyfriend kicked them out of the house and his dog is too mean to let them sleep on their own back porch. They go home to physical and verbal abuse. They go home looking for love and acceptance from the people who created them … and too often they don’t find it.

Many days your children bring the resentment they feel toward you to school with them and they act out against peers, property, or their teachers. When I call you I’m told, “When he’s at school he’s your problem.” Or you beat them, not for what they did, but because it embarrassed or inconvenienced you when I called.

Often, they stay at school with me for an hour and a half after the bell rings because they don’t want to go home to you. Reluctantly, they get on the two buses meant to take home students who stay for athletic practice, and they go away for a dark night in places I can’t imagine.

Over 90 percent of the kids in my high school are on the free or reduced lunch programs. The walk hand-in-hand with Poverty and its brother Violence. They find comfort in the arms of your lover, Addiction. They make babies before they are old enough to vote. Or drive. And they continue the cycle you put them in.

Sometimes I get through to a student and convince her that education is the way out of this spiral of poverty and despair. Then you slap them down for wanting to be better than you.

And you, the lawmakers of this state, you encourage it. I hold two college degrees and have been on my job for 10 years. I was our school’s Teacher of the Year in 2014. I teach kids to read the ballots that keep you in your elite position. I teach them to look behind your lies and rhetoric. I teach them to think for  themselves. The compensation of me and my colleagues ranks 49th in the nation, and is the lowest in our region. I currently earn about $18,000 per year less than I did in 2002, my last year as an office worker for an energy company that merged with another and eliminated my job. I feel like my life has purpose now, but, as I turn 50 this year and wonder how I’ll put my own high school-age kids through college, I have to consider giving up helping scores of kids per year so I can afford to give my own children what they need to find satisfaction in their lives.

And what do you do? You whittle away at education funding. You waste the taxpayers’ money so that our great state faces unbelievable shortfalls and massive budget cuts. You take home a salary that ranks 10th highest in the nation among state legislators and you are inept, uncaring, and an abomination to our democratic form of government.

Those kids who stay after school with me? After Spring Break 2016 they can’t do that. You see, our district can no longer afford to pay to run those late buses. Your kids wade through garbage in the halls because we had to release the custodial crew that cleaned at night. Oh sure, we could make the kids clean up after themselves, except our administrators live in fear of lawsuits, and making a kid pick up the lunch tray he threw on the floor has been considered forced child labor. There’s also the very real possibility that a belligerent kid will just take a swing at one of us — again — because he or she wasn’t taught respect for authority at home. Did I mention how we had to let go of our security officers because we could no longer afford them? We now share one single solitary Oklahoma County Sheriff’s deputy with our ninth grade center and our middle school and alternative school. That’s one deputy for about 1,300 students.

We can no longer afford rolls of colored paper or paint or tape to make signs to support and advertise our Student Council activities. This fall our football team won’t charge through a decorated banner as they take the field because we can’t afford to make the banner. There won’t be any new textbooks in the foreseeable future. Broken desks won’t be replaced. We’re about to ration copy paper and we’ve already had the desktop printers taken out of our rooms.

We live in fear that our colleagues will leave us, not just because they are our friends, but because the district wouldn’t replace them even if we could lure new teachers to our inner-city schools during the teacher shortage you have caused. We fear our classes doubling in size.

We fear becoming as ineffective as you are. Not because we can’t or won’t do our job, like you, but because you keep passing mandates to make us better while taking away all the resources we need just to maintain the status quo. We fear that our second jobs will prevent us from grading the papers or creating the lesson plans we already have to do from home. We fear our families will leave us because we don’t have time for them.

I am the chairman of my department. My teachers could easily take other jobs in the private sector where they would make more money, but so far they have chosen to remain teachers because they love working with kids. How long will they continue to put the needs of students over the needs of family? It’s something we’re all dealing with. How far will you push us? What will you do without us when we leave the classroom or leave the state? It’s happening. You know it’s happening, and yet you do nothing.

You, the representatives, senators, and governor of Oklahoma are creating a population of ignorant peasants fit only to work in the oil field and factories you bring to this state by promising those businesses won’t have to pay their fair share of taxes. You leave our kids in a cycle of poverty and abuse while your pet donor oil companies destroy the bedrock beneath us, shaking our homes to pieces while you deny your part in all of it.

Parents, I beg you to love your children the way we love your children. Vote for people who will help teachers educate and nurture the kids we share. We can’t do it alone anymore.


1,583 responses to “Open Letter to Oklahoma Voters and Lawmakers”

  1. I’m crying, deeply in my very core. The desperation of our life’s purpose, the quality of our children’s future. All hijacked. All stopped. Like it’s nothing.
    It’s nothing. Nothing to the people we hired and pay to do a job. To use the money collected from our work, our investment in our homes, our communities, even to the food necessary for our survival. They say that they are “Oh, so sorry, it’s so unfortunate” when they keep cutting, cutting, more, more, just another percentage of “the budget”, but they don’t stop doing it.
    Please share this. This is real. It’s really happening, right now, every day, until we call out these people, our elected officials. Until they are held responsible for the ruination of our educational system, a golden right promised to all citizens. But not in Oklahoma. We do not deserve this, not our children, nor our teachers.
    It’s time, past time, to confront and demand change from the State and the legislators who have failed us so utterly. Call, write, text, email, stand on the school grounds with signs!
    And thank you, Steven Wedel, for your persistence in teaching our children!

  2. I’m crying, deeply in my very core. The desperation of our life’s purpose, the quality of our children’s future. All hijacked. All stopped. Like it’s nothing.
    It’s nothing. Nothing to the people we hired and pay to do a job. To use the money collected from our work, our investment in our homes, our communities, even to the food necessary for our survival. They say that they are “Oh, so sorry, it’s so unfortunate” when they keep cutting, cutting, more, more, just another percentage of “the budget”, but they don’t stop doing it.
    Please share this. This is real. It’s really happening, right now, every day, until we call out these people, our elected officials. Until they are held responsible for the ruination of our educational system, a golden right promised to all citizens. But not in Oklahoma. We do not deserve this, not our children, nor our teachers.
    It’s time, past time, to confront and demand change from the State and the legislators who have failed us so utterly. Call, write, text, email, stand on the school grounds with signs!
    And thank you, Steven Wedel, for your persistence in teaching our children!

  3. Steve,

    We both were the father to my beautiful daughter Amanda…me at home and you, her school dad. Between the both of us, we did a good job. She is a 4.0 scholarship kid in the middle of her sophomore year in college. I credit you brother, as much as her parents for how well she is doing. She lived in my home, her mother’s home, Shannon’s home and your classroom. She credits you, Libby, and several others there as her reason for pursuing a degree in education. I am proud of her, and scared FOR her. Her intent is to come home to your district to teach. She considers it her legacy…her responsibility to pay back what was done for her…from Jodie Smith to Brian Jones to Steve Wedel.

    I earned my degree in education in 1987, yet have never been able to afford the opportunity to follow my passion for the classroom. I fear she may end up down the same path I did…not being able to follow her dream and make rent. I will continue to encourage her, as you still do, to follow her dream. It just breaks my heart to know her dream will require the level of personal sacrifice to make her world better, one student at a time.

    I cried as I read your post. I cry now as I respond. If there is ever anything I can do to help our WHHS family, you know how to reach me. Many of us would be happy to push a broom. Much love from a dedicated father and thankful parent.

    • Thank you, Bill. Amanda will be a fantastic teacher. However, as much as I miss her — and can only imagine how much you do — she would probably be better off staying in Arkansas. We need teachers like she’s going to become, but she’ll be putting herself behind if she returns to teach in Oklahoma unless something drastic happens.

    • Brother,

      This whole thing appears to have been picked up by News Channel 4. If you receive any threatening blow back from administration there, please reach out to a few of us privately. We can open up a whole can of “Crye Media Machine” whoop ass on this and really get the ball rolling. We love you and have your back.

      Bill

  4. Steve,

    We both were the father to my beautiful daughter Amanda…me at home and you, her school dad. Between the both of us, we did a good job. She is a 4.0 scholarship kid in the middle of her sophomore year in college. I credit you brother, as much as her parents for how well she is doing. She lived in my home, her mother’s home, Shannon’s home and your classroom. She credits you, Libby, and several others there as her reason for pursuing a degree in education. I am proud of her, and scared FOR her. Her intent is to come home to your district to teach. She considers it her legacy…her responsibility to pay back what was done for her…from Jodie Smith to Brian Jones to Steve Wedel.

    I earned my degree in education in 1987, yet have never been able to afford the opportunity to follow my passion for the classroom. I fear she may end up down the same path I did…not being able to follow her dream and make rent. I will continue to encourage her, as you still do, to follow her dream. It just breaks my heart to know her dream will require the level of personal sacrifice to make her world better, one student at a time.

    I cried as I read your post. I cry now as I respond. If there is ever anything I can do to help our WHHS family, you know how to reach me. Many of us would be happy to push a broom. Much love from a dedicated father and thankful parent.

    • Thank you, Bill. Amanda will be a fantastic teacher. However, as much as I miss her — and can only imagine how much you do — she would probably be better off staying in Arkansas. We need teachers like she’s going to become, but she’ll be putting herself behind if she returns to teach in Oklahoma unless something drastic happens.

    • Brother,

      This whole thing appears to have been picked up by News Channel 4. If you receive any threatening blow back from administration there, please reach out to a few of us privately. We can open up a whole can of “Crye Media Machine” whoop ass on this and really get the ball rolling. We love you and have your back.

      Bill

  5. Thank God for teachers like you. I am broken hearted about our education system. I am mad as hell at our state government leaders who have deliberately put our state in this position. And I am mostly worried about our kids, the future of our state and country. It’s time to get off our collective butts and stop this madness. Get out and Vote people into office that want to help our teachers, our state, and most importantly our children! This can’t wait…it has to happen NOW!

    • Thank you, Brenda, and I absolutely agree with you. People need to be angry when they vote this November. My school is only beginning to find ways to save money. I can’t even imagine what it’ll be like when the new school year starts.

  6. Thank God for teachers like you. I am broken hearted about our education system. I am mad as hell at our state government leaders who have deliberately put our state in this position. And I am mostly worried about our kids, the future of our state and country. It’s time to get off our collective butts and stop this madness. Get out and Vote people into office that want to help our teachers, our state, and most importantly our children! This can’t wait…it has to happen NOW!

    • Thank you, Brenda, and I absolutely agree with you. People need to be angry when they vote this November. My school is only beginning to find ways to save money. I can’t even imagine what it’ll be like when the new school year starts.

  7. Steven,

    Thank you so much for speaking out; I worked in public education years ago, and my wife works there now.

    I agree with almost everything you said, but I do disagree with one thing; the tone of your post (in my opinion) paints a picture of a state legislature that is ignorant or misguided. Nothing could be further from the truth – they are doing EXACTLY what they mean to do: Destroy public education so that the rich can use the tax dollars of the poor and working classes to educate their own kids for free.

    Every time we as an electorate vote “R”, we are furthering the creation of this plutocracy under the guise of voting for Jesus, or voting against those we hate (not that the “D’s” are much better, BTW – see H. Clinton).

    Our people are bankrupting the future of the children of the poor and middle class by electing the elite under the banner of voting for Jesus and voting against “lazy freeloaders”.

    • Kelly, I mostly agree with you. Maybe it’s a need to maintain my own sanity that makes me say I have to believe there are good Republicans as well as good Democrats who actually want to do what’s right. This doesn’t extend to Mary Fallin or many of the others. In some cases I have to think it is ignorance, because I was so ignorant about some issues before I saw them in person. Like immigration. I can see and often agree with the idea of closing our southern border. However, as I’ve posted here before, I have had amazing Hispanic students who find the chance to go to community college for free — something all legal citizen graduates at my high school get — denied to them because their parents brought them here, often before they were even school age. In some cases, I think educating our lawmakers would help. Many of them, however, simply do need to be removed before the damage is absolutely irrevocable.

  8. Steven,

    Thank you so much for speaking out; I worked in public education years ago, and my wife works there now.

    I agree with almost everything you said, but I do disagree with one thing; the tone of your post (in my opinion) paints a picture of a state legislature that is ignorant or misguided. Nothing could be further from the truth – they are doing EXACTLY what they mean to do: Destroy public education so that the rich can use the tax dollars of the poor and working classes to educate their own kids for free.

    Every time we as an electorate vote “R”, we are furthering the creation of this plutocracy under the guise of voting for Jesus, or voting against those we hate (not that the “D’s” are much better, BTW – see H. Clinton).

    Our people are bankrupting the future of the children of the poor and middle class by electing the elite under the banner of voting for Jesus and voting against “lazy freeloaders”.

    • Kelly, I mostly agree with you. Maybe it’s a need to maintain my own sanity that makes me say I have to believe there are good Republicans as well as good Democrats who actually want to do what’s right. This doesn’t extend to Mary Fallin or many of the others. In some cases I have to think it is ignorance, because I was so ignorant about some issues before I saw them in person. Like immigration. I can see and often agree with the idea of closing our southern border. However, as I’ve posted here before, I have had amazing Hispanic students who find the chance to go to community college for free — something all legal citizen graduates at my high school get — denied to them because their parents brought them here, often before they were even school age. In some cases, I think educating our lawmakers would help. Many of them, however, simply do need to be removed before the damage is absolutely irrevocable.

  9. The damage done to public education is a horror. Yet it cannot be forgotten or overlooked that as you martyr yourself here it’s the political party you support – locally and nationally – making strides in one of their key strategies that urges you to write this. You cut your own throat and jeopardized the future of the children you’re responsible for. Remember that.

    • I’m thankful somebody is keeping tabs on how I mark my ballots. Republicans are supposed to be the party of fiscal responsibility. They have failed miserably. But the answer is not the Democrats’ equality of outcome philosophy, either. The last state governor I actually vocally supported was Brad Henry, a Democrat whose wife was a teacher. I have never been a fan of Mary Fallin, a shrill, uncompromising, selfish woman who is too much like Hilary Clinton in my mind, just on the other side of the issues. Also, my intent was not to martyr myself. I have no intention of dying just yet. I’m not a great teacher. I have the ability to connect with kids on a personal level, but I am, at best, a mediocre teacher. I’ve known great teachers and wish I was one of them, but I’m not. I had no idea whatsoever this post would get the traction it’s gotten. Usually my blog gets as much traffic as a broken fruit stand along a deserted highway. Anyway, I always try to vote based on the issues I support (or don’t), not along party lines, so I do resent your comment that I have “cut [my] own throat and jeopardized the future of the children [I’m] responsible for.”

  10. The damage done to public education is a horror. Yet it cannot be forgotten or overlooked that as you martyr yourself here it’s the political party you support – locally and nationally – making strides in one of their key strategies that urges you to write this. You cut your own throat and jeopardized the future of the children you’re responsible for. Remember that.

    • I’m thankful somebody is keeping tabs on how I mark my ballots. Republicans are supposed to be the party of fiscal responsibility. They have failed miserably. But the answer is not the Democrats’ equality of outcome philosophy, either. The last state governor I actually vocally supported was Brad Henry, a Democrat whose wife was a teacher. I have never been a fan of Mary Fallin, a shrill, uncompromising, selfish woman who is too much like Hilary Clinton in my mind, just on the other side of the issues. Also, my intent was not to martyr myself. I have no intention of dying just yet. I’m not a great teacher. I have the ability to connect with kids on a personal level, but I am, at best, a mediocre teacher. I’ve known great teachers and wish I was one of them, but I’m not. I had no idea whatsoever this post would get the traction it’s gotten. Usually my blog gets as much traffic as a broken fruit stand along a deserted highway. Anyway, I always try to vote based on the issues I support (or don’t), not along party lines, so I do resent your comment that I have “cut [my] own throat and jeopardized the future of the children [I’m] responsible for.”

  11. Awesome description of what is happening in Oklahoma education. I retired in January from a small country school. I know several of the OKC schools have such an abundance of free-reduced lunches (portions are terrible for those hungry kids). Thanks you for being so wonderful and caring! There isn’t one legislature member who would last a week in a classroom! My prayers for all Oklahoma teachers!!!

  12. Awesome description of what is happening in Oklahoma education. I retired in January from a small country school. I know several of the OKC schools have such an abundance of free-reduced lunches (portions are terrible for those hungry kids). Thanks you for being so wonderful and caring! There isn’t one legislature member who would last a week in a classroom! My prayers for all Oklahoma teachers!!!

  13. You have done a remarkable job of telling how it is, and I thank you for working with our kids. I plan to share this post with my facebook friends. I am a retired teacher, and I feel your pain.

  14. You have done a remarkable job of telling how it is, and I thank you for working with our kids. I plan to share this post with my facebook friends. I am a retired teacher, and I feel your pain.

  15. Every word is true, but this letter will fall on very deaf ears. Like always the lawmakers will pass the buck onto someone or something else.. They believe they are god and can cause no harm to the pubic when in fact they are killing the people that don’t fit into there small super rich click..

  16. Every word is true, but this letter will fall on very deaf ears. Like always the lawmakers will pass the buck onto someone or something else.. They believe they are god and can cause no harm to the pubic when in fact they are killing the people that don’t fit into there small super rich click..

  17. I feel your pain. I work in child care and I see my tax money wasted on people who try to leave their children in my care for more than 10hrs a day even when they are. It working. These people ha e DHS Assistance help to pay for childcare. I’ve been in child care for 18 years and it gets worse every year. We have to take classes every year and have high standards to go by and we don’t get paid very well. It makes no sense that there is Pre-K at public schools when they can’t afford it. They need to go back to daycare where we teach them. We are on the federal food program that pays very little in return but expect you to buy certain items to feed the children. Most of it the children will not eat so they go hungry. The price of food is outrageous. I make good money yet I live in poverty. I may have to take a second job or other employment. I have to make my own children walk a mile to go to school and back. I can no longer afford child care even with a 75% discount. I love my daycare children and I miss them they are gone or I’m not there. I give them all the love that I ca. Because some don’t get enough at home. J.O.

  18. I feel your pain. I work in child care and I see my tax money wasted on people who try to leave their children in my care for more than 10hrs a day even when they are. It working. These people ha e DHS Assistance help to pay for childcare. I’ve been in child care for 18 years and it gets worse every year. We have to take classes every year and have high standards to go by and we don’t get paid very well. It makes no sense that there is Pre-K at public schools when they can’t afford it. They need to go back to daycare where we teach them. We are on the federal food program that pays very little in return but expect you to buy certain items to feed the children. Most of it the children will not eat so they go hungry. The price of food is outrageous. I make good money yet I live in poverty. I may have to take a second job or other employment. I have to make my own children walk a mile to go to school and back. I can no longer afford child care even with a 75% discount. I love my daycare children and I miss them they are gone or I’m not there. I give them all the love that I ca. Because some don’t get enough at home. J.O.

  19. While I am not a teacher I currently have a senior in high school and a sophomore. My children do not attend an OKC school but a small rural school in a town called Minco. I see teachers loving these children as you described and I see them loving my children. My children are one of the lucky few who have both parents at home and parents who stay involved in their school activities and work. My children are the lucky ones because my husband and I refuse to let them dwindle away to nothing. We encourage sports and/or band. We go to every event they have. We stay in contact with their teachers. We want to be the minority of parents who are involved. I thank you for your open letter and bringing to light what it’s actually like to teach these kids that have a self entitlement attitude. While I see kids (and adults) acting like everything should be handed to them and they shouldn’t have to work for anything, I’m glad my kids attend a school where this attitude is not tolerated. I’m for punishment to kids who misbehave, I’m for swats and punishment. Heck, my kid acts up make him pick up trash. Thank you for opening my eyes to what you go through on a daily basis but please know that there are parents like me who stand behind you and support you in everything you are trying to do for our kids. Thank you for the scarifies you have had to make to teach our children.

  20. While I am not a teacher I currently have a senior in high school and a sophomore. My children do not attend an OKC school but a small rural school in a town called Minco. I see teachers loving these children as you described and I see them loving my children. My children are one of the lucky few who have both parents at home and parents who stay involved in their school activities and work. My children are the lucky ones because my husband and I refuse to let them dwindle away to nothing. We encourage sports and/or band. We go to every event they have. We stay in contact with their teachers. We want to be the minority of parents who are involved. I thank you for your open letter and bringing to light what it’s actually like to teach these kids that have a self entitlement attitude. While I see kids (and adults) acting like everything should be handed to them and they shouldn’t have to work for anything, I’m glad my kids attend a school where this attitude is not tolerated. I’m for punishment to kids who misbehave, I’m for swats and punishment. Heck, my kid acts up make him pick up trash. Thank you for opening my eyes to what you go through on a daily basis but please know that there are parents like me who stand behind you and support you in everything you are trying to do for our kids. Thank you for the scarifies you have had to make to teach our children.

  21. Our teachers should not fear losing their health insurance or benefits. Our teachers should be treasured because they hold the our children’s future in their hands. It is a thankless job!

    It is hard to live in a state where our schools are facing such a huge crisis and you hear our governor and other leaders announcing their intentions to reduce income taxes and announcing a $125 million project to renovate the Capitol building. Not to mention listening to the proposed bills coming out of the Senate education committee. It is disheartening to hear the drivel that is coming out of the mouths of those in charge.

    I never thought of myself as a political person, but this is something that cannot be ignored. We must stand up for our teachers and our schools, and we must raise our voices. Apathy is getting us no where.

  22. Our teachers should not fear losing their health insurance or benefits. Our teachers should be treasured because they hold the our children’s future in their hands. It is a thankless job!

    It is hard to live in a state where our schools are facing such a huge crisis and you hear our governor and other leaders announcing their intentions to reduce income taxes and announcing a $125 million project to renovate the Capitol building. Not to mention listening to the proposed bills coming out of the Senate education committee. It is disheartening to hear the drivel that is coming out of the mouths of those in charge.

    I never thought of myself as a political person, but this is something that cannot be ignored. We must stand up for our teachers and our schools, and we must raise our voices. Apathy is getting us no where.

  23. What an eloquent and touching letter that I pray will touch the hearts of those in elected, government chairs who care enough to change the status quo. I substitute taught for a brief period and truly know that unless God has called you to teach these children, you can’t do it effectively. Thank you for your sacrifices and love for the children you touch! May God bless you. It’s unbelievable the financial state that our constituents have placed our schools, teachers, and children in. Be of good courage and press on. I will be praying for you and for an awakening of the good people of our state and county.

  24. What an eloquent and touching letter that I pray will touch the hearts of those in elected, government chairs who care enough to change the status quo. I substitute taught for a brief period and truly know that unless God has called you to teach these children, you can’t do it effectively. Thank you for your sacrifices and love for the children you touch! May God bless you. It’s unbelievable the financial state that our constituents have placed our schools, teachers, and children in. Be of good courage and press on. I will be praying for you and for an awakening of the good people of our state and county.

  25. Teachers all over are facing similar situations. Parents don’t respect teachers. Legislators don’t respect teachers. Thanks for putting words to the attitude that has permeated education!
    – HS Science teacher from Illinois

  26. Teachers all over are facing similar situations. Parents don’t respect teachers. Legislators don’t respect teachers. Thanks for putting words to the attitude that has permeated education!
    – HS Science teacher from Illinois

  27. Wedel you were such an amazing teacher when I went to school. Your an amazing person and you make a difference in all of those students, even some like me who never got the opportunity to have you as a teacher, but you would still help if we approached you. You never had better things to do, you were never came to school in a bad mood, you never took it out on us kids, and you never did just the bare minimum to keep your job. I admire you so much and I hope the other kids you’ve affected in life will do what they can to take your life lessons and apply them to a better world for our future generations. Thank you

  28. Wedel you were such an amazing teacher when I went to school. Your an amazing person and you make a difference in all of those students, even some like me who never got the opportunity to have you as a teacher, but you would still help if we approached you. You never had better things to do, you were never came to school in a bad mood, you never took it out on us kids, and you never did just the bare minimum to keep your job. I admire you so much and I hope the other kids you’ve affected in life will do what they can to take your life lessons and apply them to a better world for our future generations. Thank you

  29. I applaud you……you’ve said what every teacher in this state is feeling and thoroughly understands……may the force of this letter find it’s target……

  30. I applaud you……you’ve said what every teacher in this state is feeling and thoroughly understands……may the force of this letter find it’s target……

  31. This is hands-down the best letter I’ve ever read about the state of our education system. I am a retired teacher, and because my husband was able to support our family quite well, I did not have to lean on my salary for our family. I was one of the lucky ones; I could financially support the things my students needed, whether it was food, clothing, books, etc. However, it didn’t stop me from being furious with our so-called leaders for not providing what my fellow teachers needed and deserved. Thank you for so eloquently writing about what Oklahoma teachers must endure, and God bless you!

  32. This is hands-down the best letter I’ve ever read about the state of our education system. I am a retired teacher, and because my husband was able to support our family quite well, I did not have to lean on my salary for our family. I was one of the lucky ones; I could financially support the things my students needed, whether it was food, clothing, books, etc. However, it didn’t stop me from being furious with our so-called leaders for not providing what my fellow teachers needed and deserved. Thank you for so eloquently writing about what Oklahoma teachers must endure, and God bless you!

  33. You said everything that needed to be said….thank you….those of us working in Oklahoma schools hope someone hears you……I hope….we hope.

  34. You said everything that needed to be said….thank you….those of us working in Oklahoma schools hope someone hears you……I hope….we hope.

  35. Thank you, Steven, for speaking the heart of Oklahoma teachers who really do love our jobs, and our students, and just need so much support than we are getting. Well done. I hope it is read by the people who can do something about it, in hopes they will do something about it.

  36. Thank you, Steven, for speaking the heart of Oklahoma teachers who really do love our jobs, and our students, and just need so much support than we are getting. Well done. I hope it is read by the people who can do something about it, in hopes they will do something about it.

  37. Important question from a fellow mandatory reporter…did you report the instances of hunger/lack of food, fear of going home, and inability to contact legal guardian to the required agency? In our state, if a parent doesn’t pick a child up from school, doesn’t feed a child properly, etc…that is considered neglect. If we don’t report it, we can be held liable through fines.

    • Not every person in a position of trust shoves a needy child into the overworked/overwhelmed CPS office. Some actually care enough to DO something. This teacher is awesome and I only wish my children had had a teacher like him when they were in school. They might still be there today.

      Some parents, like myself, are unable to pay for things our children need. Things like coats in the wintertime and shoes. I home school my children now because the school system decided to call CPS on my then 2nd grader because he didn’t have a coat in 15 degree weather. They didn’t bother finding out that another kid had stolen it from him that morning and had thrown it out the window of the bus. I ended up having to go to court over this!

      Some teachers know that the childs family has it rough, financially and take time to do things for/ with these kids. Not because they are mandated to but because it’s the COMPASSIONATE thing to do. A mistreated child needs help, CPS sometimes can’t because of money or personnel issues. As a teacher, the first thing I did is ask the child what the home is like, in complete confidentiality. I told NO ONE unless the child was in danger. I built trust with these children and was the parent figure they didn’t have at home. Sometimes it’s as easy as opening your heart. Sometimes it’s the hardest thing you’ve ever done.

  38. Important question from a fellow mandatory reporter…did you report the instances of hunger/lack of food, fear of going home, and inability to contact legal guardian to the required agency? In our state, if a parent doesn’t pick a child up from school, doesn’t feed a child properly, etc…that is considered neglect. If we don’t report it, we can be held liable through fines.

    • Not every person in a position of trust shoves a needy child into the overworked/overwhelmed CPS office. Some actually care enough to DO something. This teacher is awesome and I only wish my children had had a teacher like him when they were in school. They might still be there today.

      Some parents, like myself, are unable to pay for things our children need. Things like coats in the wintertime and shoes. I home school my children now because the school system decided to call CPS on my then 2nd grader because he didn’t have a coat in 15 degree weather. They didn’t bother finding out that another kid had stolen it from him that morning and had thrown it out the window of the bus. I ended up having to go to court over this!

      Some teachers know that the childs family has it rough, financially and take time to do things for/ with these kids. Not because they are mandated to but because it’s the COMPASSIONATE thing to do. A mistreated child needs help, CPS sometimes can’t because of money or personnel issues. As a teacher, the first thing I did is ask the child what the home is like, in complete confidentiality. I told NO ONE unless the child was in danger. I built trust with these children and was the parent figure they didn’t have at home. Sometimes it’s as easy as opening your heart. Sometimes it’s the hardest thing you’ve ever done.

  39. I just wished we had more teacher’s like you sir, that honestly cared for our kids. Unfortunately my kids are in a school system that ranks the worst in this State! in this so far behind times, not only on a technical level, but financial as well. I have seen my State continually lose touch with reality! And become poor! We have little infrastructure here, yet we can pay 23 year old men millions of dollars to play basketball, in a city no where near big enough to support that kind of financial burden. However we can’t afford to give our kids a decent education, makes me sick! Oklahoma Government officials on every single level have lost touch with reality. If the American people won’t stand up, then our kids will have nothing to fight for!

  40. I just wished we had more teacher’s like you sir, that honestly cared for our kids. Unfortunately my kids are in a school system that ranks the worst in this State! in this so far behind times, not only on a technical level, but financial as well. I have seen my State continually lose touch with reality! And become poor! We have little infrastructure here, yet we can pay 23 year old men millions of dollars to play basketball, in a city no where near big enough to support that kind of financial burden. However we can’t afford to give our kids a decent education, makes me sick! Oklahoma Government officials on every single level have lost touch with reality. If the American people won’t stand up, then our kids will have nothing to fight for!

  41. Your comments are great, but get out and vote the bastards out. Our State is becoming a joke because of the idiots we elect and the laws they pass. Tax breaks for the richest people and corporations, no matter the harm to our children and the education system we so desperately need to improve. All the time claiming they stand for family values. Maybe for their families but not yours. Vote Tuesday and make it count, because they sure will.

  42. Your comments are great, but get out and vote the bastards out. Our State is becoming a joke because of the idiots we elect and the laws they pass. Tax breaks for the richest people and corporations, no matter the harm to our children and the education system we so desperately need to improve. All the time claiming they stand for family values. Maybe for their families but not yours. Vote Tuesday and make it count, because they sure will.

  43. Amazingly said! All truth. Teachers like you are the ones who count in each of those children’s life. You make a difference to the children who are living with the circumstances you named. God bless you!

  44. Amazingly said! All truth. Teachers like you are the ones who count in each of those children’s life. You make a difference to the children who are living with the circumstances you named. God bless you!

  45. It is time to force the legislature, governor, parents, and citizens to fund education. I am a retired teacher…35 years in HS English..I think it is time for teachers to walk away from our classrooms in order to properly educate our kids. There is no other way to be heard.

  46. It is time to force the legislature, governor, parents, and citizens to fund education. I am a retired teacher…35 years in HS English..I think it is time for teachers to walk away from our classrooms in order to properly educate our kids. There is no other way to be heard.

  47. I believe it has gone viral. I feel the exact same way you do here in NC. Best of luck getting your state and community to love and support your kids; I know I continue to wish ours cared about them as much as I do.

  48. I believe it has gone viral. I feel the exact same way you do here in NC. Best of luck getting your state and community to love and support your kids; I know I continue to wish ours cared about them as much as I do.

  49. As a resident of Wisconsin, we witnessed this time and again. I have to take this with a grain of salt because I don’t know how your salary relates to the children’s resources directly. We’ve all been dinged in this Obama Economy.
    Something that always makes me bitter is when an instructor tries to make a legitimate point, yet goes on a political tangent. By the way, I had to pay my own way and my child will have to pay his. Introduce your children to the grant process. Obama has also taken over educational lending, so there’s that as well.
    Have a nice day and many applause on the few you’ve had an impact on! We need more dedicated to the profession that will do that no matter what!

    • Get you head out of your —, Wisconsin. Your name on your comment tells me a lot about your political bias. We are talking about elementary and secondary education, which is supposed to be free to every child. We are not speaking about college grants or educational loans. As far as your grain of salt comment, most teachers I know use part of their meager salaries to buy school supplies for their students that can’t afford them. Teachers are overworked, underpaid and in many cases under appreciated. Think for yourself and try not to blame everything on President Obama.

      • I’ll give you under paid and under appreciated but over worked? They get 2 months off in the summer and nearly 3 weeks in they year. Also a lot of schools start at 8 and end at 3-3:45. I wouldn’t say that’s a bad gig. Yes it’s hard but their hours are pretty good and summer jobs are out there.

        • Not married to a teacher are you? Class room time, 8 to 3:45, and then lesson plans, grading papers, doing administrative work, possibly putting in time at a school event (sports, debate, band, etc.). During that two month vacation there is often continuing education or work to maintain their certification. Just ask a teacher.

  50. As a resident of Wisconsin, we witnessed this time and again. I have to take this with a grain of salt because I don’t know how your salary relates to the children’s resources directly. We’ve all been dinged in this Obama Economy.
    Something that always makes me bitter is when an instructor tries to make a legitimate point, yet goes on a political tangent. By the way, I had to pay my own way and my child will have to pay his. Introduce your children to the grant process. Obama has also taken over educational lending, so there’s that as well.
    Have a nice day and many applause on the few you’ve had an impact on! We need more dedicated to the profession that will do that no matter what!

    • Get you head out of your —, Wisconsin. Your name on your comment tells me a lot about your political bias. We are talking about elementary and secondary education, which is supposed to be free to every child. We are not speaking about college grants or educational loans. As far as your grain of salt comment, most teachers I know use part of their meager salaries to buy school supplies for their students that can’t afford them. Teachers are overworked, underpaid and in many cases under appreciated. Think for yourself and try not to blame everything on President Obama.

      • I’ll give you under paid and under appreciated but over worked? They get 2 months off in the summer and nearly 3 weeks in they year. Also a lot of schools start at 8 and end at 3-3:45. I wouldn’t say that’s a bad gig. Yes it’s hard but their hours are pretty good and summer jobs are out there.

        • Not married to a teacher are you? Class room time, 8 to 3:45, and then lesson plans, grading papers, doing administrative work, possibly putting in time at a school event (sports, debate, band, etc.). During that two month vacation there is often continuing education or work to maintain their certification. Just ask a teacher.

  51. Wow…just wow! I can’t even imagine the struggle you, your teachers, and your students are facing. This makes me so sad. And scared.
    As a parent of elementary aged children and a voter, I want to make a difference. However, I don’t even know where to begin. How do we know, when voting at the polls, who will best help our wonderful teachers and the children you nurture? So many candidates say that education is a priority – but then we find ourselves in the situation we are at present. It’s hard not knowing who to trust.

  52. Wow…just wow! I can’t even imagine the struggle you, your teachers, and your students are facing. This makes me so sad. And scared.
    As a parent of elementary aged children and a voter, I want to make a difference. However, I don’t even know where to begin. How do we know, when voting at the polls, who will best help our wonderful teachers and the children you nurture? So many candidates say that education is a priority – but then we find ourselves in the situation we are at present. It’s hard not knowing who to trust.

  53. I am glad you had the courage to speak your mind. I feel that education is a way we can elevate our children from poverty. I am a nurse with a disable husband. I had to work 3 jobs most of my career just to make ends meet with our economy and ensure my children had a great education. I was one of those parents that spent most of my free time at school with my children. I saw other people children just like what you had mention. I was consider Momma to more than my own children with mentoring them. My children are now also grown. I have five, One engineering assisted, electrician, dental hygienist, one graduating mechanical engineering and my baby starting electrical engineering next semester. I am also in school to continuing my education in mater program in Nursing education so I can give back to nursing. I commend you in your job and hope you continually push our children to be better. I plan to help as many of our children in the state of Alabama I can to succeed to be better than me. J Pearson RN

  54. I am glad you had the courage to speak your mind. I feel that education is a way we can elevate our children from poverty. I am a nurse with a disable husband. I had to work 3 jobs most of my career just to make ends meet with our economy and ensure my children had a great education. I was one of those parents that spent most of my free time at school with my children. I saw other people children just like what you had mention. I was consider Momma to more than my own children with mentoring them. My children are now also grown. I have five, One engineering assisted, electrician, dental hygienist, one graduating mechanical engineering and my baby starting electrical engineering next semester. I am also in school to continuing my education in mater program in Nursing education so I can give back to nursing. I commend you in your job and hope you continually push our children to be better. I plan to help as many of our children in the state of Alabama I can to succeed to be better than me. J Pearson RN

  55. I applaud you for this truth you have unfolded and I can add the same holds true for mental health therapists in Oklahoma. We are slowly being rendered ineffective due to large case loads, no supplies, limited salaries, no benefits making it difficult to treat the issues carried by our children. I am not sure I can afford to give anymore.

  56. I applaud you for this truth you have unfolded and I can add the same holds true for mental health therapists in Oklahoma. We are slowly being rendered ineffective due to large case loads, no supplies, limited salaries, no benefits making it difficult to treat the issues carried by our children. I am not sure I can afford to give anymore.

  57. I can really feel you on just about everything you say, I do not agree with you blaming Michelle Obama’s lunches for the kids starving now that’s ludicrous, it’s the parents responsibility to make sure their kids are not starving. I don’t see anything wrong with making healthy lunches. There are way too many obese kids. The blame should be on Grand Old Mary Fallen for all the budget cuts, no raises where is the money going?

  58. I can really feel you on just about everything you say, I do not agree with you blaming Michelle Obama’s lunches for the kids starving now that’s ludicrous, it’s the parents responsibility to make sure their kids are not starving. I don’t see anything wrong with making healthy lunches. There are way too many obese kids. The blame should be on Grand Old Mary Fallen for all the budget cuts, no raises where is the money going?

  59. Face it, education is passe. A kid in school these days has three choices upon his/her exit:
    1) Go to college and amass a crippling amount of debt.
    2) Enter the military and be sacrificed to the war machine, but glorified as a war hero.
    3) Go to jail

    Children are a commodity in this brave new world. They aren’t here to further our civilization anymore; they are pawns to be played where they can be used to profit someone else. I can’t imagine raising a kid these days. Even the best parent is waging an uphill battle

  60. Face it, education is passe. A kid in school these days has three choices upon his/her exit:
    1) Go to college and amass a crippling amount of debt.
    2) Enter the military and be sacrificed to the war machine, but glorified as a war hero.
    3) Go to jail

    Children are a commodity in this brave new world. They aren’t here to further our civilization anymore; they are pawns to be played where they can be used to profit someone else. I can’t imagine raising a kid these days. Even the best parent is waging an uphill battle

  61. Mr. Wedel I applaud you for taking a stand. I also love your love for our kids. Thank you for pointing out what many know yet refuse to face. Thank you for being a role model!

  62. Mr. Wedel I applaud you for taking a stand. I also love your love for our kids. Thank you for pointing out what many know yet refuse to face. Thank you for being a role model!

  63. Amen, brother! Having taught in inner city schools with from 27 to 39 kids in a class, in the primary grades, I can validate much of what you have said…However, there were equal numbers of kiddos with loving, responsible parents who were busy working 2&3 minimum wage jobs just to remain at functional poverty level, as opposed to indigent, and keep ANY kind of roof over their heads, even if that roof were on a vehicle. NO ONE has a clear understanding of the inequities in this country until you have taught in a classroom. Years ago, whilst teaching a very needy and tender 2nd grade class, I missed one day of school mid-year, for a doctor’s visit with my 6-month-old son. Upon my return, I was told that one of my students, parentless and living with a very overburdened relative, crawled under a table, curled in a fetal position crying for “Mrs. Audet…my teacher…where is my teacher?” She remained in that position for hours. I never missed another day that year. Yet, I, too, may have to leave my profession to seek a career which can help my youngest through college and ensure that, as I reach retirement, I can avoid the same fate, poverty, as many of my students face. I, too, work summer school and have a retail job to just stay afloat. I also spend far more on my classroom than does the school. As do most teachers. Who pays field trip fees for those who can’t? Who buys birthday gifts for those who won’t receive one if you don’t? But there is so much more to rejoice in when you teach. And rejoice I shall…because I don’t spend my days making things, or making lots of money…i make life matter to lives that matter…I love my job and treasure it every day, because one day I may be forced to leave it.

  64. Amen, brother! Having taught in inner city schools with from 27 to 39 kids in a class, in the primary grades, I can validate much of what you have said…However, there were equal numbers of kiddos with loving, responsible parents who were busy working 2&3 minimum wage jobs just to remain at functional poverty level, as opposed to indigent, and keep ANY kind of roof over their heads, even if that roof were on a vehicle. NO ONE has a clear understanding of the inequities in this country until you have taught in a classroom. Years ago, whilst teaching a very needy and tender 2nd grade class, I missed one day of school mid-year, for a doctor’s visit with my 6-month-old son. Upon my return, I was told that one of my students, parentless and living with a very overburdened relative, crawled under a table, curled in a fetal position crying for “Mrs. Audet…my teacher…where is my teacher?” She remained in that position for hours. I never missed another day that year. Yet, I, too, may have to leave my profession to seek a career which can help my youngest through college and ensure that, as I reach retirement, I can avoid the same fate, poverty, as many of my students face. I, too, work summer school and have a retail job to just stay afloat. I also spend far more on my classroom than does the school. As do most teachers. Who pays field trip fees for those who can’t? Who buys birthday gifts for those who won’t receive one if you don’t? But there is so much more to rejoice in when you teach. And rejoice I shall…because I don’t spend my days making things, or making lots of money…i make life matter to lives that matter…I love my job and treasure it every day, because one day I may be forced to leave it.

  65. I hear your pain. Several years ago my husband drove a school bus for Union Schools in Tulsa. He loved his job, and the kids loved him. The little kids wanted hugs every morning, but rules were set to eliminate hugs. Hugs that kids didn’t get at home. I was going to teach in KC in the early 70s. Already there were security guards. I didn’t grow up that way. I never taught high school English as I had planned. I understand your dilemma and I so hope things change and improve for the teachers sake and the students. We are dumbing down our kids and letting techy things take ovet. God speed.

  66. I hear your pain. Several years ago my husband drove a school bus for Union Schools in Tulsa. He loved his job, and the kids loved him. The little kids wanted hugs every morning, but rules were set to eliminate hugs. Hugs that kids didn’t get at home. I was going to teach in KC in the early 70s. Already there were security guards. I didn’t grow up that way. I never taught high school English as I had planned. I understand your dilemma and I so hope things change and improve for the teachers sake and the students. We are dumbing down our kids and letting techy things take ovet. God speed.

  67. Steven I admire what you have written and I know there are hundreds of teachers who would echo your words. I cannot imagine being a teacher in today’s world (I also can’t imagine people who opt for being police officers) — families aren’t “families” any longer and children are the ones suffering the consequences. I am in my 80’s and I grew up in quite a few different schools across the country. Every teacher I had were kind and considerate, we had no “Common Core”, no tests every other day to see if YOU our teachers were teaching correctly or we children were learning what we should. Just plain good old “Three R’s” — yes a few problem kids in school acting out but not what you are faced with every day. School was fun, learning was fun and our teachers were great! Our world is no longer the wonderful way it was years ago. No decent people to even vote for any more. I live in Wyoming but I’m sure many problems are the same countrywide. Please keep on doing what you are doing — even if you succeed in helping ONE of your students become great — you have done your job, sir. I commend you, Steven!

  68. Steven I admire what you have written and I know there are hundreds of teachers who would echo your words. I cannot imagine being a teacher in today’s world (I also can’t imagine people who opt for being police officers) — families aren’t “families” any longer and children are the ones suffering the consequences. I am in my 80’s and I grew up in quite a few different schools across the country. Every teacher I had were kind and considerate, we had no “Common Core”, no tests every other day to see if YOU our teachers were teaching correctly or we children were learning what we should. Just plain good old “Three R’s” — yes a few problem kids in school acting out but not what you are faced with every day. School was fun, learning was fun and our teachers were great! Our world is no longer the wonderful way it was years ago. No decent people to even vote for any more. I live in Wyoming but I’m sure many problems are the same countrywide. Please keep on doing what you are doing — even if you succeed in helping ONE of your students become great — you have done your job, sir. I commend you, Steven!

  69. Thank you for your heart and your stand! I promise to contact each of my elected officials and let them know that I too believe they are a disgrace and demand accountability of what they have done and are currently doing to better the pay of teachers and to provide adequate funding. Lack of action for either is the same as child abuse. Stand tall!

  70. Thank you for your heart and your stand! I promise to contact each of my elected officials and let them know that I too believe they are a disgrace and demand accountability of what they have done and are currently doing to better the pay of teachers and to provide adequate funding. Lack of action for either is the same as child abuse. Stand tall!

  71. I was a perpetually homeless young lady but thankfully, not because of drug abuse. My Dad was a Vietnam Vet and he was badly damaged after the War. So while we lived in great poverty, I always had my parents. I know the schools you talk about because they were my schools. I shared last week with my now 21 yo, Senior at UCCS, that in 6th grade, my glasses did not have any arms on either side and i kept them on my face with string which went over both my ears. i was in 6th grade. My teacher noticed that I was ashamed and hiding and he asked me to go to him. For years, the expression on his face when he looked at me I interpreted as disgust and it followed me. But as i grew older, i understood that it was less about disgust toward me but more disgust toward society in general and his inability to do more than he could. I had many teachers who helped me. My music teacher was a black man and even though i was white, he was kind and patient with me. He allowed me use of his room in high school when i needed to just get away. Years later, i realized that the reason he never stayed in the same room alone instead going to the teachers area was because of hateful people who could only see ugly things in his kind gesture. I ended up in the Marine Corps and then later Clemson University. My son is now 21 and I’m so very proud of him as he wants to go on for his Masters. I know the children you speak about and the heartache. But sometimes it only takes one hand to reach out that prevents another from falling into the abyss. Thank you.

  72. I was a perpetually homeless young lady but thankfully, not because of drug abuse. My Dad was a Vietnam Vet and he was badly damaged after the War. So while we lived in great poverty, I always had my parents. I know the schools you talk about because they were my schools. I shared last week with my now 21 yo, Senior at UCCS, that in 6th grade, my glasses did not have any arms on either side and i kept them on my face with string which went over both my ears. i was in 6th grade. My teacher noticed that I was ashamed and hiding and he asked me to go to him. For years, the expression on his face when he looked at me I interpreted as disgust and it followed me. But as i grew older, i understood that it was less about disgust toward me but more disgust toward society in general and his inability to do more than he could. I had many teachers who helped me. My music teacher was a black man and even though i was white, he was kind and patient with me. He allowed me use of his room in high school when i needed to just get away. Years later, i realized that the reason he never stayed in the same room alone instead going to the teachers area was because of hateful people who could only see ugly things in his kind gesture. I ended up in the Marine Corps and then later Clemson University. My son is now 21 and I’m so very proud of him as he wants to go on for his Masters. I know the children you speak about and the heartache. But sometimes it only takes one hand to reach out that prevents another from falling into the abyss. Thank you.

  73. I think I found the problem on the political side:

    “Today, Oklahoma’s federal representation and statewide offices are all held by the Republican Party, which also holds supermajorities in both chambers of the state Legislature.”

    From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Politics_of_Oklahoma

    When will the people realize that the GOP is not there to help you? They are there to cut taxes for the wealthy and help big business. Period.

    • Democrats are no different. Once they assume the office it becomes a game of “me me me” no matter which party is in charge. There are no good politicians, anymore.

      • Is this what you tell yourself so you don’t feel guilty voting for GOP candidates? Because it’s not true they’re the same. There are problems on both sides of the isle, but they are different problems.

        Until the voters in this country realize this, they will continued to experience problems like the good teacher wrote about.

  74. I think I found the problem on the political side:

    “Today, Oklahoma’s federal representation and statewide offices are all held by the Republican Party, which also holds supermajorities in both chambers of the state Legislature.”

    From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Politics_of_Oklahoma

    When will the people realize that the GOP is not there to help you? They are there to cut taxes for the wealthy and help big business. Period.

    • Democrats are no different. Once they assume the office it becomes a game of “me me me” no matter which party is in charge. There are no good politicians, anymore.

      • Is this what you tell yourself so you don’t feel guilty voting for GOP candidates? Because it’s not true they’re the same. There are problems on both sides of the isle, but they are different problems.

        Until the voters in this country realize this, they will continued to experience problems like the good teacher wrote about.

  75. Bravo, sir. I hope this letter get the attention it deserves, and your school district and others like it gets the help it needs

  76. Bravo, sir. I hope this letter get the attention it deserves, and your school district and others like it gets the help it needs

  77. There are so many problems with the ‘education’ system in this country it is hard to know where to start. The author correctly identifies one of the biggest problems; i.e., shattered home lives. It almost doesn’t matter how much money we spend, how many teachers we hire or how much we pay them, kids who live in broken homes will struggle to learn. The statistics tell the story; the most important determiners of a child’s success in school, or failure, are the education and economic levels of the parents. Kids born to well-educated and economically stable parents do far better than their peers in broken homes and living in poverty. How do we begin, as a society, to tackle THAT problem? Worse, if we’re relying on feckless, self-serving career politicians to help, we’re pushing on a string. There isn’t a single career politician willing to do anything for schools if it means taking on unions or taking money and attention away from their cronies, period. I, for one, don’t have anything to suggest; I wish I did. My daughter teaches high school English and we commiserate about these same problems all the time. As I said, it’s hard to know even where to start.

  78. There are so many problems with the ‘education’ system in this country it is hard to know where to start. The author correctly identifies one of the biggest problems; i.e., shattered home lives. It almost doesn’t matter how much money we spend, how many teachers we hire or how much we pay them, kids who live in broken homes will struggle to learn. The statistics tell the story; the most important determiners of a child’s success in school, or failure, are the education and economic levels of the parents. Kids born to well-educated and economically stable parents do far better than their peers in broken homes and living in poverty. How do we begin, as a society, to tackle THAT problem? Worse, if we’re relying on feckless, self-serving career politicians to help, we’re pushing on a string. There isn’t a single career politician willing to do anything for schools if it means taking on unions or taking money and attention away from their cronies, period. I, for one, don’t have anything to suggest; I wish I did. My daughter teaches high school English and we commiserate about these same problems all the time. As I said, it’s hard to know even where to start.

  79. I am a Native Tulsan. I absolutely share your frustration. I remember voting to add lottery so schools could get help. Bus routes were so cut and many other areas. The sad thing about voting that in was that the minute the schools started seeing money, other money that schools were receiving got pulled. And how much did it cost to change all the names of the schools and revamp the entire schooling system in Tulsa? That money should hv been used for improvements. I as well share your passion in educating and helping people. I dont know if you will ever read this but i was a young mother and i CHOSE to make better choices for myself. I recently wrote a piece in hopes that it might wake people up. Your letter if circulated will defineately make an impact as I am sure it already has. Dont quit helping those kids. If it wasnt for my teachers and coaches I wouldnt hv had 1/2 the things instilled in me or many of the opportunities I did. Thank you for writing such a heartlfelt and well needed letter. If i can volunteer in your cause in any way please let me know. If u ever read this personally here is a piece i wrote to help people. htpp://you.tu.be/Nj53h84jfp0 ….. it is called A MOTHERS LOVE.

  80. I am a Native Tulsan. I absolutely share your frustration. I remember voting to add lottery so schools could get help. Bus routes were so cut and many other areas. The sad thing about voting that in was that the minute the schools started seeing money, other money that schools were receiving got pulled. And how much did it cost to change all the names of the schools and revamp the entire schooling system in Tulsa? That money should hv been used for improvements. I as well share your passion in educating and helping people. I dont know if you will ever read this but i was a young mother and i CHOSE to make better choices for myself. I recently wrote a piece in hopes that it might wake people up. Your letter if circulated will defineately make an impact as I am sure it already has. Dont quit helping those kids. If it wasnt for my teachers and coaches I wouldnt hv had 1/2 the things instilled in me or many of the opportunities I did. Thank you for writing such a heartlfelt and well needed letter. If i can volunteer in your cause in any way please let me know. If u ever read this personally here is a piece i wrote to help people. htpp://you.tu.be/Nj53h84jfp0 ….. it is called A MOTHERS LOVE.

  81. I am a resident and a registered voter of Moore ok. I have not voted in several years due to the ignorance in politics. I simply looked away due to lack of concern in areas you are speaking of. We have become an energy state. But after reading your blog, I can promise I will be voting this time. I can only pray that it finds you and your colleagues well. God bless you and teachers alike for the love you show our children. I only wish we could do more.

  82. I am a resident and a registered voter of Moore ok. I have not voted in several years due to the ignorance in politics. I simply looked away due to lack of concern in areas you are speaking of. We have become an energy state. But after reading your blog, I can promise I will be voting this time. I can only pray that it finds you and your colleagues well. God bless you and teachers alike for the love you show our children. I only wish we could do more.

  83. All I can say is thank you. You put in this letter so much of how I feel and what I am facing. I have been an educator for almost 18 years and I will be moving out of the state at the end of this school year. I have a special needs child that cannot get the therapy he needs in the state. They do not pay enough to attract the therapists needed. I love my students more than words can say, and this pains me greatly.

  84. All I can say is thank you. You put in this letter so much of how I feel and what I am facing. I have been an educator for almost 18 years and I will be moving out of the state at the end of this school year. I have a special needs child that cannot get the therapy he needs in the state. They do not pay enough to attract the therapists needed. I love my students more than words can say, and this pains me greatly.

  85. Thank you for taking time to bring light to this. I know you are not alone, and there are many schools and many teachers struggling. What can I do to help?

    Any chance you can set up a Fund.me page for the school? I would love to donate as a small way to help and I am sure there are others that would as well.

  86. Thank you for taking time to bring light to this. I know you are not alone, and there are many schools and many teachers struggling. What can I do to help?

    Any chance you can set up a Fund.me page for the school? I would love to donate as a small way to help and I am sure there are others that would as well.

  87. Bottom line, the education system is broke because families are broke…just the way you heartwrenchingly describe. Even when I was teaching 20 yrs. ago when making phone calls to parents of 9th graders for a little parental reinforcement/oversight in behavior modification…more times than not, I was told that it was my problem. Not theirs, nor the student’s…mine. Parents must do their job at home…yes, it’s hard, yes you must sacrifice. Parenting is not for wimps. But teachers shouldn’t be expected to do both…they can’t do both though many try and give 200%. I appreciate your brutal honesty and my heart breaks for you and your students who are blessed to have you in their lives.

  88. Bottom line, the education system is broke because families are broke…just the way you heartwrenchingly describe. Even when I was teaching 20 yrs. ago when making phone calls to parents of 9th graders for a little parental reinforcement/oversight in behavior modification…more times than not, I was told that it was my problem. Not theirs, nor the student’s…mine. Parents must do their job at home…yes, it’s hard, yes you must sacrifice. Parenting is not for wimps. But teachers shouldn’t be expected to do both…they can’t do both though many try and give 200%. I appreciate your brutal honesty and my heart breaks for you and your students who are blessed to have you in their lives.

  89. Bravo. I sincerely hope your open letter has at least some effect. I left the education field because I felt the system was keeping me from educating kids. Something must change.

  90. Bravo. I sincerely hope your open letter has at least some effect. I left the education field because I felt the system was keeping me from educating kids. Something must change.

  91. I am a 77 year old grandmother. I totally agree with you. School is nothing now to what it was in years past. Thank you for caring so much. My prayers are with you.

  92. I am a 77 year old grandmother. I totally agree with you. School is nothing now to what it was in years past. Thank you for caring so much. My prayers are with you.

  93. I just read your open letter. I do not live in Oklahoma and my children are now adults. But I strongly feel for the dilemma that underfunding schools is creating for students and teachers in Oklahoma. I think that there are few school districts in the entire country that provide fully for the needs of all students. Most, perhaps all, that do are in wealthy communities. It is a tragedy that that is so. I hope that your letter shames the legislature of Oklahoma.

  94. I just read your open letter. I do not live in Oklahoma and my children are now adults. But I strongly feel for the dilemma that underfunding schools is creating for students and teachers in Oklahoma. I think that there are few school districts in the entire country that provide fully for the needs of all students. Most, perhaps all, that do are in wealthy communities. It is a tragedy that that is so. I hope that your letter shames the legislature of Oklahoma.

  95. I wonder would if he might be an accessory to child abuse….people who use that kind of language usually are, or they cover it up for their brothers.

  96. I wonder would if he might be an accessory to child abuse….people who use that kind of language usually are, or they cover it up for their brothers.

  97. I concur with this, and while I’m not one of this man’s students, I can already see this happening in my own school, the custodial crew is still there, the best we have for security is a nearby police station and the prinipal who is in the military. Teachers are leaving for better jobs, not because they want to but because the government is forcing them to, with very little to no regard for what the concsequences may be. This is just insane how blind people are, compared to what those in the dark ages and during the presidency of George Washington would see, they would see the scams presented to them. I wish more people could see this as this man does.

  98. I concur with this, and while I’m not one of this man’s students, I can already see this happening in my own school, the custodial crew is still there, the best we have for security is a nearby police station and the prinipal who is in the military. Teachers are leaving for better jobs, not because they want to but because the government is forcing them to, with very little to no regard for what the concsequences may be. This is just insane how blind people are, compared to what those in the dark ages and during the presidency of George Washington would see, they would see the scams presented to them. I wish more people could see this as this man does.

  99. Being a teacher for OKCPS as well as a parent to a senior at Western Heights, I wholeheartedly agree with you. Until Oklahoma truly values education, the system will remain broken.

  100. Being a teacher for OKCPS as well as a parent to a senior at Western Heights, I wholeheartedly agree with you. Until Oklahoma truly values education, the system will remain broken.

  101. And remember who educated every president, Doctor, lawyer, governor and congressman… A TEACHER that doesn’t deserve a decent wage or health insurance!!!! JUST A TEACHER!!!

  102. And remember who educated every president, Doctor, lawyer, governor and congressman… A TEACHER that doesn’t deserve a decent wage or health insurance!!!! JUST A TEACHER!!!

  103. Thank you,,,I hope this gets to those in office to change they’re policies. I am a single mom trying to make sure my child gets all he can from education. I try making him learn as much as he can so he will have a future better then mine. The school system in oklahoma is severely deplorable. We need to protect and provide a better tomorrow for all these children.

  104. Thank you,,,I hope this gets to those in office to change they’re policies. I am a single mom trying to make sure my child gets all he can from education. I try making him learn as much as he can so he will have a future better then mine. The school system in oklahoma is severely deplorable. We need to protect and provide a better tomorrow for all these children.

  105. Schools will not get better until parents take responsibly or failing government schools convert to military academies.

  106. Schools will not get better until parents take responsibly or failing government schools convert to military academies.

  107. I totally agree on what you have said, I say Teachers Strike, they did it back in the 70s where I came from and with no teachers to teach it was a huge wake up call, and it worked , I say all Teachers get together and go on Strike, until you get what you need to fix this.

  108. I totally agree on what you have said, I say Teachers Strike, they did it back in the 70s where I came from and with no teachers to teach it was a huge wake up call, and it worked , I say all Teachers get together and go on Strike, until you get what you need to fix this.

  109. I APPLAUD YOU FOR SPEAKING OUT. IT IS A TRAVESTY THAT IT HAS GOTTEN THIS BAD. ALL BECAUSE OF GREEDY POLITICIANS. VOTERS NEED TO GIVE A DAMN AND VOTE EVERY INCUMBENT OUT OF OFFICE.

  110. I APPLAUD YOU FOR SPEAKING OUT. IT IS A TRAVESTY THAT IT HAS GOTTEN THIS BAD. ALL BECAUSE OF GREEDY POLITICIANS. VOTERS NEED TO GIVE A DAMN AND VOTE EVERY INCUMBENT OUT OF OFFICE.

  111. We are teachers in a broken system. Thank you for telling it like it is. It saddens me that we have come to the point of having to leave our students behind so we can financially survive. How will we fix this nightmare?

  112. We are teachers in a broken system. Thank you for telling it like it is. It saddens me that we have come to the point of having to leave our students behind so we can financially survive. How will we fix this nightmare?

  113. Thanks for this article,I knew it was bad but didn’t realize it was this horrible..I have lots of time to give,I could volunteer to clean or help wherever you need it..Please let me know what school this is and what I need to do to volunteer.. Thanks for what you do each and every day. Tammy Elder.

  114. Thanks for this article,I knew it was bad but didn’t realize it was this horrible..I have lots of time to give,I could volunteer to clean or help wherever you need it..Please let me know what school this is and what I need to do to volunteer.. Thanks for what you do each and every day. Tammy Elder.

  115. Thank you for writing this. I’m sorry I didn’t write it before. I’m sorry I’m not as good as a teacher as you are. I hope the “leaders” of this state read this. We need a change. Thank you for writing this, and thank you for being the teacher we need.

  116. Thank you for writing this. I’m sorry I didn’t write it before. I’m sorry I’m not as good as a teacher as you are. I hope the “leaders” of this state read this. We need a change. Thank you for writing this, and thank you for being the teacher we need.

  117. I taught for 43 years and whole heartedly agree with your points of view. The Legislators are not educators and do not care about education because they can afford to put their children in private achools. Maybe we should force them to put their kids in public school because they hold a public office. Then see how fast they change things.

  118. I taught for 43 years and whole heartedly agree with your points of view. The Legislators are not educators and do not care about education because they can afford to put their children in private achools. Maybe we should force them to put their kids in public school because they hold a public office. Then see how fast they change things.

  119. I feel for this teacher and his students. They all deserve better. Unfortunately Oklahoma is not the only state facing the same problem, poor legislative problem solving and cronyism. There is only one way to address it. VOTE, and when you do, vote for people who really care about what they are doing, and vote out legislators who are bought and paid for by the wealthy and corporate fascists.

  120. I feel for this teacher and his students. They all deserve better. Unfortunately Oklahoma is not the only state facing the same problem, poor legislative problem solving and cronyism. There is only one way to address it. VOTE, and when you do, vote for people who really care about what they are doing, and vote out legislators who are bought and paid for by the wealthy and corporate fascists.

    • Ha, the truth hurts for you naysayers. The republican controlled congress and governor are the ones who have us in this mess. They should be completely removed from their jobs for the 1.3 billion dollar budget disaster they have created. Yet, you people STILL vote for them. And our children and citizens are the ones who suffer. But that’s ok, slap a red R on their resume and they are a shoe in to pass laws that continue to decimate this state. You can’t fix stupid.

    • Ha, the truth hurts for you naysayers. The republican controlled congress and governor are the ones who have us in this mess. They should be completely removed from their jobs for the 1.3 billion dollar budget disaster they have created. Yet, you people STILL vote for them. And our children and citizens are the ones who suffer. But that’s ok, slap a red R on their resume and they are a shoe in to pass laws that continue to decimate this state. You can’t fix stupid.

  121. Thank you Steve for articulating the frustration and downright anger that many of us educators feel. The damage done to Okalahoma education by this and recent legislatures and the current governor is criminal. THEY ARE HURTING KIDS. I would be ashamed if I were them! Teachers, what are going to do about it?

  122. Thank you Steve for articulating the frustration and downright anger that many of us educators feel. The damage done to Okalahoma education by this and recent legislatures and the current governor is criminal. THEY ARE HURTING KIDS. I would be ashamed if I were them! Teachers, what are going to do about it?

  123. Amen, Sir!!! I pray for my home state and those who teach in it all the time. I’m hoping things will change, for you and all those in your profession.

  124. Amen, Sir!!! I pray for my home state and those who teach in it all the time. I’m hoping things will change, for you and all those in your profession.

  125. As a retired (thank goodness) educator I applaud you for having the courage to tell it like it is, especially to parents and legislators. The insanity that rules education in Oklahoma will end only when lawmakers take responsibility for funding quality education, teachers receive decent salaries, administrators overcome their fear of lawsuits, and parents become loving, caring, responsible and involved parents.

  126. As a retired (thank goodness) educator I applaud you for having the courage to tell it like it is, especially to parents and legislators. The insanity that rules education in Oklahoma will end only when lawmakers take responsibility for funding quality education, teachers receive decent salaries, administrators overcome their fear of lawsuits, and parents become loving, caring, responsible and involved parents.

  127. Just goes to show you, that you should research team earning potential of your career path prior to wasting all the money on your education. Probably shouldn’t have accepted the job offer either…

  128. Just goes to show you, that you should research team earning potential of your career path prior to wasting all the money on your education. Probably shouldn’t have accepted the job offer either…

  129. Both my parents were teachers. You don’t know how glad they are to have put down their burden of 30+ years. They really earned chump change for two people that had Masters plus educations. They were a bit better provided for at the school, but still, it was never enough. I can’t give you anything but my empathy and my hopes that it will get better. I guess the beatings will end when enough people get tired of it.

  130. Both my parents were teachers. You don’t know how glad they are to have put down their burden of 30+ years. They really earned chump change for two people that had Masters plus educations. They were a bit better provided for at the school, but still, it was never enough. I can’t give you anything but my empathy and my hopes that it will get better. I guess the beatings will end when enough people get tired of it.

  131. I was lucky enough to attend grade school in Oklahoma in the 40s and 50s. Since that time the State has become Politically VERY Conservative which means LOW taxes, SMALLER and INEFFECTIVE Government and Reduced regulations designed to protect our kids, our Health and our enviornment from GREEDY Corporations who want an army of uneducated workers and ignorant voters. . Wages are suppressed and the Oklahoma state government controlled by Corporate friendly political HACKS made it Illegal for Cities and towns to raise the minimum wage. The party hacks wish to DESTROY Public Education so Private Corporations can takeover.

  132. I was lucky enough to attend grade school in Oklahoma in the 40s and 50s. Since that time the State has become Politically VERY Conservative which means LOW taxes, SMALLER and INEFFECTIVE Government and Reduced regulations designed to protect our kids, our Health and our enviornment from GREEDY Corporations who want an army of uneducated workers and ignorant voters. . Wages are suppressed and the Oklahoma state government controlled by Corporate friendly political HACKS made it Illegal for Cities and towns to raise the minimum wage. The party hacks wish to DESTROY Public Education so Private Corporations can takeover.

  133. Thank u for everything u do for your “kids”, past, present & future. I am a licensed clinical social worker & work as a clinical therapist providing home based individual & family therapy to many of the children that you have been describing. I know how challenging it is to see children so full of life & potential, if they only had a little support from home. It can be beyond frustrating at times, however, I just try to remind myself that there are other professionals like yourself that are fighting the same fight. Again, thank you for all you do.

  134. Thank u for everything u do for your “kids”, past, present & future. I am a licensed clinical social worker & work as a clinical therapist providing home based individual & family therapy to many of the children that you have been describing. I know how challenging it is to see children so full of life & potential, if they only had a little support from home. It can be beyond frustrating at times, however, I just try to remind myself that there are other professionals like yourself that are fighting the same fight. Again, thank you for all you do.

  135. Prayers for all Oklahoma educators! I have a friend and former colleague who teaches there now so I keep up with her posts about the state of education in Oklahoma. It is sad that one of the most important jobs in the world gets so little respect and help. We’ll written and thought provoking.

  136. Prayers for all Oklahoma educators! I have a friend and former colleague who teaches there now so I keep up with her posts about the state of education in Oklahoma. It is sad that one of the most important jobs in the world gets so little respect and help. We’ll written and thought provoking.

  137. I am currently working on my early childhood education degree and while I am determined to stay in Oklahoma and education it scares me to think of where we are headed if things don’t change! So many children so few teachers and even more budget cuts while our communities turn out in major support for school bonds it doesn’t seem to change a thing! I’m currently working on a persuasive speech for my communication class. If you have any solutions or suggestions for reform not offered in your blog I would love to hear them and help in any way that I can! Thank you for being a teacher!

  138. I am currently working on my early childhood education degree and while I am determined to stay in Oklahoma and education it scares me to think of where we are headed if things don’t change! So many children so few teachers and even more budget cuts while our communities turn out in major support for school bonds it doesn’t seem to change a thing! I’m currently working on a persuasive speech for my communication class. If you have any solutions or suggestions for reform not offered in your blog I would love to hear them and help in any way that I can! Thank you for being a teacher!

  139. As a Child Nutrion employee, I have seen many of the things that you have mentioned. So sad that a lot of the kids don’t have a loving home, these are the ones that yearn for it from those of us at school.
    How is it, that the legistrator doesn’t see, or seem to care, the need to provide funds for the necessary supplies/equipment the schools need or the need to pay, a living wage to the people that nurture and have such a great influence on the next generations, our precious children, the future? It makes my blood boil on so many levels!!
    I have such respect and regard for the job that teachers do, with the limited resources that they are provided. I am also proud to say that I work with some of the most devoted teachers in the field. One of our teachers, Lindsey Burkhalter was selected as Teacher of the Year in the Ponca City School Distict.
    I could go on and on, but in conclusion, I believe you hit all of the nails on the heads on all of your points.

    My hat is off to you!!!

  140. As a Child Nutrion employee, I have seen many of the things that you have mentioned. So sad that a lot of the kids don’t have a loving home, these are the ones that yearn for it from those of us at school.
    How is it, that the legistrator doesn’t see, or seem to care, the need to provide funds for the necessary supplies/equipment the schools need or the need to pay, a living wage to the people that nurture and have such a great influence on the next generations, our precious children, the future? It makes my blood boil on so many levels!!
    I have such respect and regard for the job that teachers do, with the limited resources that they are provided. I am also proud to say that I work with some of the most devoted teachers in the field. One of our teachers, Lindsey Burkhalter was selected as Teacher of the Year in the Ponca City School Distict.
    I could go on and on, but in conclusion, I believe you hit all of the nails on the heads on all of your points.

    My hat is off to you!!!

  141. As a retired (40 year) teacher who is still involved with the public schools, the biggest problem is poverty and republicans. Both of these are education killers. If we don’t start electing some democrats who care about the public school system we are doomed.

    • You blame the republicans like they don’t represent the people. This isn’t completely political. Citizens of our state just don’t care enough to let their reps know…

  142. As a retired (40 year) teacher who is still involved with the public schools, the biggest problem is poverty and republicans. Both of these are education killers. If we don’t start electing some democrats who care about the public school system we are doomed.

    • You blame the republicans like they don’t represent the people. This isn’t completely political. Citizens of our state just don’t care enough to let their reps know…

  143. Sir, this is heart breaking to read, let alone go through. My husband and I left Oklahoma to come Texas before beginning our teaching careers. I have to commend you on your efforts because Oklahoma school system SUCKS!!!

  144. Sir, this is heart breaking to read, let alone go through. My husband and I left Oklahoma to come Texas before beginning our teaching careers. I have to commend you on your efforts because Oklahoma school system SUCKS!!!

  145. You nailed it! Thank you! My wife is a teacher and people don’t understand how much extra comes out of a teachers pocket for their kids in the classroom. Thank you Thank you for bringing this to light.

  146. You nailed it! Thank you! My wife is a teacher and people don’t understand how much extra comes out of a teachers pocket for their kids in the classroom. Thank you Thank you for bringing this to light.

  147. Steve, excellent article, I know what you are talking about first hand, my daughter took a $23,000.00 pay cut jut to start her life long passion, being a language arts teacher, she also teaches in the OKC school system, and deals with all the issues you spoke of in this article, staying after school, to complete lesson plans and deal with students, for a long while she printed her work sheets out of her own pocket, simply because the school didn’t have a copier that was efficient enough to do what and the quantities she needed, We need a whole new set of law makers that care enough to realize the problems and fix them. Again thank you for voceing your experiences.

  148. Steve, excellent article, I know what you are talking about first hand, my daughter took a $23,000.00 pay cut jut to start her life long passion, being a language arts teacher, she also teaches in the OKC school system, and deals with all the issues you spoke of in this article, staying after school, to complete lesson plans and deal with students, for a long while she printed her work sheets out of her own pocket, simply because the school didn’t have a copier that was efficient enough to do what and the quantities she needed, We need a whole new set of law makers that care enough to realize the problems and fix them. Again thank you for voceing your experiences.

  149. Part of the problem is that parents don’t discipline their children and you can’t either or face a lawsuit. Part is that many students are given things free; what does that teach them? And obviously, teachers need to be paid a fair salary which won’t ever occur because pay is from taxes.

  150. Part of the problem is that parents don’t discipline their children and you can’t either or face a lawsuit. Part is that many students are given things free; what does that teach them? And obviously, teachers need to be paid a fair salary which won’t ever occur because pay is from taxes.

  151. Steven, I want to thank you for being so courageous! The so called leaders of your state and, the country as a whole, could learn a great deal from you. It’s a toss up whether the parents or the politicians are the bigger problem. The education profession has never gotten the respect it is due in this nation, our children are being short changed at every turn. I am not going to get into a political diatribe, I just wanted to let you know that I stand with you. Thank you for your bravery.

  152. Steven, I want to thank you for being so courageous! The so called leaders of your state and, the country as a whole, could learn a great deal from you. It’s a toss up whether the parents or the politicians are the bigger problem. The education profession has never gotten the respect it is due in this nation, our children are being short changed at every turn. I am not going to get into a political diatribe, I just wanted to let you know that I stand with you. Thank you for your bravery.

  153. Thank you for writing this. I retired after 28 years of teaching. 21 of those years in okc. We fed our kids, clothed our kids,cried with and for our kids. We taught w/o proper materials and facilities. Did we give up? No, we did not. Why? We loved our kids. I taught elementary grades.The people who run this state have no idea about the struggles of Oklahoma’s kids. A teacher cannot effectively teach children who are hungry, cold,sick,abused,etc. Teachers not only buy supplies. We bought food and clothing because we loved our kids. The governor and others in state government are completely out of touch. We,as teachers, cannot always change the home environment of kids but the people in power can and should make the education of this state’s children at the top of their agenda!! Along with that poverty , addiction,abuse,etc. must be addressed! Wake up Oklahoma!

  154. Thank you for writing this. I retired after 28 years of teaching. 21 of those years in okc. We fed our kids, clothed our kids,cried with and for our kids. We taught w/o proper materials and facilities. Did we give up? No, we did not. Why? We loved our kids. I taught elementary grades.The people who run this state have no idea about the struggles of Oklahoma’s kids. A teacher cannot effectively teach children who are hungry, cold,sick,abused,etc. Teachers not only buy supplies. We bought food and clothing because we loved our kids. The governor and others in state government are completely out of touch. We,as teachers, cannot always change the home environment of kids but the people in power can and should make the education of this state’s children at the top of their agenda!! Along with that poverty , addiction,abuse,etc. must be addressed! Wake up Oklahoma!

  155. This absolutely broke my heart and I am so sorry for all of our educators and so embarrassed by many of our legislators in my home state. I can tell you that here in NC the state that I have made my home for the last six years and FL the state I made my home for the eight years prior the story is almost the same despite the fact that taxes are very high in NC. I worked with the Big Brother Big Sister program at one of our poorest elementary school earlier this year and experienced much of the same things you described here. We as a nation need to vote and demand that we do better!!! Apathy and ignorance are no longer acceptable!!!!

  156. This absolutely broke my heart and I am so sorry for all of our educators and so embarrassed by many of our legislators in my home state. I can tell you that here in NC the state that I have made my home for the last six years and FL the state I made my home for the eight years prior the story is almost the same despite the fact that taxes are very high in NC. I worked with the Big Brother Big Sister program at one of our poorest elementary school earlier this year and experienced much of the same things you described here. We as a nation need to vote and demand that we do better!!! Apathy and ignorance are no longer acceptable!!!!

  157. I hear you! Thank you for sharing your pain and I pray you see results. Can you imagine if people donated to your fund instead of a candidate. Hugs and thank you for taking care of those kiddos.

  158. I hear you! Thank you for sharing your pain and I pray you see results. Can you imagine if people donated to your fund instead of a candidate. Hugs and thank you for taking care of those kiddos.

  159. Please email or call me as I would love to help u start a fundraiser for your school. I would love to team up with other Moms to call big businesses that could help with supplies. And call the government people responsible for this mess. I am a mom that had to buy paper for the whole class for the year in Philly, so I know how your feeling. Email: rubygems4life@gmail cell: 330-892-7735. Also try right now to put out there for the kids: Go Fund Me.com. it’s a quick start. And after what your families been though cause of long hours with low pay for what u do ..your kids should be able to go to college Free!! Hang in there..Linda

  160. Please email or call me as I would love to help u start a fundraiser for your school. I would love to team up with other Moms to call big businesses that could help with supplies. And call the government people responsible for this mess. I am a mom that had to buy paper for the whole class for the year in Philly, so I know how your feeling. Email: rubygems4life@gmail cell: 330-892-7735. Also try right now to put out there for the kids: Go Fund Me.com. it’s a quick start. And after what your families been though cause of long hours with low pay for what u do ..your kids should be able to go to college Free!! Hang in there..Linda

  161. Please email or call me as I would love to help u start a fundraiser for your school. I would love to team up with other Moms to call big businesses that could help with supplies. And call the government people responsible for this mess. I am a mom that had to buy paper for the whole class for the year in Philly, so I know how your feeling. Also try right now to put out there for the kids: Go Fund Me.com. it’s a quick start. And after what your families been though cause of long hours with low pay for what u do ..your kids should be able to go to college Free!! Hang in there..

  162. Please email or call me as I would love to help u start a fundraiser for your school. I would love to team up with other Moms to call big businesses that could help with supplies. And call the government people responsible for this mess. I am a mom that had to buy paper for the whole class for the year in Philly, so I know how your feeling. Also try right now to put out there for the kids: Go Fund Me.com. it’s a quick start. And after what your families been though cause of long hours with low pay for what u do ..your kids should be able to go to college Free!! Hang in there..

  163. I read your letter with sadness in my heart. I retired from Oklahoma public schools 5 years ago, not because I didn’t love teaching and the children or because I wasn’t at the “top of my game.” But because I was retirement eligible, and even though financially I should’ve stayed a few more years, I was so tired of all that was taking away from doing my job like I knew best.

    I pray things change in our public schools as I get ready to send our sweet and bright grandson to kindergarten. And for all those who make up our most precious commodity; our young people.

  164. I read your letter with sadness in my heart. I retired from Oklahoma public schools 5 years ago, not because I didn’t love teaching and the children or because I wasn’t at the “top of my game.” But because I was retirement eligible, and even though financially I should’ve stayed a few more years, I was so tired of all that was taking away from doing my job like I knew best.

    I pray things change in our public schools as I get ready to send our sweet and bright grandson to kindergarten. And for all those who make up our most precious commodity; our young people.

  165. Amen!! I could not have said this better! I am currently certified to teach in Two States and I am having to seriously consider moving so I can make 20,000 more a year in salary. I love my students – they are my kids – but we as educators are facing tough decisions about survival versus love for our students! The government of the State of Oklahoma should be ashamed of themselves. Just think of this….many of the legislators children are also in the public school systems…soon enough they will notice the lack of educational quality for their own children. Maybe then they can make common sense decisions about the future of our state and of our children!!

  166. Amen!! I could not have said this better! I am currently certified to teach in Two States and I am having to seriously consider moving so I can make 20,000 more a year in salary. I love my students – they are my kids – but we as educators are facing tough decisions about survival versus love for our students! The government of the State of Oklahoma should be ashamed of themselves. Just think of this….many of the legislators children are also in the public school systems…soon enough they will notice the lack of educational quality for their own children. Maybe then they can make common sense decisions about the future of our state and of our children!!

  167. Very well said!! You are to be commended for our courage to stand up for the children of Oklahoma. Sadly the educational situation continues to worsen. I attended school in the OKC metro and raised four children within the same school system. Throughout the years as my children were getting their education circumstances with the school system weren’t always as good as they should have been. However, more recent years have brought about a continual decline in public education throughout Oklahoma. The people who should be striving to provide the best education for our children are failing to do so. The budget cuts and reckless spending habits of the Oklahoma legislature and governor are drastically killing our pubic school systems.

  168. Very well said!! You are to be commended for our courage to stand up for the children of Oklahoma. Sadly the educational situation continues to worsen. I attended school in the OKC metro and raised four children within the same school system. Throughout the years as my children were getting their education circumstances with the school system weren’t always as good as they should have been. However, more recent years have brought about a continual decline in public education throughout Oklahoma. The people who should be striving to provide the best education for our children are failing to do so. The budget cuts and reckless spending habits of the Oklahoma legislature and governor are drastically killing our pubic school systems.

  169. “You, the representatives, senators, and governor of Oklahoma are creating a population of ignorant peasants fit only to work in the oil field and factories…”

    Steve you sound like an entitled prick. So you make > 45,000$ a year. You do know that the median household income in Oklahoma is $45,690. That is two adults working full time! Maybe those parents who are “too stoned” to answer the phone are too busy working their minimum wage jobs.

    You work 180 days of instruction per year. Give me a damn break. That’s a half of year of work. Oh no you have to grade papers, too?

  170. “You, the representatives, senators, and governor of Oklahoma are creating a population of ignorant peasants fit only to work in the oil field and factories…”

    Steve you sound like an entitled prick. So you make > 45,000$ a year. You do know that the median household income in Oklahoma is $45,690. That is two adults working full time! Maybe those parents who are “too stoned” to answer the phone are too busy working their minimum wage jobs.

    You work 180 days of instruction per year. Give me a damn break. That’s a half of year of work. Oh no you have to grade papers, too?

  171. Thank you Steven for writing what so, so many of us as teachers are thinking and feeling. How much more can we take?

  172. Thank you Steven for writing what so, so many of us as teachers are thinking and feeling. How much more can we take?

  173. This is a great read! I have worked as a secretary for a public school system for the last 17 years. (And I am probably the least political person, ever!) My daughter and son-in-law, and a niece and sister-in-law are teachers. I have seen the impact of decisions that our state politicians have made over the years, and it is terrible. My question is, who do we vote for?!?! I mean you listen to these politicians and read up on them, and they talk a good talk, and walk a good walk, but then when they get elected, nothing they said beforehand comes about. You can call, e-mail, write, visit their office, about your concerns, until the cows come home, but you know what? They don’t care! And I don’t understand why. You would think that taking care of the children of this state would be top priority. These children are our future. They will be running this state one of these days.
    Joy Hoffmeister has done some good things so far, but she can only do so much. The concerns for our public schools has got to start at the top, but how in the world do we know who that is?!?! Really?!?!

  174. This is a great read! I have worked as a secretary for a public school system for the last 17 years. (And I am probably the least political person, ever!) My daughter and son-in-law, and a niece and sister-in-law are teachers. I have seen the impact of decisions that our state politicians have made over the years, and it is terrible. My question is, who do we vote for?!?! I mean you listen to these politicians and read up on them, and they talk a good talk, and walk a good walk, but then when they get elected, nothing they said beforehand comes about. You can call, e-mail, write, visit their office, about your concerns, until the cows come home, but you know what? They don’t care! And I don’t understand why. You would think that taking care of the children of this state would be top priority. These children are our future. They will be running this state one of these days.
    Joy Hoffmeister has done some good things so far, but she can only do so much. The concerns for our public schools has got to start at the top, but how in the world do we know who that is?!?! Really?!?!

  175. You know, I was on board with this guy completely, right up until he referred to factory workers and oil field workers as “peasants.”

  176. You know, I was on board with this guy completely, right up until he referred to factory workers and oil field workers as “peasants.”

  177. You had me until the ‘ignorant peasants fit only to work in the oilfield and factories’ remark. These ‘peasants’ helped to provide your salary now, meager as it is, as well as mine for the last 30 years. You lost me and several other supporters with this poorly chosen phrase. The rest is quite true and needed to be said.

  178. You had me until the ‘ignorant peasants fit only to work in the oilfield and factories’ remark. These ‘peasants’ helped to provide your salary now, meager as it is, as well as mine for the last 30 years. You lost me and several other supporters with this poorly chosen phrase. The rest is quite true and needed to be said.

  179. Your letter touched my heart, and my gut. I was a teacher in California. I taught middle school math and science. And I loved my job. But I burned out. My own children were reaching adolescence, and working with the kids at school and going home to two girls with hormones flowing became more than I could tolerate. But that wasn’t what did me in, in the end. It was the parents and the administration, and yes, the budget cuts. But the parents who said basically the same thing you mentioned in your letter ‘when she’s at school she’s your problem’, and parents who came to school after almost everyone else was gone to threaten me because I dared to complain about their child’s behavior, and an administration who did not support the teachers was what finally got to me. I sympathize. I am so sorry… we need teachers like you who care; who feed their kids; who hang around as late as possible to provide a safe haven… we need you.

  180. Your letter touched my heart, and my gut. I was a teacher in California. I taught middle school math and science. And I loved my job. But I burned out. My own children were reaching adolescence, and working with the kids at school and going home to two girls with hormones flowing became more than I could tolerate. But that wasn’t what did me in, in the end. It was the parents and the administration, and yes, the budget cuts. But the parents who said basically the same thing you mentioned in your letter ‘when she’s at school she’s your problem’, and parents who came to school after almost everyone else was gone to threaten me because I dared to complain about their child’s behavior, and an administration who did not support the teachers was what finally got to me. I sympathize. I am so sorry… we need teachers like you who care; who feed their kids; who hang around as late as possible to provide a safe haven… we need you.

  181. It is heart breaking to see what our society has come to! It breaks my heart that parents dont want to be a part of their kids life and help/encourage their children to rise above and beyond their expectations.. My child is being homeschooled and that hurts teachers jobs but when you are so terrified to send your child to school, you cant help to homeschool them.. How can I be sure he isn’t getting bullied? How can i be sure he isnt bullying some body? How can i trust that my child is getting the education he deserves? Everything was dumbed down thanks to the no child left behind act.. Everyone wants to rush and have a child put on aderal because they have ADHD or ADD but the real problem is is that they are no being challeneged enough at school! I could go on forever but then we would have another whole blog… Thank you for speaking for all those that are not educated in this issue!

    Blessed Be )0(

  182. It is heart breaking to see what our society has come to! It breaks my heart that parents dont want to be a part of their kids life and help/encourage their children to rise above and beyond their expectations.. My child is being homeschooled and that hurts teachers jobs but when you are so terrified to send your child to school, you cant help to homeschool them.. How can I be sure he isn’t getting bullied? How can i be sure he isnt bullying some body? How can i trust that my child is getting the education he deserves? Everything was dumbed down thanks to the no child left behind act.. Everyone wants to rush and have a child put on aderal because they have ADHD or ADD but the real problem is is that they are no being challeneged enough at school! I could go on forever but then we would have another whole blog… Thank you for speaking for all those that are not educated in this issue!

    Blessed Be )0(

  183. You are the real thing. I admire what you do and your observation if the current status if teachers not only in OK but also here in Texas. Yes, teachers are paid more in TX, but the futility we teachers feel trying to nurture, guide, and instruct our students in the face of so many obstacles as outlined in your blog is not limited to OK. I applaud your efforts. The kids need you; stay resolute!

  184. You are the real thing. I admire what you do and your observation if the current status if teachers not only in OK but also here in Texas. Yes, teachers are paid more in TX, but the futility we teachers feel trying to nurture, guide, and instruct our students in the face of so many obstacles as outlined in your blog is not limited to OK. I applaud your efforts. The kids need you; stay resolute!

  185. You had me cheering for you until you called oilfield workers ignorant, if it wasn’t for us how are you gonna get back and forth to work? Do you ride a bicycle? More money absolutely should be spent on education, but to single out the industry that pays the most taxes (as oilfield workers do) Is just disheartening.

    • You took the words right out of my mouth. I was all thumbs up until I read that it is ignorant peasants that make up the oilfield and factory workers. What a poor choice of words from an otherwise educated man. My husband made a good living for our family as a factory worker for 30+ years and he is neither ignorant nor a peasant. Shame on the author for such an insult to a huge segment of the population, who are, I might add, also some of the hardest working people on the planet.

  186. You had me cheering for you until you called oilfield workers ignorant, if it wasn’t for us how are you gonna get back and forth to work? Do you ride a bicycle? More money absolutely should be spent on education, but to single out the industry that pays the most taxes (as oilfield workers do) Is just disheartening.

    • You took the words right out of my mouth. I was all thumbs up until I read that it is ignorant peasants that make up the oilfield and factory workers. What a poor choice of words from an otherwise educated man. My husband made a good living for our family as a factory worker for 30+ years and he is neither ignorant nor a peasant. Shame on the author for such an insult to a huge segment of the population, who are, I might add, also some of the hardest working people on the planet.

  187. I teach English as well but I must say I disagree with some of your ideas. Throwing money at education has not helped the problem, passing the NO CHILD GETS AHEAD bill has dumbed things down to the lowest common denominator. All the testing and then the money and emphasis spent in athletics. (believe it or not I coach). Laws have been changed to where kids can’t fail or be disciplined. Responsibility has falling by the wayside as students today. Students aren’t interested in learning and educational admin is more worried about social engineering. Moral absolutes are not taught. This is not the legislators fault. There isn’t money. Out of wedlock births and teen pregnancy are just major signs of a deeper rooted problem in society. Homosexuality and teen suicide are two more pieces of prima facia evidence of mans total rebellion.

    I use the WWJD method of teaching. Jesus taught to the ones who want to learn. That is why he spoke in parables. Those that persisted in unbelief would never understand what he spoke to the disciples. My students will at least hear the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Hopefully they will accept his work on Calvary so they won’t perish. I also explain to them that the Apostle Paul has some very sharp words on society persisting in wicked behavior and how God sends a delusion to where they no longer can discern right from wrong. In education we are there in more ways than one.

    Until world views get righted our society is going to continue to struggle.

  188. I teach English as well but I must say I disagree with some of your ideas. Throwing money at education has not helped the problem, passing the NO CHILD GETS AHEAD bill has dumbed things down to the lowest common denominator. All the testing and then the money and emphasis spent in athletics. (believe it or not I coach). Laws have been changed to where kids can’t fail or be disciplined. Responsibility has falling by the wayside as students today. Students aren’t interested in learning and educational admin is more worried about social engineering. Moral absolutes are not taught. This is not the legislators fault. There isn’t money. Out of wedlock births and teen pregnancy are just major signs of a deeper rooted problem in society. Homosexuality and teen suicide are two more pieces of prima facia evidence of mans total rebellion.

    I use the WWJD method of teaching. Jesus taught to the ones who want to learn. That is why he spoke in parables. Those that persisted in unbelief would never understand what he spoke to the disciples. My students will at least hear the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Hopefully they will accept his work on Calvary so they won’t perish. I also explain to them that the Apostle Paul has some very sharp words on society persisting in wicked behavior and how God sends a delusion to where they no longer can discern right from wrong. In education we are there in more ways than one.

    Until world views get righted our society is going to continue to struggle.

  189. I can leave a comment and commend your outspoken truth, but I feel that will not do nothing for the absolute injustices that you have described. I am in healthcare, and often feel the same way about my job. I have a son, who will be in school in a few years, so your letter resonates hard and heavy. So my question to you… where do we start making these changes that we KNOW need to be made. What does it take for these words to be taken seriously and actually be acted upon?

  190. I can leave a comment and commend your outspoken truth, but I feel that will not do nothing for the absolute injustices that you have described. I am in healthcare, and often feel the same way about my job. I have a son, who will be in school in a few years, so your letter resonates hard and heavy. So my question to you… where do we start making these changes that we KNOW need to be made. What does it take for these words to be taken seriously and actually be acted upon?

  191. AWESOME! You took the words right out of my mouth. I have an advanced degree and want to be a teacher and I can not get a job! The state supports the oil and look where it has gone.

  192. AWESOME! You took the words right out of my mouth. I have an advanced degree and want to be a teacher and I can not get a job! The state supports the oil and look where it has gone.

  193. Thank you Sir for giving eloquent voice to the problems teachers face daily. Thank you for giving voice to the hardships, fears, and troubles we see. I hope your voice is heard above the din of politics. I hope parents read your post.

  194. Thank you Sir for giving eloquent voice to the problems teachers face daily. Thank you for giving voice to the hardships, fears, and troubles we see. I hope your voice is heard above the din of politics. I hope parents read your post.

  195. I totally agree with you. I applaud the fact that you didn’t place the blame on the child. I firmly believe that behavior, although a portion is genetics, is taught. I’d these kids aren’t being taught values at home we can’t expect them to have them in the real world. I come from an inner city and now live in an education desert myself. My goal is to become a teacher because I have seen what a lack of funding, a lack of competent teachers, and a lack of caring parents can do to a child. I love children and I love teaching (I did it in the military) and I see these kids as our future and We need to pour into our future until they don’t have any room to receive anymore. I believe that the politicians need to get off of their butts and actually make a change instead of worrying about their paycheck.It’s okay for their children to go to ivy league schools and get a great education because they are scared that I’d they do give the inner city kids a chance they might take opportunities away from their children. #makeachange # rightnow

  196. I totally agree with you. I applaud the fact that you didn’t place the blame on the child. I firmly believe that behavior, although a portion is genetics, is taught. I’d these kids aren’t being taught values at home we can’t expect them to have them in the real world. I come from an inner city and now live in an education desert myself. My goal is to become a teacher because I have seen what a lack of funding, a lack of competent teachers, and a lack of caring parents can do to a child. I love children and I love teaching (I did it in the military) and I see these kids as our future and We need to pour into our future until they don’t have any room to receive anymore. I believe that the politicians need to get off of their butts and actually make a change instead of worrying about their paycheck.It’s okay for their children to go to ivy league schools and get a great education because they are scared that I’d they do give the inner city kids a chance they might take opportunities away from their children. #makeachange # rightnow

  197. I commend you and the other teachers that try to teach and guide our children with what little support you get from our leaders. Its too bad we can’t count on our leaders and too bad we can’t clean house and replace with someone who cares. People in Oklahoma lets speak up for our children.

  198. I commend you and the other teachers that try to teach and guide our children with what little support you get from our leaders. Its too bad we can’t count on our leaders and too bad we can’t clean house and replace with someone who cares. People in Oklahoma lets speak up for our children.

  199. Thank you for your honesty Mr. Wedel. I personally believe what the legislators of this state are trying to do is to break the union. Why would they work so hard for anything else? They don’t care about the children in public schools because their children attend private schools. It’s sad to read that children don’t want to go home because of what is waiting for them. I see on a daily basis, the food they get at school and it’s not enough to fill them up so they can concentrate. You cannot concentrate when you are hungry. Thank you sir and God bless all teachers across this country!

  200. Thank you for your honesty Mr. Wedel. I personally believe what the legislators of this state are trying to do is to break the union. Why would they work so hard for anything else? They don’t care about the children in public schools because their children attend private schools. It’s sad to read that children don’t want to go home because of what is waiting for them. I see on a daily basis, the food they get at school and it’s not enough to fill them up so they can concentrate. You cannot concentrate when you are hungry. Thank you sir and God bless all teachers across this country!

  201. So glad someone has finally spoke publicly and honestly about Oklahomas Education and the lack of. Thanks to our government.

  202. So glad someone has finally spoke publicly and honestly about Oklahomas Education and the lack of. Thanks to our government.

  203. You, sir, are a hreo. I am sharing this. So many of my friends have sacrificed their lives to teaching in states that think education is expendable. You and your fellow warriors deserve pay commensurate with your sacrifice.

  204. You, sir, are a hreo. I am sharing this. So many of my friends have sacrificed their lives to teaching in states that think education is expendable. You and your fellow warriors deserve pay commensurate with your sacrifice.

  205. Thank you for sharing your story! So heartbreaking how we are allowing this to happen in our state. The change has to start at the polls.Gid bless you for all you do!

  206. Thank you for sharing your story! So heartbreaking how we are allowing this to happen in our state. The change has to start at the polls.Gid bless you for all you do!

  207. Thank you for fighting the good fight. I teach high school in the Ferguson-Florissant school district in St. Louis county. I, too, struggle with all my kids’ issues, and for 14 years I have been fighting for them while trying not to deprive my own son of attention and support. My colleagues and I are exhausted and losing hope that conditions will improve.

  208. Thank you for fighting the good fight. I teach high school in the Ferguson-Florissant school district in St. Louis county. I, too, struggle with all my kids’ issues, and for 14 years I have been fighting for them while trying not to deprive my own son of attention and support. My colleagues and I are exhausted and losing hope that conditions will improve.

  209. I am an English teacher in Idaho and these words ring true for us as well. We are the 49th or 50th ranked state in everything as well and have to the exact same expectations as you. It is heartbreaking that our students live this way; but they do. Thank you so much for sharing this. It made me cry. It also helped me feel a camraderie with teachers I don’t even know by fully understanding this struggle. You can only stay in the profession for the sake of the kids for so long before feeling your fire burning out. I understand every single word you said. Thank you for expressing this in a way that touched my heart and left me feeling that I’m not alone.

  210. I am an English teacher in Idaho and these words ring true for us as well. We are the 49th or 50th ranked state in everything as well and have to the exact same expectations as you. It is heartbreaking that our students live this way; but they do. Thank you so much for sharing this. It made me cry. It also helped me feel a camraderie with teachers I don’t even know by fully understanding this struggle. You can only stay in the profession for the sake of the kids for so long before feeling your fire burning out. I understand every single word you said. Thank you for expressing this in a way that touched my heart and left me feeling that I’m not alone.

  211. Utah hears you. We have some of your problems here. I also teach High School English. We have the same ineptitude in our legislature. So many kids, so little time, and yet, you are so important. I hope you make whatever decision is best for you.

  212. Utah hears you. We have some of your problems here. I also teach High School English. We have the same ineptitude in our legislature. So many kids, so little time, and yet, you are so important. I hope you make whatever decision is best for you.

  213. It is time to leave the classrooms and take to the streets. They wont listen, they have never listened because it has traditionally been a “womans” job and children will never come first and yet they are our future (ironic?). I am a teacher and every year my job gets harder, kids get hsrder, and life gets harder. Lets stop being afraid, put on our best walking shoes, stop talking, whining, and complaining and leave the classrooms. Take the battle to the street. Perhaps, just perhaps, they will pay attention.

  214. It is time to leave the classrooms and take to the streets. They wont listen, they have never listened because it has traditionally been a “womans” job and children will never come first and yet they are our future (ironic?). I am a teacher and every year my job gets harder, kids get hsrder, and life gets harder. Lets stop being afraid, put on our best walking shoes, stop talking, whining, and complaining and leave the classrooms. Take the battle to the street. Perhaps, just perhaps, they will pay attention.

  215. This is the most honest and touching article I have read in many years. You are an angel to our community and children. God will bless you for all your love and caring. Have you thought about running for any political office either school or community? I would vote for you in a minute. Thank you for all ours kids.

  216. This is the most honest and touching article I have read in many years. You are an angel to our community and children. God will bless you for all your love and caring. Have you thought about running for any political office either school or community? I would vote for you in a minute. Thank you for all ours kids.

  217. It’s not just Oklahoma. I am a teacher in Texas and see the same thing happening. It a so disappointing. I’ve been teaching 17 years and have seen major changes in students. I have many who call me mom because I listen to them.

    God bless and keep up the good work.

  218. It’s not just Oklahoma. I am a teacher in Texas and see the same thing happening. It a so disappointing. I’ve been teaching 17 years and have seen major changes in students. I have many who call me mom because I listen to them.

    God bless and keep up the good work.

  219. You are an amazing person & I stand behind you. I push people to vote & if i can help I do. Thank you for what you wrote, it’s so true!

  220. You are an amazing person & I stand behind you. I push people to vote & if i can help I do. Thank you for what you wrote, it’s so true!

  221. I agree with everything you have said. I have a teacher friend who has to pay for her entire curriculum on a salary of $32,000 a year. Her salary is so low yet she spends most of her money on her “kids.” She loves her job but she sees every kind of child an their background, which is saddening. Many of these so called “throw away children” are so bright and the cycle of poverty is so high in this state. You would think that our representatives and senators would see the way out of poverty would be to educate our population, and to give those educating them the proper resources to teach them. Once our country was number one in the world in education, now our standing is an unbearable stat of 19; We barely make the top 20. Like you mentioned the oil fields are such an appealing industry to our state when oil has dropped significantly since 2008. If we do not educate our children in the other career fields besides labor jobs then our state will not diversify like it needs to. This is vital, our youths’ education is essential.

  222. I agree with everything you have said. I have a teacher friend who has to pay for her entire curriculum on a salary of $32,000 a year. Her salary is so low yet she spends most of her money on her “kids.” She loves her job but she sees every kind of child an their background, which is saddening. Many of these so called “throw away children” are so bright and the cycle of poverty is so high in this state. You would think that our representatives and senators would see the way out of poverty would be to educate our population, and to give those educating them the proper resources to teach them. Once our country was number one in the world in education, now our standing is an unbearable stat of 19; We barely make the top 20. Like you mentioned the oil fields are such an appealing industry to our state when oil has dropped significantly since 2008. If we do not educate our children in the other career fields besides labor jobs then our state will not diversify like it needs to. This is vital, our youths’ education is essential.

  223. Wow you stated the fact very well I cried as I read this letter we need God and his word back in our schools and homes all I can say is Thank You I really hope the people who have control will wake up ad find a solution

  224. Wow you stated the fact very well I cried as I read this letter we need God and his word back in our schools and homes all I can say is Thank You I really hope the people who have control will wake up ad find a solution

  225. Steven, thank you for such a powerful letter. I just hope the people of Oklahoma will take it to heart and take the steps necesary to effect change. I spent 39 years in higher education at OSU and have seen the truth in EVERY statement you shared with us. It has to start in the home, but every Oklahoman needs to wake up and elect statesmen/women who understand the necessity of making education in Oklahoma their HIGHEST priority. The KIDS deserve nothing less, and neither do our teachers…

  226. Steven, thank you for such a powerful letter. I just hope the people of Oklahoma will take it to heart and take the steps necesary to effect change. I spent 39 years in higher education at OSU and have seen the truth in EVERY statement you shared with us. It has to start in the home, but every Oklahoman needs to wake up and elect statesmen/women who understand the necessity of making education in Oklahoma their HIGHEST priority. The KIDS deserve nothing less, and neither do our teachers…

  227. I agree 100%! From an elementary teacher in OK, I’m so exhausted of this constant battle to fund education in our state. Shouldn’t this be common sense? We are educating the same people who will one day be the leaders and lawmakers of our state and country! We are educating the people that will eventually make decisions for our own lives! Do our legislators ever consider that when they continue to to rob from funding for education in this state? We HAVE to start caring and vote legislators who care enough “to put their money where their mouth is!” At some point, doesn’t it embarrass them to rank 49th in educational funding compared to the rest of our nation? We don’t let students take home textbooks bc we don’t even have enough for a class set, and don’t even get me started on technology. How ironic is it that the teachers of OK were told at the beginning of this year how we shouldn’t continue to teach the way we always have because the world is changing the way it learns. Educators must teach students with our changing technology. Great idea if I, personally, had enough money to supply every student with that changing technology. Unfortunately I can’t because after 12 years of teaching, I make less money than I did my first year teaching in another state.
    You are so right because THINGS HAVE GOT TO CHANGE! Oklahoma, let’s quit talking about it and finally fix our broken state!

  228. I agree 100%! From an elementary teacher in OK, I’m so exhausted of this constant battle to fund education in our state. Shouldn’t this be common sense? We are educating the same people who will one day be the leaders and lawmakers of our state and country! We are educating the people that will eventually make decisions for our own lives! Do our legislators ever consider that when they continue to to rob from funding for education in this state? We HAVE to start caring and vote legislators who care enough “to put their money where their mouth is!” At some point, doesn’t it embarrass them to rank 49th in educational funding compared to the rest of our nation? We don’t let students take home textbooks bc we don’t even have enough for a class set, and don’t even get me started on technology. How ironic is it that the teachers of OK were told at the beginning of this year how we shouldn’t continue to teach the way we always have because the world is changing the way it learns. Educators must teach students with our changing technology. Great idea if I, personally, had enough money to supply every student with that changing technology. Unfortunately I can’t because after 12 years of teaching, I make less money than I did my first year teaching in another state.
    You are so right because THINGS HAVE GOT TO CHANGE! Oklahoma, let’s quit talking about it and finally fix our broken state!

  229. There is SOOO much land on “public” property that could and SHOULD be used to grow food
    Food for ANY hungry kid. Make it a project for each and every school to simply plant seeds!
    There is waste veg oil thrown away by schools..That can..and SHOULD be used as fuel for the buses they…can’t afford to run. Science classes in some places have done this.
    We are smarter than this, folks! We MUST do better than to pay for road medians to be mowed whilst our kids go hungry!!

  230. There is SOOO much land on “public” property that could and SHOULD be used to grow food
    Food for ANY hungry kid. Make it a project for each and every school to simply plant seeds!
    There is waste veg oil thrown away by schools..That can..and SHOULD be used as fuel for the buses they…can’t afford to run. Science classes in some places have done this.
    We are smarter than this, folks! We MUST do better than to pay for road medians to be mowed whilst our kids go hungry!!

  231. This really hit home for me. I’m a mental health counselor for k-8 in California. My best friend in Oklahoma sent me this article. I currently have a student I’m seeing on a daily basis and I have a caseload of over 400. He comes to me daily on his own. He’s 1 of 7. Mom is homeless and dad is incarcerated. He lives with grandparents who won’t return my phone calls of follow through with FREE outside services I have provided for him. I go home thinking about this kid. Sometimes I can’t sleep at night. I feel like I’m more of a mom to him then his own mother. I help him with his work, talk to him when he’s upset and angry and I eat lunch with him. I worry about his future and who he will become. And then I find myself becoming angry when I think of why his parents have put him in this situation. Thank you for this article and thank you for your heart.

  232. This really hit home for me. I’m a mental health counselor for k-8 in California. My best friend in Oklahoma sent me this article. I currently have a student I’m seeing on a daily basis and I have a caseload of over 400. He comes to me daily on his own. He’s 1 of 7. Mom is homeless and dad is incarcerated. He lives with grandparents who won’t return my phone calls of follow through with FREE outside services I have provided for him. I go home thinking about this kid. Sometimes I can’t sleep at night. I feel like I’m more of a mom to him then his own mother. I help him with his work, talk to him when he’s upset and angry and I eat lunch with him. I worry about his future and who he will become. And then I find myself becoming angry when I think of why his parents have put him in this situation. Thank you for this article and thank you for your heart.

  233. Poor parents are monsters! If only we could bus in middle-class parents to love and nurture those children like they so unselfishly nurtured their own. Clearly you are a colossal altruist yourself; thank God you are there to rescue those children! My heart breaks to think of the ones who died in the gutter because you could not save them…

    • Megan, can we nit all do our bit to save them, we must find ways individually or collectively to support our teachers. We do not have a healthy society unless we all work to achieve it.

  234. Poor parents are monsters! If only we could bus in middle-class parents to love and nurture those children like they so unselfishly nurtured their own. Clearly you are a colossal altruist yourself; thank God you are there to rescue those children! My heart breaks to think of the ones who died in the gutter because you could not save them…

    • Megan, can we nit all do our bit to save them, we must find ways individually or collectively to support our teachers. We do not have a healthy society unless we all work to achieve it.

  235. Everything you said is true. Teachers are overworked and underpaid. The sad thing is teachers are bringing up the future leaders of our country. We also have a problem with so many grandparents raising their grandchildren. God meant for us to have our children when we were young. We are raising our 13 year old granddaughter because her mother died at the age of 25 almost 11 years ago. I feel sorry for the kids that are dumped somewhere because their parents don’t want the responsibility of them. I see nothing that the administrators do that they deserve such a large salary. It is the teachers that deserve the money. Also our federal government has overstepped their bounds and need to stay out of our state schools. Our granddaughter comes home frustrated every day because of the teachers not being allowed to discipline the kids so she can learn. She is in the 8th grade and asked us if this summer we would teach her cursive handwriting. How sad?
    My best friend was a teacher I had in high school and after I graduated we still were the best of friends. She was my mentor and loved me like I was her own. Unfortunately, two weeks before our second son was born she was killed in a car wreck. We will keep you and all our teachers in our prayers. Living on a fixed income makes it hard to raise kids you had not planned on; but God provides. We have been blessed that our oldest son went to OSU and became an engineer and so did his wife. Our youngest son decided to go into the Oklahoma National Guard and spent 11 years and one tour in Iraq. The sad thing is he had to get out because again our government was making our military’s job unfair. Keep up your work because the kids love and appreciate you.
    Fondly,
    Bilinda Baker

  236. Everything you said is true. Teachers are overworked and underpaid. The sad thing is teachers are bringing up the future leaders of our country. We also have a problem with so many grandparents raising their grandchildren. God meant for us to have our children when we were young. We are raising our 13 year old granddaughter because her mother died at the age of 25 almost 11 years ago. I feel sorry for the kids that are dumped somewhere because their parents don’t want the responsibility of them. I see nothing that the administrators do that they deserve such a large salary. It is the teachers that deserve the money. Also our federal government has overstepped their bounds and need to stay out of our state schools. Our granddaughter comes home frustrated every day because of the teachers not being allowed to discipline the kids so she can learn. She is in the 8th grade and asked us if this summer we would teach her cursive handwriting. How sad?
    My best friend was a teacher I had in high school and after I graduated we still were the best of friends. She was my mentor and loved me like I was her own. Unfortunately, two weeks before our second son was born she was killed in a car wreck. We will keep you and all our teachers in our prayers. Living on a fixed income makes it hard to raise kids you had not planned on; but God provides. We have been blessed that our oldest son went to OSU and became an engineer and so did his wife. Our youngest son decided to go into the Oklahoma National Guard and spent 11 years and one tour in Iraq. The sad thing is he had to get out because again our government was making our military’s job unfair. Keep up your work because the kids love and appreciate you.
    Fondly,
    Bilinda Baker

  237. I am a parent of a 2012 graduate who spoke highly of you then, and now. I know first hand the frustration surrounding that environment. It has nothing to do with family income and everything to do with raising your children! I was so relieved when she finally graduated and got out of the school system. I can only imagine the frustration you must feel on a daily basis. Kudos to you for shedding some light on the ugly truth behind public education in Oklahoma and thank you for teaching kindness to our future generation. I applaud your efforts Mr. Wadel!

  238. I am a parent of a 2012 graduate who spoke highly of you then, and now. I know first hand the frustration surrounding that environment. It has nothing to do with family income and everything to do with raising your children! I was so relieved when she finally graduated and got out of the school system. I can only imagine the frustration you must feel on a daily basis. Kudos to you for shedding some light on the ugly truth behind public education in Oklahoma and thank you for teaching kindness to our future generation. I applaud your efforts Mr. Wadel!

  239. I have to tell you…you are amazing! I thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing what’s on your heart! I, too, became a teacher after the recession struck. I even hold a masters degree. I taught at an inner-city school in Atlanta, as well as a ritzy one in suburbia and in Austin, Texas. I can tell you what you speak of is happening all over America, and it’s heart breaking to say the least. I currently live in Singapore because of my husband’s job but have plans to get back into the classroom when we return. I have shared your post with thousands around the world, especially in America. US citizens live in denial and think countries around the world envy us, and I know first-hand they don’t at all. They use to but not anymore. If we were not 30 hours of flying from home, I would happily educate my sons here! Singapore has top notch schools. It’s unfortunate that I would rather do that then send them to schools where I taught. But the truth hurts. I wish so badly that politicians on both sides would care as much as they claim to and actually do something about it. I feel for you. I know the struggles you are going through, and it flat out sucks. Keep fighting the good fight! You DO have people behind you.

  240. I have to tell you…you are amazing! I thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing what’s on your heart! I, too, became a teacher after the recession struck. I even hold a masters degree. I taught at an inner-city school in Atlanta, as well as a ritzy one in suburbia and in Austin, Texas. I can tell you what you speak of is happening all over America, and it’s heart breaking to say the least. I currently live in Singapore because of my husband’s job but have plans to get back into the classroom when we return. I have shared your post with thousands around the world, especially in America. US citizens live in denial and think countries around the world envy us, and I know first-hand they don’t at all. They use to but not anymore. If we were not 30 hours of flying from home, I would happily educate my sons here! Singapore has top notch schools. It’s unfortunate that I would rather do that then send them to schools where I taught. But the truth hurts. I wish so badly that politicians on both sides would care as much as they claim to and actually do something about it. I feel for you. I know the struggles you are going through, and it flat out sucks. Keep fighting the good fight! You DO have people behind you.

  241. I think you are spot on. My friend, who is deceased now, was a school teacher. He worked two other jobs while he did it. That was in the early 2000s so I can only imagine what it has evolved into. I appreciate your dedication to the kids. My family always helped kids in the community that didn’t want to go home either or in one case my friend was even abandoned and lived with us. I know first hand about those situations. For them the school and the teachers who care are the one stable, possibly even positive thing in their life. I don’t how this goes on and on in this state. That you for putting that out for everyone to read. Keep doing what you are doing. It doesn’t go unnoticed.

  242. I think you are spot on. My friend, who is deceased now, was a school teacher. He worked two other jobs while he did it. That was in the early 2000s so I can only imagine what it has evolved into. I appreciate your dedication to the kids. My family always helped kids in the community that didn’t want to go home either or in one case my friend was even abandoned and lived with us. I know first hand about those situations. For them the school and the teachers who care are the one stable, possibly even positive thing in their life. I don’t how this goes on and on in this state. That you for putting that out for everyone to read. Keep doing what you are doing. It doesn’t go unnoticed.

  243. What a powerful letter. Thank you for sharing this. I read this from
    Portugal though I am British. I am not religious so I won’t pray for you but I will think of you, out of true respect for what you do. My hope is that America finds its way, we all need it to.

  244. What a powerful letter. Thank you for sharing this. I read this from
    Portugal though I am British. I am not religious so I won’t pray for you but I will think of you, out of true respect for what you do. My hope is that America finds its way, we all need it to.

  245. I think Oklahoma should be very proud to have a teacher that really cares about the students not just what they can learn out of a book but your teaching them to care about themselves and that they really can make a difference no matter what kind of a life they have at home. Thank you and hope our Politicians wake up to the fact that schools depend upon their state to help with books desks and security as teachers depend upon their pay checks to care of their families. Our Government is lacking in a lot of areas we don’t need another CEO of a company that pays him $ 200,000.00 a year we need more money for education for our children and more money for our teachers so our teachers don’t have to leave their teaching jobs for lack of enough money to take care of their families . All states need to make a lot of changes and hope when we get a new President of the United States new changes come in effect. As I said thank you for all that you do to help the kids and to other teachers also .

  246. I think Oklahoma should be very proud to have a teacher that really cares about the students not just what they can learn out of a book but your teaching them to care about themselves and that they really can make a difference no matter what kind of a life they have at home. Thank you and hope our Politicians wake up to the fact that schools depend upon their state to help with books desks and security as teachers depend upon their pay checks to care of their families. Our Government is lacking in a lot of areas we don’t need another CEO of a company that pays him $ 200,000.00 a year we need more money for education for our children and more money for our teachers so our teachers don’t have to leave their teaching jobs for lack of enough money to take care of their families . All states need to make a lot of changes and hope when we get a new President of the United States new changes come in effect. As I said thank you for all that you do to help the kids and to other teachers also .

  247. Yeah, some parents are total losers. They use the public schools for free childcare and “me” time. Surely, though, if the home situations are documentably dreadful, hotline calls can be made. I have never (and I’m 46!) seen a situation that would prompt me to call, not ever.

    Maybe this mom couldn’t answer the phone because she was on the couch, puking. I know when the flu hits our house (and we have six children) that often it all hits at once or within a few days.

    We’re lower middle class (as in, we get no handouts but really don’t pay much in taxes except for property tax… guess where most of that money goes?) and we homeschool several children on less than the cost it takes you to educate even one average pupil. So it isn’t a money problem. With respect, throwing more money at schools is NOT going to fix this. My brother’s family qualifies for free lunches and he refuses to even fill out the forms. He figures he is the parent. And do you know what? They manage to scrape together enough not only to feed their children, but to homeschool them well.

    I’d like to think my older children who now attend public schools are well-mannered and cause no problems. I would also like to think that if there is an ongoing issue that more than one phone call or email might be made. I would do the same right back – things get lost and people have bad days. Thanks for all you do for these children and God bless.

  248. Yeah, some parents are total losers. They use the public schools for free childcare and “me” time. Surely, though, if the home situations are documentably dreadful, hotline calls can be made. I have never (and I’m 46!) seen a situation that would prompt me to call, not ever.

    Maybe this mom couldn’t answer the phone because she was on the couch, puking. I know when the flu hits our house (and we have six children) that often it all hits at once or within a few days.

    We’re lower middle class (as in, we get no handouts but really don’t pay much in taxes except for property tax… guess where most of that money goes?) and we homeschool several children on less than the cost it takes you to educate even one average pupil. So it isn’t a money problem. With respect, throwing more money at schools is NOT going to fix this. My brother’s family qualifies for free lunches and he refuses to even fill out the forms. He figures he is the parent. And do you know what? They manage to scrape together enough not only to feed their children, but to homeschool them well.

    I’d like to think my older children who now attend public schools are well-mannered and cause no problems. I would also like to think that if there is an ongoing issue that more than one phone call or email might be made. I would do the same right back – things get lost and people have bad days. Thanks for all you do for these children and God bless.

  249. You are amazing! You’ve said what many parents feel and think. Perhaps you should run for President and kick a few candidates off the podium!!!!!!

    • Actually we all have the ability to remove people from office. We can vote intelligently. Unfortunately, e continually elect people to Congress both at a National and State level who are diametrically opposed to the values expressed by this man and then rage about the government’s conduct.

  250. You are amazing! You’ve said what many parents feel and think. Perhaps you should run for President and kick a few candidates off the podium!!!!!!

    • Actually we all have the ability to remove people from office. We can vote intelligently. Unfortunately, e continually elect people to Congress both at a National and State level who are diametrically opposed to the values expressed by this man and then rage about the government’s conduct.

  251. I feel your pain, and it saddens me, that our teachers and schools are treated like this. I hope and pray that we get it fixed before it’s too late. But, before you cast aspersions about, you should understand that I am no peasant, and I strongly resent your remark about oilfield and factory hands. I use the trig and physics formulas we swore we would never need again on a daily basis. I only know one dropout who has been around for very long, and he chose to abandon a scholarship to take care of his family. It is not our fault that we face these shortfalls, but your statement makes it seem like it is. I don’t ask for an apology, as I have a very thick skin, just that YOU, acknowledge how far off base your remark about “peasants” was.

    • To be upset that he made that remark – and not upset about what teachers and children are actually facing is what is wrong. He was not trying to offend you, but has a very valid point. In fact, the Trig you say you use, is something he is saying won’t even get to the student’s. Please try to see past your own feelings and look at the larger picture.

  252. I feel your pain, and it saddens me, that our teachers and schools are treated like this. I hope and pray that we get it fixed before it’s too late. But, before you cast aspersions about, you should understand that I am no peasant, and I strongly resent your remark about oilfield and factory hands. I use the trig and physics formulas we swore we would never need again on a daily basis. I only know one dropout who has been around for very long, and he chose to abandon a scholarship to take care of his family. It is not our fault that we face these shortfalls, but your statement makes it seem like it is. I don’t ask for an apology, as I have a very thick skin, just that YOU, acknowledge how far off base your remark about “peasants” was.

    • To be upset that he made that remark – and not upset about what teachers and children are actually facing is what is wrong. He was not trying to offend you, but has a very valid point. In fact, the Trig you say you use, is something he is saying won’t even get to the student’s. Please try to see past your own feelings and look at the larger picture.

  253. This State is not even fit to retire in….sales taxes in my area are at 9.75. Why, because the State helps inself, not the students, residences. Schools in this area are left to the ‘leftovers’ from the populated areas. Yes, oil talks here…

  254. This State is not even fit to retire in….sales taxes in my area are at 9.75. Why, because the State helps inself, not the students, residences. Schools in this area are left to the ‘leftovers’ from the populated areas. Yes, oil talks here…

  255. As it is in Oklahoma so it is in California where I was a teacher and felt exactly the same way. We are short changing our children; whenever a cut has to be made lawmakers continually target the
    schools and other vulnerable sections of society. We will all pay the price for this attitude when these children become adults. Teachers are buying their own supplies, cleaning their own classrooms and also having to assume a parental role because so many kids don’t have that at home. We love these kids and can only hope that we can make some type of difference in their lives., but get little support from the lawmakers or even the school system. Even they cut at the classroom level first. This is just the tip of the iceberg as to what is wrong with our education system. I would bet most teachers would agree with Mr. Wedel, but he will no doubt be “sent to the principal” and be disciplined for his outspokenness.

  256. As it is in Oklahoma so it is in California where I was a teacher and felt exactly the same way. We are short changing our children; whenever a cut has to be made lawmakers continually target the
    schools and other vulnerable sections of society. We will all pay the price for this attitude when these children become adults. Teachers are buying their own supplies, cleaning their own classrooms and also having to assume a parental role because so many kids don’t have that at home. We love these kids and can only hope that we can make some type of difference in their lives., but get little support from the lawmakers or even the school system. Even they cut at the classroom level first. This is just the tip of the iceberg as to what is wrong with our education system. I would bet most teachers would agree with Mr. Wedel, but he will no doubt be “sent to the principal” and be disciplined for his outspokenness.

  257. This Bullshit!!! What do Michelle Obama’s call to a healthier Breakfast and Lunch really effect this situation at the local level? Why do people like this try to make their local politics about the Obamas…You get what you voted for…let me guess…the people of this state, county, or jurisdictions mainly vote….what?…. Republican!

    • Dude, I appreciate the sentiment. But you said ” I hold two college degrees and have been on my job for 10 years”, and then you said “The compensation of me and my colleagues ranks 49th in the nation… ” Surely with two degrees, you are aware that “me and my colleagues” is not proper grammar. As a former English teacher, I am appalled. Who taught YOU? And why the need to diss Michelle Obama’s sincere attempt to stop our schoolchildren from ending up as fat, diabetic pigs? Kids don’t need 6000 calories of sugar, fat, and salt every day. Your case would have been much stronger if you’d made it without that snarky comment.

      • Do you think children with diabetes are fat, diabetic pigs? Your point would have been made without the name calling. Shame on you. I will pray for you.

      • I agree, Kimmie. Steven has several good points, but his right-leaning rhetoric is concerning. The right has been attacking education for decades, largely because of teacher unions. Kids are great for emotional backdrops, but since they don’t vote, politicians have no sincere desire to help. One party in particular is poised to benefit by a poorly educated populace.

    • Out of this entire post, that’s what you took from it? All he said was that the meal plans that Michelle Obama implemented in this country sometimes leave high school students that don’t have access to food at home hungry during class. It’s not “healthier breakfast and lunch”, it’s just smaller quantities of the same garbage that school age kids have been eating for years. He didn’t make anything about the Obama’s, this entire post is about local legislation.

    • You are a fucking idiot! The Obamas have everything to do with this. Pull your head out of your ass before it’s to late.

      • Perhaps you can tell us why the “Obama’s” have everything to do with this? Laws are created by the legislature. This, is a complaint at the local legislature. The problem is quite simple. We have been electing a new breed of Republicans to Congress and local governments. This has resulted in higher taxes for everyone except the obscenely rich and a government of the people by the corporation, and for the corporation. Conservatives created Citizens United and packed the Supreme Court with Justices that declare that “corporations are people”, and blind PACs are perfectly legal in our election processes; just to mention a few sources of our problems. They have gerrymandered our election districts resulting in majority popular vote getters not being elected; Al Gore to cite one well known example.

        I don’t care who is president, the problem lies in Congress and more accurately, us, who elected these corporate and Billionaire toadies to office.

  258. This Bullshit!!! What do Michelle Obama’s call to a healthier Breakfast and Lunch really effect this situation at the local level? Why do people like this try to make their local politics about the Obamas…You get what you voted for…let me guess…the people of this state, county, or jurisdictions mainly vote….what?…. Republican!

    • Dude, I appreciate the sentiment. But you said ” I hold two college degrees and have been on my job for 10 years”, and then you said “The compensation of me and my colleagues ranks 49th in the nation… ” Surely with two degrees, you are aware that “me and my colleagues” is not proper grammar. As a former English teacher, I am appalled. Who taught YOU? And why the need to diss Michelle Obama’s sincere attempt to stop our schoolchildren from ending up as fat, diabetic pigs? Kids don’t need 6000 calories of sugar, fat, and salt every day. Your case would have been much stronger if you’d made it without that snarky comment.

      • Do you think children with diabetes are fat, diabetic pigs? Your point would have been made without the name calling. Shame on you. I will pray for you.

      • I agree, Kimmie. Steven has several good points, but his right-leaning rhetoric is concerning. The right has been attacking education for decades, largely because of teacher unions. Kids are great for emotional backdrops, but since they don’t vote, politicians have no sincere desire to help. One party in particular is poised to benefit by a poorly educated populace.

    • Out of this entire post, that’s what you took from it? All he said was that the meal plans that Michelle Obama implemented in this country sometimes leave high school students that don’t have access to food at home hungry during class. It’s not “healthier breakfast and lunch”, it’s just smaller quantities of the same garbage that school age kids have been eating for years. He didn’t make anything about the Obama’s, this entire post is about local legislation.

    • You are a fucking idiot! The Obamas have everything to do with this. Pull your head out of your ass before it’s to late.

      • Perhaps you can tell us why the “Obama’s” have everything to do with this? Laws are created by the legislature. This, is a complaint at the local legislature. The problem is quite simple. We have been electing a new breed of Republicans to Congress and local governments. This has resulted in higher taxes for everyone except the obscenely rich and a government of the people by the corporation, and for the corporation. Conservatives created Citizens United and packed the Supreme Court with Justices that declare that “corporations are people”, and blind PACs are perfectly legal in our election processes; just to mention a few sources of our problems. They have gerrymandered our election districts resulting in majority popular vote getters not being elected; Al Gore to cite one well known example.

        I don’t care who is president, the problem lies in Congress and more accurately, us, who elected these corporate and Billionaire toadies to office.

  259. If more people would stand up like you do we as humanity would have a chance, I’m glad to know that there is people like you out there

  260. If more people would stand up like you do we as humanity would have a chance, I’m glad to know that there is people like you out there

  261. I read your letter and said that’s me in this letter. I taught 15 year’s and experienced the same. I could also add having to live in constant fear each year that because of budget cut’s my job would be cut. That happened to me three time’s but yes I was hired back at the last minute in August. My summers were always lived in stress not knowing if that would be the last time I taught. One year when I returned I was placed in a horrible school where we had an ineffective Principle allowing the students to run the school. When students began throwing food at workers and teachers and even the vice Principle with no regard to consequences I realized it was time to get out. I flat out quit in the middle of the year. I was on Blood Pressure and anxiety medication and my health was more important to me. I lost my house as a result. Interesting statistic involving that particular school is that 180 of them are in jail or prison and some dead due to their violence and drugs in the city. I remember one 9th grade girl who had two children and was involved in drug use and dealing and who eventually killed her boyfriend over drug money. My first 15 years I was blessed with fantastic students and then………………………………..

    • You are a teacher? Dear Lord, I hope you don’t teach english or literature. Your spelling and pronunciation is atrocious and you are using words that I don’t think they mean what you think they mean… Just because they sound alike, does not mean that they have the same meaning…

  262. I read your letter and said that’s me in this letter. I taught 15 year’s and experienced the same. I could also add having to live in constant fear each year that because of budget cut’s my job would be cut. That happened to me three time’s but yes I was hired back at the last minute in August. My summers were always lived in stress not knowing if that would be the last time I taught. One year when I returned I was placed in a horrible school where we had an ineffective Principle allowing the students to run the school. When students began throwing food at workers and teachers and even the vice Principle with no regard to consequences I realized it was time to get out. I flat out quit in the middle of the year. I was on Blood Pressure and anxiety medication and my health was more important to me. I lost my house as a result. Interesting statistic involving that particular school is that 180 of them are in jail or prison and some dead due to their violence and drugs in the city. I remember one 9th grade girl who had two children and was involved in drug use and dealing and who eventually killed her boyfriend over drug money. My first 15 years I was blessed with fantastic students and then………………………………..

    • You are a teacher? Dear Lord, I hope you don’t teach english or literature. Your spelling and pronunciation is atrocious and you are using words that I don’t think they mean what you think they mean… Just because they sound alike, does not mean that they have the same meaning…

  263. We are with you on this. As a veteran teacher in Georgia, we are facing much of the same thing. Our governor, lt. governor, and state representatives receive handouts and are pushing for charter schools that bleed public education’s funding. Everyone wonders why the is a teacher shortage.

  264. We are with you on this. As a veteran teacher in Georgia, we are facing much of the same thing. Our governor, lt. governor, and state representatives receive handouts and are pushing for charter schools that bleed public education’s funding. Everyone wonders why the is a teacher shortage.

  265. WOW! you couldn’t have said it any better. Thank you to all teachers for caring for the children and I pray that one day the people that call themselves parents get rid of their selfish ways and step up to the plate and start giving everything they can to help the children. ……..It starts at home! Unfortunately only the ones who care will find their way to this wonderful letter. Thank you Mr.Wedel

  266. WOW! you couldn’t have said it any better. Thank you to all teachers for caring for the children and I pray that one day the people that call themselves parents get rid of their selfish ways and step up to the plate and start giving everything they can to help the children. ……..It starts at home! Unfortunately only the ones who care will find their way to this wonderful letter. Thank you Mr.Wedel

  267. It will remain this way until everyone figures out that in order to stop this you must get rid of the republicans that are causing it. Their kids attend private schools while our kids attend the type of schools you refer too.

  268. It will remain this way until everyone figures out that in order to stop this you must get rid of the republicans that are causing it. Their kids attend private schools while our kids attend the type of schools you refer too.

  269. Bravo. You forgot the part where educators deal with all this, as well as irate, sometimes violent students without using weapons or harsh threats.

  270. Bravo. You forgot the part where educators deal with all this, as well as irate, sometimes violent students without using weapons or harsh threats.

  271. Have to love the people that ‘Represent’ the American People. These legislators’ hefty salaries and pensions are earned off the backs of the people they are supposed to be representing. Why are legislators salaries or pensions never under attack? They seem to love threatening hard-working people that earn theirs, unlike them. The representatives in this country only care about themselves, their special-interest groups and power. Is there no one who will stand up for the American People?

  272. Have to love the people that ‘Represent’ the American People. These legislators’ hefty salaries and pensions are earned off the backs of the people they are supposed to be representing. Why are legislators salaries or pensions never under attack? They seem to love threatening hard-working people that earn theirs, unlike them. The representatives in this country only care about themselves, their special-interest groups and power. Is there no one who will stand up for the American People?

  273. I, too, am a teacher. 20 years in Missouri. I am watching even the “richer” districts face these things. More and more cuts. More and more fundraisers (if people do them!). More and more apathy. More and more fear for the safety of children. More and more people leaving the profession. I keep saying I have 9 1/2 years to retirement. I can do this! …isn’t that sad? I think so. Why am I counting down? I love my students, my career, and my school… but I see the writing on the wall. Our nation is becoming one that doesn’t want to support schools or support teachers… which in turn means ZERO support for kids. Oh, and I am sick of parents not parenting. BE A PARENT!

  274. I, too, am a teacher. 20 years in Missouri. I am watching even the “richer” districts face these things. More and more cuts. More and more fundraisers (if people do them!). More and more apathy. More and more fear for the safety of children. More and more people leaving the profession. I keep saying I have 9 1/2 years to retirement. I can do this! …isn’t that sad? I think so. Why am I counting down? I love my students, my career, and my school… but I see the writing on the wall. Our nation is becoming one that doesn’t want to support schools or support teachers… which in turn means ZERO support for kids. Oh, and I am sick of parents not parenting. BE A PARENT!

  275. What a very good letter. It is so true. Im an independent oil company and have had to shut down due to the prices which affects other people.

  276. What a very good letter. It is so true. Im an independent oil company and have had to shut down due to the prices which affects other people.

  277. Wow! That was an amazing piece of writing. The raw painful truth; I could actually visualize the situation. I may not live in the state that you are in; but if I did; I would want my child to be in your class. Educators; such as yourself; are so hard to come by. I can tell; you are one of the educators that make a person want to stay in school; to learn. You are the one; that a student will keep in their memory and talk about to their children. You; sir; are one of a kind.

    • I’m fighting back tears after reading this open letter. It is painful to know that everything you write about is true in the wonderful country we live in… it appears it will always be “business is usual” (as you described) because we will not VOTE bad people out and good people in… WOW! Still tearing up as I continue to think about the truth you share in this letter and the horrible future students face because of the adults. wow… so sad, but true, and still so sad.

  278. Wow! That was an amazing piece of writing. The raw painful truth; I could actually visualize the situation. I may not live in the state that you are in; but if I did; I would want my child to be in your class. Educators; such as yourself; are so hard to come by. I can tell; you are one of the educators that make a person want to stay in school; to learn. You are the one; that a student will keep in their memory and talk about to their children. You; sir; are one of a kind.

    • I’m fighting back tears after reading this open letter. It is painful to know that everything you write about is true in the wonderful country we live in… it appears it will always be “business is usual” (as you described) because we will not VOTE bad people out and good people in… WOW! Still tearing up as I continue to think about the truth you share in this letter and the horrible future students face because of the adults. wow… so sad, but true, and still so sad.

  279. Everyone complains about the politicians they elected. Wake up people, money is running this country and it’s long overdue for TERM LIMITS in the Senate and Congress. Keep electing these puppets and you get what you elected. These seats were not meant to be life long positions where they could develop the relationships with big money that dictate their course of action instead of what’s best for the country.

  280. Everyone complains about the politicians they elected. Wake up people, money is running this country and it’s long overdue for TERM LIMITS in the Senate and Congress. Keep electing these puppets and you get what you elected. These seats were not meant to be life long positions where they could develop the relationships with big money that dictate their course of action instead of what’s best for the country.

  281. All of what this gentleman says is sad but true. I have worked with every level of student from kindergarten through the masters degree. The only thing that changes is that they get bigger and older.

  282. All of what this gentleman says is sad but true. I have worked with every level of student from kindergarten through the masters degree. The only thing that changes is that they get bigger and older.

  283. I am a semi -retired teacher who is living in Las Vegas. I love teaching and Las Vegas is short thousands of teachers so I decided to substitute teach. Because I don’t currently choose to have a car I normally would take the public bus to schools, sometimes traveling two hours each way. After taxes and expenses my take home pay was about $6.95 an hour and I often would put in 10 hour days. Because I love the students and understand the need I was willing to work for nothing if that is what was called for. For me the problem wasn’t money , it was something much deeper and something I find appaling.

    After forty years of teaching, which included 12 years teaching new teachers how to teach, I was accused of the following: ( First rule I taught teachers was never put your hand on a child or be alone with them. )

    1. I was accused of hitting a student which was a fabricated lie because I was firm with students who were totally out of control. ( I was called into the room because the other teacher could not handle them.) This false accusation cost me a month of work and I was basically put on trial. When the dust settled I was cleared to teach but never given an apology from the administration.
    In spite of that I continued to teach because , frankly, the students loved me. I show respect, concern, and like the author, keep a stash of goodies for those who are hungry. I also would stay after school, for free, to tutor students which often meant just giving them some hope and care.

    2. The second incident was even worse as I was accused of trying to lure a 3rd-grade boy to a football game. The implication was sexual, of course. What is most ironic is I told the mother I would have to clear taking him to the game and he would be going with two of my grand children ages 12 and 13. She said I had been such an influence on her child she wanted me to tutor him which I agreed to do ( for free ) as long as she was present. The administration of the school ended up accusing me of misbehavior and once again I was put on leave until they had a ”hearing’.
    This time I told them no to bother I was done with their nonsense and would never again return to teaching.

    The point of this response is to agree and support what the author stated in his article. The situation is dire in Las Vegas and , while I actually would teach for free, I won’t step foot on a school campus again. I might, however, start my own school.

    I hope parents, administrators, and politicians wake up before we have a crisis so large there will be no solution. 50% or more of our teachers are leaving the field and another 25% would leave if given a choice. When will we wake up?

    • We will wake up when the voters of Oklahoma do the responsible thing and oust ever single Republican from your State Government. Democrats know how to take care of teachers and schools while Conservatives (you ARE a Red State) do nothing but lower taxes for the rich while cutting funds for schools and teachers. The solution is simple: start voting for Democrats and watch your schools rebound from the dire situation your Right Wing lawmakers have put you in.

      • When are you going to learn? Democrats have been promising us help and hope for as long as I remember,. so you are wrong, wrong, wrong. Face it. Government is corrupt. Democrats and Republicans and ALL politicians are corrupt, and this country is doomed to hell because of them! No, I am not a Trump fan, but I do know a liar when I hear one, and he is just as bad! You are just as bad for supporting the government!

        • I’m “just as bad” because I “support” the government? Really? 70 Million of us voted Democratic in the last general election are you going to tell them they are all “bad” as well for voting? Your “logic” is absurd. Granted, there is corruption – most of it in the Right Wing involving payoffs and bribes from Big Money – but by and large our government is the best in the world. I am proud of my country and believe in it’s ideals. The Party of Hate does not represent those ideals. I a simply stating a simple truth: Republicans don’t care about education, they care about enriching themselves at our expense.

          • I disagree with your belief that it is about political beliefs. I believe that all Americans want an educated populace. I don’t think that Democrats or Republicans are better. I actually disengaged from political parties a few years ago, because neither represent my belief system. I think that the education system is failing due to the public’s lackadaisical attitude towards parenting and education. People have grown lazy and entitled. If we had to go back to the wild wild west way of life, lots of people would starve. Maybe that is what needs to happen in the USA, we need to make everyone dependent upon themselves for a while. If they survive, then we can start over.

          • You must be one of those “Compassionate Conservatives” that Reagan talked about. I hear they are pretty rare these days and your attitude towards teachers and schools makes your Ebeneezer Scrooge persona plain for everyone to see. Must not have any kids in the school system, do you?

          • Actually, I am independent. I don’t think that there are really any good choices right now. I was very active when my children were in the school system. I actually went to the school 4 days a week, was active with sports and helped with their homework. I think that parents are the child’s first teacher and should continue to teach the child throughout life. I also think that regardless of political party, we are responsible for ourselves. I am not sure where you get that I am an ebeneezer scrooge persona? I donate regularly to several children’s charities and give of my time as well. I am more liberal than most people would believe, coming from my background, but I also believe that if we continue to do the things that are failing, we are destined to fail.

          • OK, a rational thought in there. My apologies. Thought were were the typical Conservative Republican that believes there should be ZERO funding for schools and teachers.

          • I think teachers and schools are woefully underfunded. I am saddened that political parties have made this into something that people blame on the other side. I am a big fan of supporting our students so that they can be better adults and hopefully do a better job than we have. Free College educations, I am not so sure about. How can that be funded ? I just do not see that it is practical at this time.

          • I agree, I think Bernie Sanders idea is unrealistic. We already spend WAY too much taxpayer money on the War Machine. A Trillion a year is ridiculous. Just think how we could improve our schools if we had access to HALF that money!

        • You are missing the point !!! No matter who is voted in, it will remain the same because they will always do what is best for their wallets, Both parties are the same, perhaps we should come up with a third party, one of the people !!!!

      • Democrats teach kids that you don’t need to go to school or get a job, just go on welfare and get your free housing, free food stamps, free cell phone etc. Like Bernie Sanders Free healthcare free college- yeah right NOTHING IN LIFE IS FREE.

        • More Right Wing BS and LIES. Democrats don’t teach kids to be free loaders, if anything ConservaClowns like you demonstrate that it’s perfectly OK to post bald-faced lies like this worn-out Right Wing meme while voting yourselves more than double the Corporate Welfare ($90 Billion) than Food Stamps and actual Welfare costs ($40 Billion). Believe it or not, the vast majority of Americans are not the gullible brainwashed morons that you run with believing the lies that have been repeated ad nauseum on places like Fox. And you are right on one point – Bernie is Pie in the Sky if he thinks he can get a Republican controlled Congress to pass a free College Bill that would cost us Trillions. We already spend that on the Military Industrial Complex and you Right Wingers don’t seem to have a problem going into debt doing that. Hypocrites.

    • Wow ! Mr. Anderson, you must not be a Mormon. Because THEY are what is totally wrong with Las vegas schools. They treat Non Mormon teachers terribly. I have lived here in Vegas for over 40 yrs. And the teacher pay here sucks, but what you probably didn’t know is that 3 of the Mormon school board of trustees, voted to send themselves to Spain first class to “recruit new teachers”, at a cost of $40,000.00 tax payers money.
      Mormons use the CCSD to have their babies for free. They do not wish to teach and are terribly stupid teachers, they are just using the UNION to keep their jobs and pay for all of their stupid kids. For instance, after 10 yrs of teaching they have like 7 kids and have really only worked a total of 3 yrs and now they are tenured. CCSD is a BIG MORMON BEAUACRACY (sp)

  284. I am a semi -retired teacher who is living in Las Vegas. I love teaching and Las Vegas is short thousands of teachers so I decided to substitute teach. Because I don’t currently choose to have a car I normally would take the public bus to schools, sometimes traveling two hours each way. After taxes and expenses my take home pay was about $6.95 an hour and I often would put in 10 hour days. Because I love the students and understand the need I was willing to work for nothing if that is what was called for. For me the problem wasn’t money , it was something much deeper and something I find appaling.

    After forty years of teaching, which included 12 years teaching new teachers how to teach, I was accused of the following: ( First rule I taught teachers was never put your hand on a child or be alone with them. )

    1. I was accused of hitting a student which was a fabricated lie because I was firm with students who were totally out of control. ( I was called into the room because the other teacher could not handle them.) This false accusation cost me a month of work and I was basically put on trial. When the dust settled I was cleared to teach but never given an apology from the administration.
    In spite of that I continued to teach because , frankly, the students loved me. I show respect, concern, and like the author, keep a stash of goodies for those who are hungry. I also would stay after school, for free, to tutor students which often meant just giving them some hope and care.

    2. The second incident was even worse as I was accused of trying to lure a 3rd-grade boy to a football game. The implication was sexual, of course. What is most ironic is I told the mother I would have to clear taking him to the game and he would be going with two of my grand children ages 12 and 13. She said I had been such an influence on her child she wanted me to tutor him which I agreed to do ( for free ) as long as she was present. The administration of the school ended up accusing me of misbehavior and once again I was put on leave until they had a ”hearing’.
    This time I told them no to bother I was done with their nonsense and would never again return to teaching.

    The point of this response is to agree and support what the author stated in his article. The situation is dire in Las Vegas and , while I actually would teach for free, I won’t step foot on a school campus again. I might, however, start my own school.

    I hope parents, administrators, and politicians wake up before we have a crisis so large there will be no solution. 50% or more of our teachers are leaving the field and another 25% would leave if given a choice. When will we wake up?

    • We will wake up when the voters of Oklahoma do the responsible thing and oust ever single Republican from your State Government. Democrats know how to take care of teachers and schools while Conservatives (you ARE a Red State) do nothing but lower taxes for the rich while cutting funds for schools and teachers. The solution is simple: start voting for Democrats and watch your schools rebound from the dire situation your Right Wing lawmakers have put you in.

      • When are you going to learn? Democrats have been promising us help and hope for as long as I remember,. so you are wrong, wrong, wrong. Face it. Government is corrupt. Democrats and Republicans and ALL politicians are corrupt, and this country is doomed to hell because of them! No, I am not a Trump fan, but I do know a liar when I hear one, and he is just as bad! You are just as bad for supporting the government!

        • I’m “just as bad” because I “support” the government? Really? 70 Million of us voted Democratic in the last general election are you going to tell them they are all “bad” as well for voting? Your “logic” is absurd. Granted, there is corruption – most of it in the Right Wing involving payoffs and bribes from Big Money – but by and large our government is the best in the world. I am proud of my country and believe in it’s ideals. The Party of Hate does not represent those ideals. I a simply stating a simple truth: Republicans don’t care about education, they care about enriching themselves at our expense.

          • I disagree with your belief that it is about political beliefs. I believe that all Americans want an educated populace. I don’t think that Democrats or Republicans are better. I actually disengaged from political parties a few years ago, because neither represent my belief system. I think that the education system is failing due to the public’s lackadaisical attitude towards parenting and education. People have grown lazy and entitled. If we had to go back to the wild wild west way of life, lots of people would starve. Maybe that is what needs to happen in the USA, we need to make everyone dependent upon themselves for a while. If they survive, then we can start over.

          • You must be one of those “Compassionate Conservatives” that Reagan talked about. I hear they are pretty rare these days and your attitude towards teachers and schools makes your Ebeneezer Scrooge persona plain for everyone to see. Must not have any kids in the school system, do you?

          • Actually, I am independent. I don’t think that there are really any good choices right now. I was very active when my children were in the school system. I actually went to the school 4 days a week, was active with sports and helped with their homework. I think that parents are the child’s first teacher and should continue to teach the child throughout life. I also think that regardless of political party, we are responsible for ourselves. I am not sure where you get that I am an ebeneezer scrooge persona? I donate regularly to several children’s charities and give of my time as well. I am more liberal than most people would believe, coming from my background, but I also believe that if we continue to do the things that are failing, we are destined to fail.

          • OK, a rational thought in there. My apologies. Thought were were the typical Conservative Republican that believes there should be ZERO funding for schools and teachers.

          • I think teachers and schools are woefully underfunded. I am saddened that political parties have made this into something that people blame on the other side. I am a big fan of supporting our students so that they can be better adults and hopefully do a better job than we have. Free College educations, I am not so sure about. How can that be funded ? I just do not see that it is practical at this time.

          • I agree, I think Bernie Sanders idea is unrealistic. We already spend WAY too much taxpayer money on the War Machine. A Trillion a year is ridiculous. Just think how we could improve our schools if we had access to HALF that money!

        • You are missing the point !!! No matter who is voted in, it will remain the same because they will always do what is best for their wallets, Both parties are the same, perhaps we should come up with a third party, one of the people !!!!

      • Democrats teach kids that you don’t need to go to school or get a job, just go on welfare and get your free housing, free food stamps, free cell phone etc. Like Bernie Sanders Free healthcare free college- yeah right NOTHING IN LIFE IS FREE.

        • More Right Wing BS and LIES. Democrats don’t teach kids to be free loaders, if anything ConservaClowns like you demonstrate that it’s perfectly OK to post bald-faced lies like this worn-out Right Wing meme while voting yourselves more than double the Corporate Welfare ($90 Billion) than Food Stamps and actual Welfare costs ($40 Billion). Believe it or not, the vast majority of Americans are not the gullible brainwashed morons that you run with believing the lies that have been repeated ad nauseum on places like Fox. And you are right on one point – Bernie is Pie in the Sky if he thinks he can get a Republican controlled Congress to pass a free College Bill that would cost us Trillions. We already spend that on the Military Industrial Complex and you Right Wingers don’t seem to have a problem going into debt doing that. Hypocrites.

    • Wow ! Mr. Anderson, you must not be a Mormon. Because THEY are what is totally wrong with Las vegas schools. They treat Non Mormon teachers terribly. I have lived here in Vegas for over 40 yrs. And the teacher pay here sucks, but what you probably didn’t know is that 3 of the Mormon school board of trustees, voted to send themselves to Spain first class to “recruit new teachers”, at a cost of $40,000.00 tax payers money.
      Mormons use the CCSD to have their babies for free. They do not wish to teach and are terribly stupid teachers, they are just using the UNION to keep their jobs and pay for all of their stupid kids. For instance, after 10 yrs of teaching they have like 7 kids and have really only worked a total of 3 yrs and now they are tenured. CCSD is a BIG MORMON BEAUACRACY (sp)

  285. “The walk hand in hand…” Presumably, Mr. Teacher meant “they”? English. Get some.

  286. “The walk hand in hand…” Presumably, Mr. Teacher meant “they”? English. Get some.

  287. I am so very happy that you wrote your letter. As I see our America system of electing our leaders in what has become a circus of confusing, lies, deceit and comedy, I understand what is happening. The values we have as adults is not being shown to our children as my parents taught me, and I’m sure others, also. I am a career teacher, and have taught in five different states, including Oklahoma. I now substitute in a small district, and enjoy the fact that I can go when I want to. Please, don’t leave the profession. There is never enough money to earn. How much is enough when you have a human being in your life, and that life means something. I realize that if your $50, $60 $70,000 is not enough. Let’s just try to get together to find something we can sell to make money without giving up the classroom.

    I feel that our profession of teaching and the only way advance is to get a job as an instructional couch, principal,. administrator etc. where the day to day classroom is not seen by them, and they are the ones responsible. Well, I could really writw more, but I am going to vote. Yes, VOTE. Have a wonderful day.

  288. I am so very happy that you wrote your letter. As I see our America system of electing our leaders in what has become a circus of confusing, lies, deceit and comedy, I understand what is happening. The values we have as adults is not being shown to our children as my parents taught me, and I’m sure others, also. I am a career teacher, and have taught in five different states, including Oklahoma. I now substitute in a small district, and enjoy the fact that I can go when I want to. Please, don’t leave the profession. There is never enough money to earn. How much is enough when you have a human being in your life, and that life means something. I realize that if your $50, $60 $70,000 is not enough. Let’s just try to get together to find something we can sell to make money without giving up the classroom.

    I feel that our profession of teaching and the only way advance is to get a job as an instructional couch, principal,. administrator etc. where the day to day classroom is not seen by them, and they are the ones responsible. Well, I could really writw more, but I am going to vote. Yes, VOTE. Have a wonderful day.

  289. I did not spell write correctly, just wanted to make sure the persons reading my reply understand that I can spell write correctly. FYI You realize I am certified as a teacher, and we don’t make errors.

  290. I did not spell write correctly, just wanted to make sure the persons reading my reply understand that I can spell write correctly. FYI You realize I am certified as a teacher, and we don’t make errors.

  291. You have written a very eloquent, truthful blog. I hope great political leaders run for office and that people vote for those who care enough to put educational funding as the top priority for our state. Doing so will help turn these children into the leaders to help this state progress in many needed areas. Funding education properly is a win-win situation. This act helps to keep kids out of prison, thereby saving the state the funds spent on prisons. We must act to turn the negative into positive. Then the state’s population wins.

  292. You have written a very eloquent, truthful blog. I hope great political leaders run for office and that people vote for those who care enough to put educational funding as the top priority for our state. Doing so will help turn these children into the leaders to help this state progress in many needed areas. Funding education properly is a win-win situation. This act helps to keep kids out of prison, thereby saving the state the funds spent on prisons. We must act to turn the negative into positive. Then the state’s population wins.

  293. I thank you for your honesty and courage. Your letter is right on target and covers not only your school and your city but the problems teachers and schools all over the country are facing. It amazes me when I go through a checkout line in a store that the cashiers who are high school graduates cannot perform simple math when given cash that’s more than the purchase total. That’s not the fault of the teachers who taught them but the system that lowered the grading standards so that more students could pass the tests without knowing the information, therefore raising the graduation average. This doesn’t prepare these children for the realities and requirements to make it in the real world once they graduate.
    This combined with the lack of discipline and teaching of basic manners and respect at home severely hamper their chances of being successful in life. I”m 61 years old and cannot fathom the changes in home life from when I was raised. It shows in the work place and virtually all other areas.
    I hope we can wake up and start making positive changes in our government and in our personal lives to help our children prepare to take their places in life and become successful and productive members of society.
    Tom Veazey
    Breaux Bridge, La

  294. I thank you for your honesty and courage. Your letter is right on target and covers not only your school and your city but the problems teachers and schools all over the country are facing. It amazes me when I go through a checkout line in a store that the cashiers who are high school graduates cannot perform simple math when given cash that’s more than the purchase total. That’s not the fault of the teachers who taught them but the system that lowered the grading standards so that more students could pass the tests without knowing the information, therefore raising the graduation average. This doesn’t prepare these children for the realities and requirements to make it in the real world once they graduate.
    This combined with the lack of discipline and teaching of basic manners and respect at home severely hamper their chances of being successful in life. I”m 61 years old and cannot fathom the changes in home life from when I was raised. It shows in the work place and virtually all other areas.
    I hope we can wake up and start making positive changes in our government and in our personal lives to help our children prepare to take their places in life and become successful and productive members of society.
    Tom Veazey
    Breaux Bridge, La

  295. Dear Eric Darling, You are 110% correct! And Steve, if you want to truly make a difference and be proud to be a teacher, move to Massachusetts, 1. you’ll make a ton more money, 2. you’ll have parents that care what their children learn in school and 3. Have a Democratic legislature that takes education seriously. Case in point, we all know that the US always rates poorly when compared to other countries vis a vis education, but if you apply the standards used to rate nations to states in the US, Massachusetts would rank second in the world, only behind Singapore. We know how to do education. Keep up your good work, even if the great State of Oklahoma is clueless.

  296. Dear Eric Darling, You are 110% correct! And Steve, if you want to truly make a difference and be proud to be a teacher, move to Massachusetts, 1. you’ll make a ton more money, 2. you’ll have parents that care what their children learn in school and 3. Have a Democratic legislature that takes education seriously. Case in point, we all know that the US always rates poorly when compared to other countries vis a vis education, but if you apply the standards used to rate nations to states in the US, Massachusetts would rank second in the world, only behind Singapore. We know how to do education. Keep up your good work, even if the great State of Oklahoma is clueless.

  297. I live in PA and don’t have any children, but want to thank you for going above & beyond for your students & for being so brutally honest to the parents & law makers.

  298. I live in PA and don’t have any children, but want to thank you for going above & beyond for your students & for being so brutally honest to the parents & law makers.

  299. And after that inspiring letter………….nothing will get done. fat cats get fatter. and the stench of severe poverty lingers in the air .

  300. And after that inspiring letter………….nothing will get done. fat cats get fatter. and the stench of severe poverty lingers in the air .

  301. I agree with Steve. I once had a principal tell us we could only give a certain number of F’s, no matter what the student earned. I was told to raise the grades or look for another job. What do you do??? I like to eat and need to pay my bills like everyone else. I raised the grades , but let it be known It was not right and I hoped the “FALSE” grade he was making for the school was worth it. I also told the students this was not their real grade, but had to raise them to satisfy the administration. Just like our politicians, do what you can to make us “LOOK GOOD”, it does not matter if it is a lie! I am retired now and really feel bad for the teachers still teaching under such bad conditions. It is not just in Oklahoma, but Nation wide.

    • I am a counselor in Oklahoma. I see the same children you see only in a different setting. You are right when you say we have and are creating another generation of citizens who do not ,can not and will not have the capability to be self-sufficient . If it were not for the dedication of great teachers and mentors in this state we would already be seeing much worse than exists today. Thank you for speaking out. Joyce Prock

  302. I agree with Steve. I once had a principal tell us we could only give a certain number of F’s, no matter what the student earned. I was told to raise the grades or look for another job. What do you do??? I like to eat and need to pay my bills like everyone else. I raised the grades , but let it be known It was not right and I hoped the “FALSE” grade he was making for the school was worth it. I also told the students this was not their real grade, but had to raise them to satisfy the administration. Just like our politicians, do what you can to make us “LOOK GOOD”, it does not matter if it is a lie! I am retired now and really feel bad for the teachers still teaching under such bad conditions. It is not just in Oklahoma, but Nation wide.

    • I am a counselor in Oklahoma. I see the same children you see only in a different setting. You are right when you say we have and are creating another generation of citizens who do not ,can not and will not have the capability to be self-sufficient . If it were not for the dedication of great teachers and mentors in this state we would already be seeing much worse than exists today. Thank you for speaking out. Joyce Prock

  303. I don’t know what is sadder my friend, the loser politicians or those who keep reelecting them. I come from NJ which is usually ranked #1 in education and what I see here is so shocking I don’t have words for it.
    Good luck on continuing the good job it appears you are doing.

  304. I don’t know what is sadder my friend, the loser politicians or those who keep reelecting them. I come from NJ which is usually ranked #1 in education and what I see here is so shocking I don’t have words for it.
    Good luck on continuing the good job it appears you are doing.

  305. BRAVO – we need to give our support to wonderful teachers like this. I am so sad about the future of our children…

  306. BRAVO – we need to give our support to wonderful teachers like this. I am so sad about the future of our children…

  307. Wendel, my man! You’re a flailing man swimming in an ocean of false union promises and bureaucracy; their waves crashing over you as your head is being submerged by the political class while entitled parents attempt to stand on your shoulders to save themselves from drowning in their own rearing failures and personal mistakes.

    Give in. Just give in. Its OK.

    (yes, that final joke is intended)

  308. Wendel, my man! You’re a flailing man swimming in an ocean of false union promises and bureaucracy; their waves crashing over you as your head is being submerged by the political class while entitled parents attempt to stand on your shoulders to save themselves from drowning in their own rearing failures and personal mistakes.

    Give in. Just give in. Its OK.

    (yes, that final joke is intended)

  309. You’re stronger than I am. I left teaching three years ago, and although I miss the kids something fierce, I couldn’t tolerate the stress. 99.6% of our kids qualify for free & reduced lunches, so every kid in the district gets fed breakfast and lunch gratis(mercifully). Intergenerational poverty, ignorance, and a resistance to education means our Almighty Test Scores hover around 18-22% proficient. As such, our district saw it prudent to make teachers work through their prep times in mandatory meetings and radically slash art, music, and languages at the K-8 levels. In addition, teachers have “homework” that entails hours of outside assignments documenting what they’re doing to raise test scores. Teachers in my former school have been warned that if they miss more than five school days their state-imposed “grade” will drop, which can place them at risk of job loss during a RIF. Substitutes are unavailable, as the current rate of pay is $8/hour ($10 if you’re a certified teacher).

    I left just before the worst of this nonsense was imposed, but my blood pressure was 190/160, I had nightmares about the horror stories my kids told me, and I’d come home and snap at my husband and young son. Fortunately, we are financially solvent enough that I could leave the nightmare behind…but its ghosts remain in the exhausted faces of my overworked colleagues and my own son’s disaffection with school. Can we please stop this contrapuntal testing fixation, fund our schools, and support our educators?

    • What state are you in, may I ask? Just curious. I teach in WV and can see our education system here coming to this eventually, particularly with the way the legislature is performing this session.

  310. You’re stronger than I am. I left teaching three years ago, and although I miss the kids something fierce, I couldn’t tolerate the stress. 99.6% of our kids qualify for free & reduced lunches, so every kid in the district gets fed breakfast and lunch gratis(mercifully). Intergenerational poverty, ignorance, and a resistance to education means our Almighty Test Scores hover around 18-22% proficient. As such, our district saw it prudent to make teachers work through their prep times in mandatory meetings and radically slash art, music, and languages at the K-8 levels. In addition, teachers have “homework” that entails hours of outside assignments documenting what they’re doing to raise test scores. Teachers in my former school have been warned that if they miss more than five school days their state-imposed “grade” will drop, which can place them at risk of job loss during a RIF. Substitutes are unavailable, as the current rate of pay is $8/hour ($10 if you’re a certified teacher).

    I left just before the worst of this nonsense was imposed, but my blood pressure was 190/160, I had nightmares about the horror stories my kids told me, and I’d come home and snap at my husband and young son. Fortunately, we are financially solvent enough that I could leave the nightmare behind…but its ghosts remain in the exhausted faces of my overworked colleagues and my own son’s disaffection with school. Can we please stop this contrapuntal testing fixation, fund our schools, and support our educators?

    • What state are you in, may I ask? Just curious. I teach in WV and can see our education system here coming to this eventually, particularly with the way the legislature is performing this session.

  311. Throughout the US, many state legislatures are creating the same outrageous laws. The present governor of Illinois is pushing the same agenda. Cut the budget for education, teacher pensions, healthcare and then use the monies to reduce the corporate tax rate.

    Education in the US is under assault by the right wing, mostly the republiCON party. The goal is to privatize education, create a teaching class of servants, and by so doing, put more power in the hands of the wealthy elite. Thus, only the wealthy will get a good education in special schools for those who can afford them.

    The AFT and NEA are education’s hope. If collective bargaining is eliminated, the future of education is dead.

    a retired teacher from Illinois
    *I would not recommend any young person going into education today.