Students Share Walkout Concerns With State Superintendent
OKLAHOMA CITY - Students are weighing in on the impending teacher walkout. State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister's Student Advisory Council expressed fears about the impacts to their education, but say they understand the predicament for instructors.
The 81 students come from districts large and small all across the state, but they share the same concern for their teachers’ well being. Support was strong for the walkout, but as many of the council members are seniors, graduation is at the forefront of their minds.
“It’s kind of like making it to the finish line but someone pressing pause for a good cause,” says Millwood High School senior Christian Coleman. “It’s me being impatient, but me understanding that this is for the greater good.”
Students say if they have to add days to the end of the school year, it could impact early college enrollment, summer employment and military enlistment.
They point out that the walkout could also jeopardize state testing, which is necessary to receive federal funding. Blackwell High School junior Jordan Green says, “At my school, we stand to lose almost a half a million dollars if state testing isn’t carried out, and while I understand the purpose of the strike is to increase education funding, I actually fear that we could lose more than we gain in this strike.”
Instead of a mid-year walkout, Green feels teachers could have packed an even bigger punch. “The most effective option in my opinion would have been to carry out the year, finish it without striking, and then have 90% of Oklahoma educators not renew their contracts in June,” he says.
Overall, though, the students agree education funding has to be a priority, and many are telling their legislators so. Coleman says, “We have to be Oklahoma strong and support our teachers, but also make sure the well being of our citizens is being supported too.”
Hofmeister encouraged these students to register to vote and get involved in politics so they can help enact the change they hope to see.