Teachers Hold Class At State Capitol During Walkout
OKLAHOMA CITY - Thousands of students rallied alongside their teachers at the State Capitol Monday, supporting them in their effort to get more funding for the classroom.
One group of about 80 high school students came with a very specific purpose, to have AP English Language class. Poetry was analyzed amid the politics of the day.
The Edmond Memorial High School classes gathered around tables on the south lawn of the Capitol.
Senior Gabrielle Davis said, “The students came up and they said, ‘hey, why don’t we just have class at the Capitol’ as a joke, and then we did it. I think it’s really important that they involved us and they let us know that this isn’t about them. It is about us. It’s about our education and our futures.”
The students say they wanted to show legislators just how dedicated they and their teachers are.
“It’s my favorite class,” said junior Lilli Handley. “We get to talk about all these subjects that most adults don’t feel comfortable bringing up around teenagers, and it makes us feel like we actually have a voice.”
They also aimed to demonstrate issues they face in the classroom, with fewer seats available than students.
Davis said, “It was actually pretty similar to the class inside the school, overcrowded, pretty cold, but with a lot of ambitious students and dedicated teachers.”
With AP exams fast approaching, teachers say there is no time to waste.
Kevin McDonald, one of three teachers hosting the class, said, “We’re trying to figure out how to honor the hard work that they’ve put in this year while trying to make sure that we send the message that we have to get something done or else staying in the classroom doesn’t prepare them anymore.”
Kids of all ages joined the day’s march, expressing how the lack of funding affects them.
“My school has no textbooks,” said Sam Snow, a third grade student at Nichols Hills Elementary School.
Jenna Wong, a senior at Charles Page High School in Sand Springs, added, “In my French class I’m reusing a workbook, not even a textbook, that has been used in the past year, so it’s missing pages and teachers just aren’t as motivated anymore.”
Many students say they will be at the State Capitol as long as the teachers will, as they demand this education funding, and the kids hope legislators inside see their efforts as well.