Organizers with Oklahoma Parents and Educators for Public Education said close to 40 people in the education field filed for state office Wednesday, hoping their strength in numbers will send a message.
“We are saying, ‘I think you’ve come up against a wall.’ I mean we’re here. We’re here to do this,” said Judy Mullen Hopper.
Mullen Hopper worked for Putnam City Schools for 35 years and filed Wednesday, April 13, for Senate District 47.
“What we as teachers know, what we can do is we know how to budget money,” she said. “We’re going to fix it because this is unacceptable.”
Mickey Dollens is a teacher in the Oklahoma City Public School District. June 31 will be his last day he said, because budget cuts forced layoffs.
“I’m a freshman English teacher, so I know a thing or two about motivating people,” he said.
He's turning his situation around, by taking action at the Capitol, hoping to be the next State Rep. for District 93.
“Not only am I for public education but focusing on crime prevention instead of mass incarceration which will open up a lot of money, being more responsible with our state revenue, and accepting the federal Medicaid dollars which will help a lot of vulnerable Oklahomans,” Dollens said.
Jeremy Coleman with Putnam City Schools also filed for office Wednesday. “The biggest thing is to support our kids,” he said.
Coleman teaches special education and promised to resource teachers with better pay and vote against measures that impact class sizes.
“How can you adequately teach and connect with kids when you’re starting to pile more and more into a room?” He asked.
They're teachers taking a step out of their classrooms and perhaps comfort zones and into the legislature hoping to make a change.
“You’re watching the beginning of a change in our government and this is it,” Mullen Hopper said.
A Political Action Committee (PAC) has also been created to support any pro-public education candidates by a group called Oklahoma Parents and Educators for Public Education.