The Pryor Times

State News

April 1, 2014

Tiger teachers roar at Capitol

PRYOR, OK — “You’re gonna hear me roar.” The school anthem served Pryor teachers well as they boarded a bus to the state capitol to do just that — roar.

Pryor, and other county educators, joined the estimated 25,000 rallying at the Capitol in Oklahoma City. Combined, the roar was deafening as these teachers demanded pre-recession funding for their students.

Current and retired teachers, students and support staff, coaches and counselors listened as education advocates spoke. Oklahoma Teacher of the Year Peter Marcus, an orchestra leader, put the situation in terms legislators and the average American understands by using an agriculture metaphor. “Imagine if wheat farmers were told they had to grow soybeans and cotton. Then imagine they weren’t given any equipment to do it”, said Marcus.

“These farmers were then restricted in how, when and where they could plant. Then imagine these farmers were called failures.”

The thousands cheered as Marcus said “The legislators are making a choice, and they will come down on the wrong side of history.”

John Tuttle, president elect of the Oklahoma State School Board said, “now is the time to take a stand. And we have 678,000 reasons to stand.”

Tiger teachers began a chant of, “now is time” that rumbled through the crowd. A student, Erica, said she is a flower that chose the perfect garden, Oklahoma public schools, to grow in. “No test has made me who I am, my gardeners have.” Erica said the current mandates are producing stressed students and stressed teachers.   

“I may not be a doctor, attorney, or even a dentist, but even I know a stressed flower will wilt,” Erica said to the “gardeners” of public schools.

County teachers then pounced on a chance to bend the ear of Rep. Ben Sherrer. Picket signs ranged from State Superintendent Janet Baressi bashing to state shaming.

“It was democracy in the making,” said leadership teacher Evette Barham. “Teachers, students, administrators and support staff all united for a common goal. The speakers covered it all very well, but our job isn’t done, its just beginning.” Teacher Leanne Ballard gave credit to Barham, Bea Robertson and Heather Burroughs for helping organize the successful showing of Tiger teachers.

“They are a great example for our students, they are showing the importance of standing up when it’s the right thing to do,” said Ballard. “This showed me just how impressive we are as a group, we’re in this for the long haul for our students.” Ballard said Pryor has some phenomenal educators. “We have some high-quality teachers that synergize well together,” said Ballard.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
State News