Episode 032: Legislative Update 4

For the fourth Legislative Update of Passing Notes, Todd Gragg, @MrGragg, of Mid-Del joins the podcast again. In this episode we focus on school entry dates, four-day school weeks, and the potential $1,200 teacher pay raise.

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Episode 019: Everyday Advocacy

The Passing Notes Podcast is going to take a quick break from the #TechSeries to talk Advocacy while the whole country is gearing up for important midterm elections. This and the next episode is going to focus on what teachers in the state of Oklahoma need to know to prepare themselves to continue to use their voice in our state to affect change.

All of us will have the opportunity to vote in the midterm election and all of us will have a lengthy ballot. I printed my sample ballot off last weekend and there were races on that thing I didn’t even realize were happening. So here are some resources to help you navigate it all:

  1. Check out the podcast Let’s Pod This – This podcast is hosted by Scott Melson and Andy Moore and is affiliated with the Let’s Fix This organization, a bipartisan group of people who are working to help people engage in Oklahoma state and local politics. They’ve put out several episodes lately focused on the races and state questions that will be on your ballot!
  2. Print your sample ballot here. You will need to put in your name and birthday then the system will generate two options for you, pick one and print off. I used my sample ballot to do the research on each race and filled it out so I don’t have to think about who I want to vote for on election day. I’m just going to take my sample ballot with me to fill out the real thing.
  3. Confirm your voter registration here. While the period to register to vote is over, you can still verify that you know where to go on November 6, in the event that you have moved since the last time you voted or have never voted at your current polling place.

If you have any questions let me know! Our vote is so vital and our voices need to be heard in our state by representation that has taken the time to listen.

For this episode of Passing Notes I interviewed Shari Gateley. Shari is a high school English teacher, Putnam City’s 2017-2018 Teacher of the Year, and was a state finalist for Oklahoma Teacher of the Year. She uses her platform to speak to teachers about everyday advocacy for the profession and for our students. You can find Shari on Twitter @ShariGateley

This episode was recorded at Design Tunnel in downtown OKC!

Episode 005: Interview with Carri Hicks

Carri Hicks is an Oklahoma educator that is running for office. She started her campaign almost a year ago by promoting awareness for the issues most important to her and door-to-door campaigning. I met Carri when she began her teaching career atCH 1 Tulakes Elementary, she now teaches at Grove Valley in Deer Creek Public Schools. You can find more information about Carri and her campaign for Senate District here or on Facebook.

I wanted to interview Carri about her experiences as a teacher and a candidate for office, especially when considering our current political climate and the fact that we are in the midst of a teacher walkout in the state of Oklahoma. Yesterday, the first day of candidate filing, saw record numbers of individual filling for office. Our state may be at a tipping point for change or it may maintain the status quo. It is an exciting time to be in Oklahoma.

Below are the questions I prepared to ask Carri (there were some follow up questions in the podcast that are not included below):

  1. Tell us about your experience in education?
  2. What made you decide to run for office?
  3. What is the platform you are running on?
  4. How has your experiences as an education and as a mom helped you to define your platform?
  5. Why is it important for educators to run for office? Why is it important for more women to run for office?
  6. What do you think prohibits educators/women from running for office?
  7. What has been your biggest struggles/hurdles to running for office?
  8. How has the Oklahoma teacher walkout impacted your campaign?
  9. What steps do you think our legislators need to take to move our state forward? With what has happened in the month of April, what are your thoughts on change in our state?
  10. What advice do you have for people considering running for office?

Episode 002: Interview with Claudia Swisher, Part A

I have followed Claudia Swisher on Twitter @ClaudiaSwisher and on her blog Fourth Generation Teacher for years. She has truly been an advocate for education throughout her 39-year teaching career and now into retirement. Over the years I have learned from Claudia the importance of advocacy and persistence in the face of seeming defeat.  Claudia has taught students at every grade-level in the K-12 system as an elementary classroom teacher, a school media specialist, a multi-categorical resource special education teacher, a title 1 remedial reading teacher, and a high school English teacher. She is certified in English Language Arts, library media, and reading specialist with a graduate degree and 20 hours past a masters in special education. Oh and she is a National Board Certified Teacher.

However, this quote by Marjory Stoneman Douglas, which she proudly displays on both her Facebook and Twitter pages, sums her up and her life mission: “Be a nuisance where it counts; do you part to inform and stimulate the public to join your action. Be depressed, discouraged, and disappointed at failure and the disheartening effects of ignorance, greed, corruption and bad politics – but never give up!”

The Teacher Walkout in the state of Oklahoma has been a true grassroots movement, spring boarded by the 9-day teacher walkout in West Virginia, where teacher pay was ranked at 47th. Oklahoma teachers banned together through the use of social media to plan, strategize, and get union leaders on board. The potential walkout in Oklahoma is remarkable, as it is not been pulled together by teachers rallying around a bill, was not union started, and is coming on the heels of two failed special sessions that failed to fund core services in our state. Further, this upcoming walkout is inclusive and is calling for state employees to join the cause. It is not just about teachers but our legislators failure to increase revenue and fund the government. The OEA has demanded that the legislator fund a teacher and support staff pay raise, increase funds to education, and fund a raise for state employees.

It is truly amazing what a group of dedicated, civically involved individuals can do to better our society. Further our students and children are watching. We are modeling for them democracy in action.