LAWTON, OK (TNN) - The Professional Oklahoma Educators and specifically the newly founded Duncan Chapter wanted to offer the people of Duncan a chance to interact with their state lawmakers, and to express their main concerns going forward during this current legislative session.
At tonight’s forum, many of the questions were geared towards funding for education, something the Professional Oklahoma Educators have been hearing since they started hosting these forums last year.
“I think the awareness of the needs of classroom have definitely been in the focus of the public here in Oklahoma. And most of the public really are 100 percent behind funding public schools,” said Professional Oklahoma Educators Executive Director Ginger Tinney.
Sharon Banks, the president of Duncan’s newly founded chapter also teaches in the district. Every day she sees first hand the struggles a small budget has on her classroom, and started the chapter there to change it.
“We have teachers doing a multitude of things in the classroom and we aren’t getting compensated for those things we are doing, but even more important than that we need more funding in our classrooms for textbooks, for resources in the classroom, for technology,” said Banks.
Another question they heard tonight is when are class sizes going to decrease? This organization believes the answer might lie in the passing of the teacher pay raise bill last year, and the bill for another pay raise that passed the house today.
“Our members want smaller class sizes, the classes are still very large. What you have to do to achieve that goal is to hire more teachers, obviously. With the higher pay we will attract more teachers and also give additional funds so the teachers can buy the supplies that are very necessary to their classrooms,” said Tinney.
When forum's like the one tonight at Duncan High are planned, hearing from legislators face to face is one of the main goals. The other main goal is to have legislators hear directly from the educators in their district.
“Legislators can hear from their constituents, and know exactly how we are feeling and what we are wanting to have happen at the Capitol this year,” said Banks.
The role Professional Oklahoma Educators plays is unique because their sole purpose is to lobby for public education, and Executive Director Tinney told me feedback from forums like the one tonight help them decide on exactly what they will choose to lobby for at the Capitol.