These relationships have changed because we made that change happen! We stood up and let our voices be heard. Not all of the legislators are pro-public education and we know that, but if the majority of them start listening we achieve results like stopping ESA/Vouchers and getting our standards wrote by Oklahoma educator, for Oklahoma educators passed.
Relationships are the key to fostering the dialogue between educators and legislators. I have made new friends through this journey of letting my voice be heard with my legislators and even legislators who are all across the state. My goal was never to say what I had to say and be done, it was to build a lasting relationship with these people, to have a continuous dialogue. I want to be that educator they call, text, or e-mail when they hear something about education and have a question. I want to be that educator they come visit in the classroom and see the great things happening in public schools.
It is also about mutual respect! I am highly involved in politics in our state, but that makes me no political expert! I need our legislators to help me understand all the ins and outs of what is going on as much as they might need an educators input. I respect that they know how to do their job, they respect that I know how to do mine. We can both rely on each other to make positive changes across the state for our children!
The students of Oklahoma, ALL students of Oklahoma, are the reason we get up every morning and go to work with a smile on our face! No matter how rough it might be some days, I love my job. I love those students like they were my own children. We need legislators to stand up for our children. If we approach them with attitudes of dislike, disrespect, and are mean-spirited this could play into human nature of getting upset at those e-mailing, calling, or having conversations with legislators in this negative manner and voting against public education because of they way they were treated. If a person is attacked repeatedly, it would not surprise me if they completely stopped listening to those people attacking them, we all would do the same thing.
It is of utmost important that when contacting legislators we have respect. We always tell our students to earn our respect, yet sometimes we get so frustrated with legislation some educators are forgetting that same thing.
I want to leave you with a few challenges:
1) If you are an educator, you must stay involved in politics to make sure the best things are happening for our students! Join the Facebook Group "Oklahoma Parents and Educators for Public Education". It is a positive group which posts a lot of great information from parents and educators who are already building relationship with their legislators and stay current on legislation.
2) Stay positive. There are also several Facebook Groups who just complain, complaining with no solution gets us nowhere. Stay away from those groups!
3) E-mail, call, text, messages of thanks when your legislator listens. They appreciate our support as much as we appreciate theirs.
Please feel free to comment or leave questions. I would be happy to answer any questions and respond to comments.