On a cool misty morning in April 1990, I got into a Dodge Caravan that was going to the state capitol in Oklahoma City. As I entered the Dodge Caravan, I noticed an elderly retired educator. I asked her what she was doing in a van going to the Capitol to support HB 1017. Her response is one that has been etched in my memory since that morning. She said, “I am going because when I was a young girl someone took care of me.” For the past 5 days, there have been tens of thousands of people doing the same thing that tens of thousands of Oklahoma citizens, including the elderly retired educator in 1990 did; supporting public education.
During the past week there have been many misconstrued beliefs that Oklahoma teachers are doing this for themselves. That is not the case. The teachers have received a pay raise and could be back in the classroom with a nominal salary increase. The marching continues because teachers recognize that we must restore funding to our classrooms!
The Oklahoma Retired Educators Association (OREA) has a table in the Capitol. We do this to show our support for increased educational funding. Our children, our grandchildren, and all children in our communities are worth it!
Will you please join me, my wife, and many other retired educators who have been showing support, throughout the state, for the children of Oklahoma. The events occurring at the Oklahoma State Capitol are far bigger than the OREA, OEA, AFT, or any other educational organization. I will not be marching for any of those reasons. I will be doing this because when I was a young boy, “Someone took care of me.” And for current OREA members, 101-year-old Lillian Parker, Stroud, Oklahoma; I do this for you.
Steve Massey, President
Oklahoma Retired Educators Association