Rachel Leyland and Dr. Kendra Abel
August 3, 2018
“We have to stand up for what is right and it's not just about us. It's about the future of our children and their children.”
Rachel Leyland and Kendra Abel are public school teachers in Oklahoma City who participated in the walkout in April of 2018. We discuss how the walkout shed light on the problems caused by chronic underfunding of public education, the power of standing together to demand change, and the importance of supporting pro-education candidates for office.
Support for Public Education Bolsters Democracy
Chronic underfunding and continued cuts to public education have grave consequences. In Oklahoma, teachers and parents are supplementing educational programs out of their own pockets in order to level the playing field with education in other states. Teachers are underpaid and are forced to take second jobs, or even leave the state for better pay.
A good education transforms lives. Our humanity is at stake when we forsake the future of our children. We need to teach them to have critical thinking skills, a vision for a better tomorrow, the tools to participate in our democracy, and an innate understanding that their voice is important. What we do today will affect us for generations to come.
The Power of Civic Action
The teacher walkout in Oklahoma raised awareness on the issues facing public education, ranging from large class sizes to hostile state representatives. The public now understands how meager the education budget is and what that means, as well as how their elected representatives have voted on education. Oklahomans are now engaged in an open conversation about how to improve public education.
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Rachel Leyland and Kendra Abel are both teachers in the Oklahoma City Public School system. They participated in the teachers’ walkout that took place in Oklahoma in April of 2018. They continue to be involved with this issue through the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and the OKCPS Board of Education.