Morning Bell: Walkout continues, but some return to class
Good morning. On Wednesday, as thousands of Oklahoma teachers returned to the state Capitol for Day 10 of a statewide walkout, several teachers filed for office in the hopes of running a campaign fueled by the passion for public education that has been on display over the past two weeks.
Oklahoma's three-day candidate filing window began yesterday.
"The teacher walkout has really inspired me," said Renee Jerden, a middle school choir teacher from Norman, who also filed for office. "Then there was the general uncaring attitude of a lot of our legislators, it made me feel even more like this is something I have to do."
Jerden is running as a Democrat for Senate District 24 and said the challenge for teacher candidates will be to keep the public focus on education until the November elections.
You can read my story about teachers running for office here. As the filing window continues today, I'll be at the Capitol with more on any teachers who decide to run.
Teachers return to school
For some schools, the walkout has ended as districts like Moore and Shawnee resume class today. However, teachers in Moore pushed back on their superintendent's order to return, reports The Oklahoman's Tim Willert.
"I'm really disappointed that this wasn't communicated better to our teachers," said Diane Milam, a chemistry teacher at Southmoore High School.
"I know that this was a big decision and that he truly cares for every student in our district, but the teachers feel like they had the rug pulled out from under them."
Teachers, parents, and students confronted Superintendent Robert Romines during an emotional standing-room only meeting at Central Junior High.
Most who spoke were critical of the superintendent after learning schools would reopen Thursday and the district would be sending "a small delegation" from each site to the Capitol to continue participating in the nearly two-week long teacher walkout.
Ed secretaries on teacher walkout
In a column for the Washington Post, Valerie Strauss looked at what Betsy DeVos seems to be missing about the Oklahoma teachers’ strike. "One doesn’t have to believe in public labor unions, or the right of their members to strike, to recognize that teachers in Oklahoma and many other states are working in conditions that other professionals would not accept and that are objectively unacceptable for children," she wrote.
What did DeVos say about the Oklahoma teacher strike? You can read her remarks here, along with a response from the former education secretary.
Testing window extended
Oklahoma schools have been granted more time to administer state-mandated tests, but another extension isn't likely.
The state Department of Education announced Monday that public schools have until April 27 to administer paper tests, which was one week later than originally set. Tests administered online have until May 4.
The extension of the testing window was made as hundreds of schools remained closed during the second week of a statewide teacher walkout.
"But this is the maximum we have," state schools Superintendent Joy Hofmeister said.