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Oklahoma teachers rally at their state capitol to lobby for needed funding

Jim Beckel / AP

Patsy Duck, a special education teacher from Hulbert, Okla., holds a sign urging Oklahoma lawmakers to "support educators" during a rally for education at the Capitol in Oklahoma City on March 15, 2011. About 1,000 public school teachers from across the state converged at the state Capitol to lobby their lawmakers to support education and pleaded with them to provide needed funding that could prevent cuts in the education budget.

Jim Beckel / AP

A group of teachers from Enid, Okla., crowd into the office of their state senator, Patrick Anderson. Teachers, from left, in the background, are Pat Ritter, Matt Holtzen, Vicki Elliott, Rhonda Harlow and Debbie Evans.

In interest of full disclosure -- I’m married to a teacher, and I’m willing to admit that might slant my perceptions.


I read stories about teachers and politicians at odds over money almost every week, and it makes me wonder what the end game is. It sometimes seems as if there is a war on public education.

I believe that the vast majority of public school educators are dedicated professionals who do a very difficult job every day, and that job doesn’t end when the kids go home. Many teachers work in advisory or coaching roles for school clubs, sports teams or student government. Most teachers face hours of homework and grading every night. They answer to co-workers, principals and parents every day. They are often required to stay current in their field by taking graduate-level classes during the summer.

It’s obvious to me that teachers are underpaid for what and how much they do. Most of them, at least the ones I know, do it out of dedication to and love for our children. However, love has limits and dedication can turn to cynicism when you feel unappreciated. It makes me worry about where all this is headed.