The OKPolicyCast is hosted by Gene Perry with production help from Jessica Vazquez. You can subscribe to our podcast on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, or RSS. The podcast theme music is by Zébre. If you have any questions for the OKPolicyCast, topics you’d like us to cover, or people you want us to interview, you can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This month many kids and teachers are heading back to school in Oklahoma. Also this month, an increase in Oklahoma’s teacher pay scale is going into effect for the first time in a decade. It was a hard won raise for teachers, and it came only after massive advocacy efforts culminating in a teacher walkout and rally at the state capitol near the end of the last school year. But even this much-needed raise won’t be enough to make up for years of cuts to education in Oklahoma, and the symptoms of these cuts are still visible in rising class sizes, missing programs, and reduced support staff.
That’s why for this episode, I spoke with an experienced educator and administrator about what it feels like coming back to school after all that’s happened. Rob Miller is beginning his first year as Superintendent of Bixby Public Schools. In a 25 year career in public education, he’s been an assistant superintendent, a middle school principal, and a teacher. He’s also been a vocal advocate in the movement for better education funding.
I spoke to Rob about the morale among educators coming back to school, how much more we should be spending to cover what schools and Oklahoma children need, and what he thinks the future of education should like. We also talked about State Question 801 to change how some school property tax dollars can be used and whether he thinks it will help.
You can download the episode here, subscribe at the links above, or play it in your browser: