Statement from Oklahoma State School Boards Association Executive Director Shawn Hime on the Special Legislative Session:
“Make no mistake: The legislature’s inability to pass a forward-thinking budget is bad for Oklahoma’s children. Thousands of Oklahoma students are being taught by underqualified, underprepared teachers in overcrowded classrooms.
Gov. Fallin asked lawmakers to fund a teacher pay raise to help stem a record teacher shortage. Instead, this session offered only heartbreak for the dedicated educators who have opted to stay in Oklahoma despite an average teacher salary and per-student education investment that rank among the worst in the nation.
Political gamesmanship, partisan sniping and even squabbling within parties dominated the special session. We saw legislators — including members of the majority and minority leadership — sit out important votes. Too often, our elected leaders traded barbs in news releases and press conferences instead of channeling that energy into productive gatherings around a negotiating table.
The glimpses of bipartisanship and leadership were appreciated but fleeting. Oklahomans –especially our children — deserve so much better. We must hold our legislators accountable.”