It’s been almost four years since teachers converged on the state Capitol to protest inadequate funding for public education. For a group of Duncan educators, the legacy of that advocacy continues.

Following the Oklahoma teacher walkout in 2018, Duncan teachers Cathy Barker, Derrick Miller and Sonia Norton were among the estimated 36,000 to rally at the state Capitol for better pay and classroom resources. Lawmakers that year approved an average $6,000 salary increase for classroom teachers and, the following year, added another $1,200.

That year they formed the Legislative Advocacy Team of Duncan Educators, recognizing the need for the walkout-inspired advocacy to continue. Their local association, the Association of Duncan Educators, negotiated for a contract that included 50 advocacy days a year. Norton is the association president and Barker is the vice president.

They visit the Capitol regularly and host lawmakers in their schools, too. They were at the Capitol on Monday this week for the start of Public Schools Week, dropping into lawmakers’ offices and ensuring their voices are heard. “Vouchers are one of the biggest concerns this year,” said Miller, who teaches journalism at Duncan Middle School.

Duncan educators visiting the Capitol on Monday, February 21, 2022. From left: Cathy Barker, Shannon Rose, Derrick Miller, and Sonia Norton. (Photo provided)

Does your school district have a legislative advocacy team? I’d love to hear about it. You can reach me via email or DM.

— Jennifer Palmer

Recommended Reading

  • Oklahoma’s attorney general is reviewing whether dozens of school library books violate state obscenity law. [The Frontier]
  • A Washington-based organization will spend $25,000 on commercials opposing House Speaker Charles McCall’s decision to not hear a controversial voucher bill. [The Oklahoman]
  • Arizona’s Senate approved a massive expansion of its school voucher program despite voters overwhelmingly repealing a similar measure two years ago. [Arizona Republic]
  • Texas’ attorney general had dinner with the family of a transgender kid. Then, he issued a legal interpretation that certain types of gender-affirming care constitute “child abuse.” [The 19th]

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