Dear JT Parents,
I wanted to write to you to let you know what I feel is inevitable. Unless the state legislature decides to be responsible and give our teachers a pay increase, the teachers are going to walk. I want all to know, this is not just about teacher pay raises. Common education, as well as other state agencies have absorbed many cuts year after year for the past 10 years. This is about the future of pubic education in the state of Oklahoma. I sincerely believe this walk out is out of love and concern for your students because our teachers know something has to change. We have lost many excellent teachers to surrounding states. Our applicant pools have decreased significantly. Our legislatures think we can just give people off the street an emergency certification and that the quality of instruction is not going to erode. Would any of us go to a dentist who was emergency certified? So, why do we accept it when it comes to the learning of our children? Also, we have had to absorb teachers thus increasing class sizes. Thus far, we have had to absorb in a few grades and many of you know the impact that has had on your child. Anyone who has ever taught knows, if you increase class size, the quality of instruction and learning are decreased. We have also lost staff in Art, Foreign Language, Reading specialist, and Special Education. A few years ago, we stopped being funded for textbooks. Textbooks are vital to learning. There is no other state, in the last 10 years, that has had their funding cut more. Since 2008 public education has been cut over 29%. All of this while our state continues to see the number of students increase. The population of our state is growing as well as our diversity. However, they want our test scores to increase while adjusting to new academic standards. Currently, in our state, we have less teachers, larger class sizes, no textbook funding, and at the state level have the expectations of increasing our learning outcomes. This is an insurmountable task.
Parents, you trust us with the education and development of your children every day, so , please trust our teachers when they say the situation is dire. It is not just about the pay. It is about improving the future learning conditions for your children. On behalf of our school board, we will be supporting our teachers in getting our legislatures to listen. We sincerely thank you for your continued support of Justus-Tiawah Public Schools. Please feel free to contact me at any time.
Mr. GarroutteSuperintendent Justus-Tiawah Schools.