Oklahoma teacher participates in second statewide walkout of her career

Taitum Wilson

Some educators have been teaching in Oklahoma long enough to participate in two statewide teacher walkouts that demanded greater education funding from the state legislature.

Thousands of teachers and students gathered at the Oklahoma State Capitol on April 2 to speak with their representatives and show solidarity in their request for education funding. The scene was reminiscent of the last time teachers held a walkout in April 1990.

Donna Parker, a kindergarten teacher from John Ross Elementary, participated in the walkouts in 1990 and 2018. Parker said walking out again on April 2 gave her a sense of deja vu.

“Then, there was a bill on the table when we were walking; and so when we went for the walk, nothing had been voted on,” Parker said, referring to House Bill 1017. “Now, it’s a little different. They voted, but we just know it’s not enough.”

For the 28 years Parker has been an educator, she has spent most of her time teaching in Edmond, Oklahoma. Parker said her district has been fortunate to have more resources than most schools, but class sizes have been the biggest issue for Edmond.

“This year, we have 24 kindergarteners, and actually our neighbors in Deer Creek have 27 and 28,” Parker said. “So we are way too full.”

Parker said that both walkouts called for improvements in class sizes.

“I believe the magnitude and importance is equal,” Parker said. “It’s just we have more kids, so the picture seems bigger.”

Donna Parker, a teacher from John Ross Elementary, walked out both in 1990 and today to support education funding in Oklahoma. #oklaed#okleg #okteacherwalkout #capitol