The Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy (OICA) has an initiative – “Chalk the Vote” – to communicate directly with teachers about policies that impact children and education professionals. Chalk the Vote and OICA seeks “block captains” in every school building in Oklahoma. The block captains will receive and share policy updates regarding legislation, relevant state agency rules, nonpartisan electoral information regarding voter engagement, and advocacy tools to help teachers engage with lawmakers. The goal is to maximize information, voting, and political participation in Oklahoma’s education community.
In the time of COVID-19, educators have an even more difficult job. “Chalk the Vote” will give educators opportunities to share concerns and develop coalitions necessary to impact public policy to make education better. To provide educators with the latest information, HERE is a link to the guidelines for schools to reopen as developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Educators wishing to receive updates about Chalk the Vote or to serve as block captains can sign up below.
Chalk the Vote is co-chaired by two former teachers, Claudia Swisher and Sharon Pyeatt, both from Norman.
Pyeatt has worked as both a kindergarten teacher and an assistant professor of early childhood education. She said there is an under-appreciation for how hard it can be for teachers to make time to vote.
“Voting is more difficult for educators than many people realize,” said Pyeatt. “We get to school early and stay late. We work extremely hard to plan, strategize, individualize, and create learning experiences that will leave our students thinking. This doesn’t happen during the school day; it happens during our free time. If a Chalk the Vote school block captain can help by ensuring absentee ballots are available or cover bus duty that day, it goes a long way toward making it easier for a teacher to get to his or her polling place.”
Swisher, who taught English at Norman High School North, said that children develop an appreciation for the political process when they see their teachers being more engaged.
“Just like with reading or math or science, students develop an appreciation for political participation when they see how passionate their teachers are about the subject,” said Swisher. “When teachers are informed, active, and engaged, they demonstrate by their actions that voting is a privilege and an honor. Chalk the Vote will help to create an accountability network, a support system, and a sounding board for ideas to maximize political engagement from teachers and send a positive message to our students.”
OICA Board Member and Millwood Public Schools Superintendent Cecilia Robinson-Woods said that teachers have the ability to directly impact elections and public policy.
“Teachers have the power to make a real difference at the polls,” said Robinson-Woods. “Keeping teachers informed and providing a strategy to ensure their voices are heard can sway elections and directly lead to policies that promote the health and well being of Oklahoma’s children.”
Please sign up to be a block captain for your school building today!
Note – Your information will not be shared or sold with other organizations.