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Red Carpet Welcomes Miami Teachers As Community Rallies Support - KOAM TV 7

Red Carpet Welcomes Miami Teachers As Community Rallies Support

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MIAMI, OKLAHOMA -

  Miami Oklahoma teachers get a big show of support from students and the community after being let down by lawmakers who cut education funding.

Teachers walked the red carpet in Miami this morning to cheers from students and citizens.  A twenty-four year veteran teacher said it meant a lot. Debbie Witten teaches at Will Rogers Middle School. She said, "Its great to know that your  community and your students appreciate you and  all the hard work that  you do."
Darcy Riley who was forced to go back to the classroom after the district deregulated its library system to save money appreciated the welcome.  Riley explained, "It was very exciting, very uplifting, to see all those kids out here supporting teachers and education. It was awesome!"


Organizers said it was important to show this kind of appreciation for teachers because of a lack of support on the state level.
Miriam George, a volunteer with the new group, ROCET, which stands for Recognize Ottawa County Educators and Teachers lamented, "Our educational system in Oklahoma ranks very near last in the fifty states in what we appropriate for education. And there were more budget cuts this year and no raises."
And there were funding cuts to professional development and safety training which is still required by the state. So the group raised funds to pay for guest speakers and training presented today helping the district meet the requirement.
Superintendent Jeremy Hogan said it
s training the district would have had to pay for or put together itself in the past. "With them taking this on, it frees up some funds, frees up some staff, just allows us a lot more flexibility and we're appreciative of it,"  he said,
The district itself, cut fourteen days from  the school calendar to give teachers more time off for doctor
s appointments or family. The time came by starting and ending the school day earlier.


Vendors set up booths with information and giveaways at Tuesdays ROCET event.   The teachers toolbox was among them.  It is set up at  a local church where teachers can come for free school supplies year round. Many say they share those with their students.
Darcy Riley explained, "They (students) have to have their daily supplies. And it (toolbox) takes the burden off the student, takes burdens off the teacher, and it gives them a positive outlook that they have what they need."
State cuts have eliminated some counselors in the district so teachers will pick up the slack there too. But said they won't let kids down even as they feel the state has done that to them. 
Debbie Witten admitted,
Its upsetting that they (lawmakers) dont appreciate us. But we do it for the kids. Its, my whole career is about doing it for the students.  So, we just keep on keepin on. Just move forward.
Patsy Coyne took part in the welcome event because her daughter is a teacher too and she doesnt understand the lack of state support. Its been such a negative time. I think the encouragement is important. Its   always good to be appreciated at your job.

And ROCET volunteer Miriam George added, We, the people, the citizens, see what youre doing and we care.  And we want to thank you."
ROCET also held a red carpet welcome and development day for all other Ottawa county school districts last week.

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