The Norman Transcript

Local news

February 17, 2009

Teacher's union reps upset with proposal

They say Kern measure would censure teachers

OKLAHOMA CITY ? A bill by an Oklahoma City state Representative would censure school teachers and is part of a vendetta against the Oklahoma Education Association, a union representative charged Tuesday.

Jill Dudley, president of the Moore Association of Classroom Teachers, said state Rep. Sally Kern's House Bill 2161 is "obviously a vendetta" against the OEA and its membership.

"I think if you look at some of the things that Sally Kern has supported and authored during her tenure, it's pretty obvious she has some type of vendetta against the OEA," Dudley said. "I don't know what the issue is; I know she's a former teacher and maybe she had some type of bad experience."

Under Kern's bill, teacher's unions would be prevented from "distributing materials at professional meetings for the purpose of influencing the results of an election for state or local office or a ballot measure, or for the purpose of soliciting funds for or against a candidate for state or local office or a ballot measure."

Oklahoma Education Association President Roy Bishop said he thought "legislators would have better things to do than deal with stuff like this."

"On one hand, we have a bill out there to completely deregulate us, and on the other hand there's one to micromanage us," Bishop said. "And there's so much more our legislators need to be doing. You would think they would be worrying about our $900 million budget hole, in a situation where people are losing their jobs."

Dudley said she was "suspicious" of the bill's motive. "It's interesting. The last petition drive to occur in this state was the HOPE petition. But that is going to be on the ballot whether Rep. Kern likes it or not."

And while he wouldn't speculate on Kern's motives, Bishop said Kern has historically "come out against us anytime we seem to do anything."

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