As legislators continue their attacks on teachers and public schools, one mom has had enough. Heather Ousley of Merriam, Kansas, decided to take her fight to Topeka - on foot. Ousley shared the following open letter yesterday to announce her trek:
To my fellow Kansans.
Those of you who know me personally, who have had a beer with me, a beer with Jarrod, who have been with us for the last 20 years, or maybe just the last couple of months, know that when something is important to me, I support it.
So it should come as no surprise, that now that I feel that the future that I thought was possible for my kids is threatened, I’m a little up in arms. Since this legislative session began, there has been an unprecedented number of bills and attempts to dismantle and defund the system that provides public education in the state of Kansas.
And let there be no doubt – that system has been functioning at a remarkable level, despite a lack of funding, for many years. There has been a coordinated attempt to justify this defunding, from outside business interests, who lobby through the Kansas Policy Institute (KPI) and the American Legislation Exchange Council (ALEC), to discredit our schools and what they are capable of, to justify their attempts to undermine their sources of revenue.
Because of this effort, our government is considering amending our Kansas Constitution to get out of its funding obligations. Obligations that have been upheld in court decisions.
I will not sit idle, while large business interests try to destroy the mechanism that can provide my children, and the children of their generation, whom I care about as a mother, and friend, troop leader, and school volunteer.
I will not sit idle, while they attack the teachers that educated me. That educated my husband and brother. That are now educating my children.
I will not sit idle while they cut funding to the vital backbone of our state. Not as a parent. Not as a Jayhawk.
I have been invited, by the teachers’ union, KNEA, to attend various legislative sessions on Tuesday of next week.
I will go.
I plan on walking to Topeka.
I leave tomorrow morning.
I will walk for three days.
I will post facebook updates, and twitter updates, on my newly minted twitter feed (bear with me while I get the hang of it).
I walk to raise awareness.
I walk for my kids.
I walk for our teachers.
I walk for our schools.
If you would like more information on the current legislative climate, and why it is so damn detrimental that I am willing to walk 60 f***ing miles in only three days, in the cold and rain (seriously universe, it couldn’t be nice weather this weekend?), then please follow me. I plan on posting updates to twitter and facebook. I’m Heather Ousley @ just1walk
This is how I do March Madness. I’m Mad. It’s March. I’ll march.
I’ve got a basketball I plan on taking with me. I’m writing on the basketball, “Game On” for Game On For Kansas Schools. (It’s not a full size ball – that’d be a little clunky to carry. It’s a miniature. Josh won’t miss it; I promise ;) )
This organization has come about in direct response to the funding cuts. It exists to encourage parents to get in this game.
I plan on delivering it, along with the message, “Game on” to whomever in Topeka will accept it and listen.
If you would like to join me, send me a message.
If you are with me in spirit, please like @Game On for Kansas Schools. I’ll consider every like on that page a signature on my basketball.
It’s time to pay attention.
I’d walk to the ends of the earth for my kids. In the grand scheme of things, Topeka ain’t that far.
With all my heart,