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TCTA leader: Teachers incredulous over governor's audit request

Oklahoma Education Association
Shawna Mott-Wright speaks at a legislative forum in 2018

Officials continue to respond to Gov. Stitt’s call for an audit of Tulsa Public Schools.

On Sunday Superintendent Dr. Deborah Gist posted to Facebook that Stitt is on track to be the most corrupt governor in decades. Local teachers are expressing a similar sentiment, according to President of the Tulsa Classroom Teachers Association Shawna Mott-Wright.

“I’ve been hearing a lot, received a lot of text messages that said exactly or to the effect of, ‘Can you believe this crap? Can you believe that he’s calling for this? This is rich. That’s the pot calling the kettle black.’ Teachers are pretty upset with Governor Stitt and Ryan Walters,” said Mott-Wright.

Two TPS board members, Dr. Jennettie Marshall and E’Lena Ashley, appeared at a press conference with state Secretary of Education Ryan Walters last week to laud the audit. Mott-Wright said teachers are having complicated reactions.

“People tend to think, ‘Well, if you think this, you can’t think that,’ but actually thoughts are not mutually exclusive, you can think different trains of thought simultaneously without contradicting yourself,” said Mott-Wright.

But Mott-Wright said she simply can’t wrap her head around working with Walters.

“Anyone putting themselves in league with Walters, I don’t understand. And that’s really all I have. I don’t understand that.”

Outside of his state employment, Walters makes at least $120,000 dollars a year as an employee of a nonprofit funded by supporters of vouchers. Vouchers would see tax dollars going to private schools.

Before joining Public Radio Tulsa, Elizabeth Caldwell was a freelance reporter and a teacher. She holds a master's from Hollins University. Her audio work has appeared at KCRW, CBC's The World This Weekend, and The Missouri Review. She is a south Florida native.