36 years before her, Blake Shelton used this girl's textbook. That's not a great thing.

It's been in circulation for a very, very long time.

Imagine opening up one of your textbooks to learn that it used to belong to one of the top country music stars of our time. Pretty cool, right? Maybe not.

When first grader Marley Parker opened up her new reader, she saw a familiar name scrawled in the sign-out page: Blake Shelton. It could be a neat coincidence (Marley and her family live in Shelton's hometown of Ada, Oklahoma, and though Shelton hasn't commented on whether it was his, it is possible), but regardless — the 1982 date by Shelton's name means the book has been in circulation for at least 36 years.

Marley was excited. Her mom, Shelly Bryan Parker, was not. Shelly wrote in a Facebook post, "I am EMBARRASSED!!!! I'm 40 and these people are my age!!! Thank you to every teacher/parent/support staffer/etc. for fighting for my kids education!!! Don't give up until education is FULLY FUNDED!!!!"


Marley is EXCITED that her “new” reader belonged to Blake Shelton, but I am EMBARRASSED!!!! I’m 40 and these people are...

Posted by Shelly Bryan Parker on Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Several commenters on the Facebook post didn't seem to see the problem.

One commenter wrote:

"Oh my gosh man you have to be kidding me. It’s a fucking book! It still has pages and the child can learn!! If teachers really cared about teaching, they would print shit off and teach!! Not complain about what they don’t have! They are forgetting about teaching at the most important time of year, the kids should be studying for tests, not worried about teachers not wanting to teach!!"

Another added:

"My main question is when did they change the alphabet that they need to buy a new book ... the letter A is still the letter A right? Or did it change to an S?"

But the issue isn't about whether the content of the book itself is outdated. The commenters are probably right that not much has changed in the world of first grade literature in the past few decades. They're also right that the book looks to be in fairly good condition. The issue is that many old textbooks being used in Oklahoma schools are outdated or in a virtually unusable condition.

Oklahoma teachers began April 2018 with a walkout, calling on the state legislature to improve their pay and fund their classroom needs.

Parents, teachers, students, and supporters marched on the state capitol building to urge lawmakers to approve $200 million in annual education funding increases, and they're making a good case. According to the nonpartisan Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, inflation-adjusted funding per student in Oklahoma dropped 28.2% between 2008 and 2018. Factor in that Oklahoma, a state that heavily subsidizes energy companies, has the lowest teacher pay in the nation, and they're absolutely right to feel a bit outraged.

Thousands gathered outside the Oklahoma state Capitol building on April 4, 2018, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Photo by Scott Heins/Getty Images.

Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin added fuel to the fire when she criticized the teachers for being entitled, saying, "It's kind of like having a teenage kid that wants a better car."

That comment came after the state approved a roughly $6,000 a year pay increase for teachers, and a $50 million funding increase, well short of the teachers' request. Previously, she said she hoped teachers would stop by the capitol to "thank" her and legislators. It doesn't seem that she understands the situation.

Teachers do this work because they love children, because they want to help inspire a new generation of leaders. They know going into it that they're going to be overworked and underpaid, but they do it anyway. What Gov. Fallin and other elected officials in favor of cutting public spending are doing is nothing short of exploitation. Teachers are finally saying "enough," and it's on all of us to stand with them, and their students, in their fight for fair treatment and adequate funding.

Thousands gathered and marched in a picket line outside the Oklahoma state Capitol building on April 4, 2018, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Photo by Scott Heins/Getty Images.

It's on us to fight for a world where no student has to use 36-year-old textbooks.

Most Shared

The great thing about American democracy is the separation of powers. The federal government has rights, states have rights, counties have rights, cities have rights, and we, as people, have rights, too.

Heck, even animals have some rights in the good ol' U S of A.

The president of the United States is not a king or a dictator so a team of U.S. mayors, led by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, are asking to go over his head to negotiate directly at next month's UN climate change conference in Santiago, Chile.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
Facebook / Amanda Williams

It can take time to feel comfortable in a new home, especially if you think there are scary monsters lurking about, which is why six-year-old Hayden Williams had trouble sleeping in his new room.

Hayden used to share a room with his 15-year-old sister, but when the Eldridge, Iowa family moved, each kid got their very own. While his sister was excited for the change, Hayden was having a hard time adjusting to the new arrangement.

"My little man has been having severe anxiety since we moved into the new house…I've tried everything under the sun to get him to sleep in his own room. Nothing is helping," his mom, Amanda Williams, wrote on Facebook.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
Courtesy of Capital One

It was around Christmas 2018 and Jean Simpkins, 79, was looking out the window of her new three-bedroom apartment. Eleven floors above Washington, D.C., the grandmother of two gazed out at the lights of the city and became overwhelmed with gratitude. "The only thing I could say," Simpkins remembers, "was 'Thank you, Father.'"

Almost a year later, Simpkins still can't help but look at the apartment as a miracle — one she desperately needed. Fifteen years ago, when her grandson was born, she became his primary caregiver. Six years later, when her granddaughter was four, Simpkins was awarded full custody of her, too. She's spent the time since trying to give her grandchildren the life she knows they deserve, which has been difficult on a fixed income. On top of that, Simpkins worried that the neighborhood the family resided in wasn't the best influence on her kids. Something had to change.

Then she learned about Plaza West, a new development created by Mission First housing that would reserve 50 of its apartments specifically for families in which a grandparent or other older adult was raising children who were related to them. The waiting list, Simpkins says, was daunting. There are a great deal of grandfamilies in the D.C. area and she was sure it might be years before she got the call. But soon after applying, she was offered a choice between a two-bedroom and a three-bedroom apartment. She accepted the latter, sight unseen. She knew that each of her grandchildren needed space of their own.

Keep Reading Show less
Future Edge
True
Capital One
via Pixabay

Ninjas are black-clad assassins that date back to the days of feudal Japan. They are skillful, secretive fighters who have mastered the element of surprise, espionage, and clandestine tactics.

Ninjas weren't held to the Bushido code like the samurai, so they could be mercenaries who did the lord's dirty deeds without worrying about their honor. A ninja's most important power is the ability to be stealth and sneak into castles or homes to take their targets by surprise.

Keep Reading Show less
popular