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Game On for Kansas Schools

Press Release
March 19, 2013
Judith Deedy, Game On for Kansas Schools; 816-896-0318
Barbara Casey, NEA Shawnee Mission; 913-485-6783


Merriam parent walks 60 miles for her children, her schools, and her teachers

Heather Ousley, a Shawnee Mission parent and member of Game On for Kansas Schools, issued this statement after completion of her 60-mile walk from Merriam, Kansas to the Statehouse in Topeka in support of public education.

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 the future I thought was possible for my kids is threatened, I’m a little up in arms.

Since this legislative session began, there have 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 Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), to discredit our schools and what they are capable of and to justify their attempts to undermine the schools’ sources of revenue.

Because of this effort, the Legislature 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, friend, troop leader, and school volunteer.

I will not sit idle while they attack the teachers that educated me; those that educated my husband and brother; those 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 was invited by the teachers union, the NEA Shawnee Mission, to attend various legislative sessions on this day.

I came. But not in the comfort of my car.

I walked to Topeka.

I walked for three days.

I posted Facebook updates and twitter updates, on my newly minted twitter feed.

I walked to raise awareness.

I walked for my kids.

I walked for our teachers.

I walked for our schools.

This is how I do March Madness. I’m Mad. It’s March. I’ll march.

If you would like more information on the current legislative climate, and why it is so detrimental that I was and am willing to walk 60 hard miles in only three days, in the cold and rain, then please follow me.

I carried a basketball with me. On the basketball, I wrote, “Game On” for Game On for Kansas Schools, an organization that came about in direct response to the funding cuts. It exists to encourage parents to get in this game.

I plan on delivering this basketball, 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. As of this morning, there are over 800 likes — signatures — on this 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!


Game On for Kansas Schools is a grassroots advocacy group based in the Shawnee Mission School District. Its mission is to share information relating to public education and public education funding advocacy in Kansas and to encourage parents and other interested community members to "get in the game" and advocate for Kansas public schools.

NEA-Shawnee Mission is the professional organization for the educators of the Shawnee Mission School District.

Game On for Kansas Schools can be reached on Facebook at,

on the internet at and

by email at

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