My wife is about to finish her degree in secondary math ed from SWOSU. She's starting to freak out about the prospect of being a non-religious teacher in Oklahoma, especially with the additional concern of having a daughter that will be entering school in a few years. It is one thing to be a quiet atheist teaching critical thinking and rationalism. It is entirely another to be a parent of a young child in the public school you teach at.

So, she's been pushing the idea of checking out Austin, Texas as a place to move after she finishes school. I'm fine with that. The ACA would be a great organization to get involved with, and I can get a job anywhere with what I do.

I'm just wondering if there is any realistic chance of raising a kid in Oklahoma and not running afoul of the school board. Additionally, if we did move to Austin, would it be any better, even in the most liberal city in Texas?

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I was speechless to see a church on almost every corner when I moved here a year ago. I mean, it was the first time I'd ever run into traffic on a Sunday because people were rushing to get to church. I was uncomfortable all the time, and it felt like walking on egg shells cause everyone I met had a little 'God in his heart.'

But in all honesty, I think the OK is one of the best places to live and raise a family just because of all the religion. You can't escape it.

The biggest thing that irked me was people boasting about how great God is. I always make sure people knew where I stood. But I think it takes a bigger person to not be so religious and at the same time not be so concerned about other people who are religious. (If that made any sense.)
I have a few friends who have lived, or maintain dual residency in Austin and Tulsa. They all suggest Austin is a better place for personal freedoms, cultural expression and tolerance than Tulsa, often referring to it as the 'Paris of Texas'. However, they also admit that Texas is a very volatile state overall, with aggressive religious conservatives running most of the show.
Probably the most secular areas are the northeastern and northwestern United States, but these are experiencing pressures from the religious right as well. Keep in mind that there is an engineered, well funded effort underfoot to "reclaim" America as a Christian Nation.
Oklahoma has it's fair share of issues notwithstanding the faithful. Really, it's mostly a personal issue as everyplace has some problems with something. I've lived in IA, MA, NB, AZ, CO, CA and now OK and can find good and bad with all. May I suggest that after you're finished with school take a road trip to those states that catch your attention and spend some time combing the area you like, asking the locals how they feel about their hometown/area/state.
You could home school your kids (!). Best wishes.
We desperately need freethinkers to stand up to renegade school boards and any teachers that attempt to scale the wall of separation. I say move to Bethany. ;)
I'm always up for a good fight! Even though I homeschool my daughter, I find it extremely important that the wall of seperation is upheld for a multitude of reasons.
I raised my daughter there and never encountered religion at her schools. She is a non-believer (not publicly out) and VP of her kids elem. PTA. She has never mentioned an issue of religion at that public school. I am about to move back (yikes!) with my 4 yr old so I ask of you PLEASE STAY! The children need you!
This post seems to be dormant, but I want to add another thought if you guys are still in Oklahoma.

I've noticed that nobody has mentioned the idea of starting our own secular/Humanist charter or private school here. It seems sacrilegious to even consider such an idea, but let's be honest about the dilemma; the public school system has become the ideological battleground for religious fundamentalists, and they are finding numerous victories in many states.

Due to family circumstance and schedules I ended up having to put my daughter back in public school. We still go over just about everything that she learns in school, then some! Since she has been in school here she has encountered religion in the classroom a few times, mainly from a teacher (and a science??? teacher at that). The idea of an atheist home school chapter sounds great! I would love that, but honestly right now I'm spread almost as thin as I can go for the next year.
I've lived under the fundamental religious ceiling here in Oklahoma all of my life. I've often thought about "making a run for it". But we need as many secular people as we can get to try to balance out the the religious influences in our state. Secular teachers are really valuable! Hang in there if you can, but if you decide to move, I wish you all the best!


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