A Parent’s Voice for Public Education

I am a parent. 

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My daughter is in preK and embarking on her school years.  That means that I am embarking on my journey as a public school parent.  It can be a scary place, wanting the best for my daughter but not always knowing what I can do to support and help her school.  In Oklahoma, public education is in a scary place.  It is a new passion of mine to do what I can to make the next 13 years of my daughter’s school career the best it can be.  It is painfully obvious that the majority of our elected officials don’t seem to be listening to educators these days…. but they need to start listening to parents.  

As a parent, I believe in the power  and importance of public education.   A community’s future depends on the education of its citizens. Maybe 100 years ago, public schools had a different role than they do today.  But in our global society, public schools serve the needs of all students and families.  For many students, school is the safest place they can be and the best hope to build a future for themselves.

Public school can and should be:

  • a place where students feel safe, challenged, and encouraged
  • a place where students are able to make mistakes and be creative
  • a place where they learn how to get along with their peers but also how to work collaboratively with them, even when they disagree or don’t get along
  • a place where students are exposed to not only the foundations of reading, writing, and arithmetic but also exposed to innovative ideas and engaging learning opportunities in all content areas
  • a place where parents, communities, teachers, and administrators work together, striving for the best interest of all students but also the best student of each student

Currently in Oklahoma, the state aid for schools is approximately $3,000 per pupil.  That breaks down to about $17 a day per pupil.  Last time I checked, most teenage babysitters charge $15-20 an hour. (edited to clarify…because we don’t get out much I gladly pay $15-20).

I am sure there are a ton of complicated formulas and other factors, but as a parent, I am not an expert in school funding.

Can someone help me understand why we currently have the lowest per pupil funding in over 5 years?   Or why Oklahoma remains the lowest in our regional per pupil funding?  Or why although we have steadily increased in the number of students in our schools, we have had the highest percentage of education funding cuts in the nation?

Since I don’t understand, I have had several conversations with administrator and experts in local schools to help me understand.  The only answer we can come up with is that Public Education is not a priority for our elected officials.  Or put more simply, the education of our states future generation and future leaders is not a priority for the majority of men and woman we have elected to represent us at the Capital in OKC.

Our school superintendent and Governor like to blame the cuts on everything from the recession to ObamaCare.  They do brag that even in the midst of a struggling budgets, they increased the public school budget last year.  What they fail to mention, is that because OK had an INCREASE in the number of students in the public schools there was a DECREASE in the per pupil funding, even with the increase budgeted by the legislator in 2013.

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I know that throwing money at schools is not the answer, but as a parent, I am pretty sure that this great state can do better than 17 Dollars a day.  Yes,  local taxes and federal dollars supplement state aid, which increases our per pupil funding overall to about $8,500.  But even with those added, OK is still lowest in the region by at over $1,000 per pupil.

As parents, we can ALL tell our stories and urge our legislator and state leadership to start limiting or removing some of  the unfunded, underfunded, and harmful (based on years of educational research) reforms like:

  • The retention clause of the Reading Sufficiency Act.  Although this law has been in place for almost a decade, in 2011 the OK legislature added the retention clause that removes a parents voice from the process.  In all of its years of implementation, RSA has never been fully funded.  This year, schools received about 30$ per qualified student to implement one of the most overreaching reforms our state has seen.  Supporting and intervening as a student learns to read it vital.  It my daughter struggles over the next few years, I know it is my job to work with her teachers to support her however I can.  Retention is not an evil thing.  But a crucial part of making retention successful is parental support and by-in.  RSA can work, but it has to involve all parties without high stakes.  By the way, I have yet to ever see any article that shows me that a standardized test is even a good way to improve my child’s learning.  Still not convinced, ask a third grade teacher how they feel.
  • High Stakes End Of Instruction tests for High School students.  Colleges don’t care if students pass these exams.  Neither do vo-techs, welding schools, beauty colleges, or any other job or post high school training that our high school grads will face.  No one cares.  All the EOIs seem to do is stress out students and teachers, give the SDE data to crunch, and make some students feel like dropping out might be their best option.  Companies and colleges want employees who can think, problem solve, adapt, and communicate clearly.  How many EOIs test those skills?
  • TLE and other teacher evaluation systems based on test scores and faulty value added calculations.   People are complex beings.  Schools are complex communities.  Teacher evaluations, based on test scores and value added models, do little to harness the complexity that is a student or school.  It doesn’t improve student achievement, but it does drive good teachers out of education.
  • A/F School Report Cards.  As a parent, this is probably one of the most embarrassing things about public education in Oklahoma.  It is painfully obvious to almost every parent I have talked to that this system means nothing.  A parent knows how their child’s school is doing.  If they don’t, I am sure all public schools would welcome a parent to come spend time in the building, see what is going on, and get involved in their child’s education.  All the A/F Report Card does is label and degrade schools by things that are out of their control.  It is a fickle system and even that coveted A’s could easily be B’s or C’s next October based on the faulty statistics used.  This recent article in the Tulsa World is a great example.
  • Tax Cuts!  Budgets are tight statewide and tax cuts are not the solution that is best for Oklahoma.  Many departments are facing cuts again this year including DHS, Prisons, Mental Health, and transportation.  The tax cuts proposed this year will net less than 80$ in the pocket of the 80% of Oklahomans.  Tax cuts are not proven to stimulate the economy or provide for lasting growth.  OK Policy does a great job of breaking down this issue and how it impacts Oklahoma.But…What can we as parents do?

Contact your legislators.  Most of our elected officials DO listen to citizens.  But remember, they also hear from paid lobbyists from mega-corporations who push for laws that profit their bosses.  That is why it is VITAL for citizens to contact them.  There are so many issues that they need to hear from REAL PARENTS about. Remember, most legislators don’t have children in public schools, so they don’t realize what is truly happening within our public schools.  We have to tell our stories!  Go here to find contact information for your legislators. It sounds intimidating, but you can do it.  You can either email or call.  If you are adventurous, get a group of friends together and head up to the capital to chat with them.  You are a tax payer.  They represent you.  Tell them how you feel.

  • Make your message short and sweet
  • Say where you are from
  • Be passionate, but not crazy or extreme
  • Tell why you are against it, how it affects your children
  • No threats, just show your concerns
  • Ask them to propose and/or support laws that fix the problem (taken from a TN Parent Group’s page)

Follow groups like Tulsa Parents Legislative Action Committee (PLAC), Central OK PLAC, Sand Springs PAAT, Cleveland Co PLAC, Pontatoc County PLAC, Oklahoma PTA.  We are trying to get as much information out to parents  as possible so YOU can know where YOU stand on the issues and how those issues impact YOUR children and family.    When important bills are being heard in the house or senate, we try to get the word out so you can contact those voting on it.  Last week, parents and educators rallied and as a result, the voucher bill was defeated in committee.  Our voices were heard.  It works.  It is empowering.

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Join with educators at the Capital on March 31st.  Parents voices are IMPORTANT and POWERFUL.  This rally is not just for teachers and administrators.  PARENTS can rally for their children just like teachers can rally for their students.  If you are unsure how this impacts your school, set up a time to meet with your principal.  Ask other parents.  Attend PLAC meetings (like the one in NORMAN on MARCH 4th).  If your school board has voted to send representative teachers instead of the dismissing school for the day, adopt a teacher to represent at the Capital.

Follow education blogs and #oklaed on twitter.  New blogs are popping up everyday.  There are blogs written by parents, principals, teachers, retired teachers, and even anonymous education experts.

Here is my story.  My reason for speaking out.prekphotosOU30 copy

This is Dani.  She is our world.  She is the child for whom we prayed.  She is half princess, half superhero.  She is creative, loving, inquisitive, and a tad ornery.  As of today, she wants to be a princess superhero when she grows up.  She loves to read books and tell stories.  Frozen is her favorite movie (of course) and she loves the idea that she doesn’t need a prince to be strong.  Now that she is in school, a whole new world is opening up to her.  She was telling me the other day all about the books her teacher is reading to her and the songs she is learning in music class.  It is my responsibility and honor to advocate so her learning experiences in public school are amazing and she can be a Superhero Princess or anything else she wants to be.

What’s your story?

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33 thoughts on “A Parent’s Voice for Public Education

  1. Angela says:

    It was literally like you read my mind while writing this blog. We have another great group to join on FB called Oklahoma Parents and Educators for Public Education and our focus is exactly what you have stated. I also have no political background and no experience with school funding but my boys are my world and they are my reasons.

  2. Oklahoma Public schools are one of the main reasons we are choosing to leave the state and head to Kansas. The teachers in Oklahoma are amazing, and with so little to work with its a wonder they accomplish what they do. I say level the whole “system” and start fresh. Don’t put the lower performers in with the higher achievers. It doesn’t make them work harder or suddenly make their parents take a vested interest in their education-it distracts from the students and parents who expect to get a good education and it is exhausting for the teachers who must constantly dumb-stuff down because they are worried about their test scores. Get some teachers at the Capitol and let the “boots on the ground” make the decisions for once. I wish you all good luck and hope you can pull it off!

    • Darlene Harmon says:

      I personally am offended by your comment. As the grandparent of a child who has ADHD I personally know he struggles but he is extremely bright and “dumbing stuff down” Would be teaching him he isn’t as intelligent as others but because they don’t do what you ask, he is a straight A student. Wow, can’t believe people such as an adult Would even think that way!

      • Brian says:

        Darlene, I didn’t see anything in Anna’s comments that were offensive. Your reply is very difficult to read, but it sounds like you’re saying that you are glad that educators dumb things down so that your grandchild get straight A’s. This isn’t doing your grandchild any favors, nor is it helping any of the other children in that class.

  3. Angela says:

    Instead of “rallying” and constantly griping about how your kids don’t have enough and aren’t being provided with everything you think they should, here’s a thought– get a job!! Get 2 jobs. Why can’t YOU (the parent) donate to the school instead of DEMANDING that the government increase the funding. It’s not the government that’s paying more for your kids, it’s the childless, hardworking taxpayers that get to pay for your child deductions, EICs, schooling, food stamps, clothers, daycare, etc. Now you want us to pay more so your kid gets more money for school. Stop having kids if you can’t afford them and stop bitching that the money coming in is not enough. You had the kids, why can’t YOU care for them? Sitting on your ass at home saying that your job as a stay-at-home mother is so hard. Get a job and pay for your kid to go to private school.

    • Darlene Harmon says:

      Do your children go to private school? If so, great! I’m happy you can afford it. But there are those of us who can’t! Just because I can’t afford a private school doesn’t mean I shouldn’t afford to raise a child. And whether I choose to be a stay at home mom and raise My child myself instead of paying someone to do it isn’t your business. My child and others are entitled to an education whether public or. Private.

    • JaeDub says:

      Angela, you obviously don’t understand how this works. These laws affect every child – public, private, or home schooled. Students aren’t exempt from these tests or common core by being in private school. If you are going to leave cowardly, hate filled comments, educate yourself first. Taxes are used for schooling our children. They will be running our country and filling our economy in our old age. Wouldn’t you want them to receive the best? Or just leave them behind so they can run the US into the ground?

    • Brian Mottinger says:

      YOUR A IDIOT.. there is a 99% chance I make more than you and pay more in taxes than you and I do not agree with the states outlook on child education. .. not everyone who complains is poor.. idiot.

    • Angela, thank you for your input. Rest assured, I have a job. I am also a full time graduate student. And a full time wife and mother. I am a year away from a doctoral degree. Not only do I care for and raise my own daughter, my husband and I are foster parents who help care for children whose own families cannot care for them for a variety of reasons. Again, I appreciate your input and wish you all the best.

      • naarocked says:

        While your “Very Liberal views” are rosy, why don’t you actually go check out this webpage: http://ok.gov/sde/staff-directory#Adminstrative This is the Staff Directory for Administration alone for the state of Oklahoma School’s…you wonder where your money goes…lets just say that each time you see the title: Executive in front of their name, its at least $100K per year in salary + benefits. There are 10’s of Millions of dollars spent on Administration and bureaucracy. Break up the School system, pay your teachers better, and you might actually see an improvement. Oh, and I don’t know where you got your facts on States that actually lower taxes not doing better, but your wrong. Eventually jobs flood the area, that brings in more tax dollars, and people are actually employed instead of on welfare…I know what a concept!

    • Some people like the selfish, self-serving, hypocrite above really makes my blood boil. I don’t know who you are (Angela from March 3 @ 4:15p.m. above) but the parent (Nicole) who wrote this article is spot on.

      The article expresses what many feel and would love to say. The article presents the many obstacles that we as educators are facing every day. The reason you teach isn’t for the money, it’s because you love children. You teach because you have the desire to help make their life rewarding and never think of the obstacles as a teacher you have to overcome to help those children succeed. Most teachers also have children and see the value of an education not only for their own but that every child deserves to have a free public education!! Why? Because they can then become a tax-paying citizen with a great job and bright future… obviously because they have the knowledge and skill to contribute to our society.

      People like you (Angela from March 3 @ 4:15p.m. above) should pay back the things you have became accustomed to provided by tax dollars of parents who work!! Because you obviously do not have children, or if you do… you send to private schools. That’s ok.. great, you have money to do that.. your choice. Let’s see how fast you cry ‘wolf’ if you ever need a firefighter, a policeman, a first responder, hey… why don’t you even start constructing your own roads to drive on so you don’t have to associate with the ‘common’ folk.

      I for one will be at the Rally… I for one am an advocate for our kids. My children have been my life and would do anything for them. But, I won’t be around forever and they have to be independent and make a life for themselves. An education is the road to their success. I don’t mind working and doing my share and have for over 30 years in the classroom. Our kids, our families, our communities, the underprivileged children who we see that didn’t choose their circumstance…. are worth fighting for!

    • Excuse me but being a stay at home mom has nothing to do with sitting on one’s butt. Of course some may and that would be a bad parent, but just like some people who get paid at their jobs and do nothing and are lazy! So do not insinuate that a stay at home mom does nothing. Your comment was not a solution to any problem but just another gripe and yell fest. It takes people working together to solve any issue. I don’t think reaching in the pockets of hard working Americans is always the solution though. It is true our kids are over tested, and so how do we stop this? Is more money even the solution? I don’t know but I do know belittling won’t solve anything.

  4. Nelda True says:

    At one time I planned to become a teacher. I attended college in OK, however, I changed my mind and went into another career. Parents have to be involved at the school level, but they also have to be involved at the state level. Know who is running for the state offices. The governor, education director, your state legislators are all key to getting the best school funding passed. Do research on what these people have actually done in their life. Pay attention to not only what they say, but more importantly, what they do. They’ll say anything to get your vote, but have their actions backed that up. When you do find a candidate that you feel you can trust, work for that candidate. It’s hard work to get elected. I see so many people complaining, however, when I point out they need to get involved in the campaign, they balk. No time, not interested in politics. You better get interested. Don’t vote by political party. That’s what has been happening far too long in this country. I wish you the best.

    • “Don’t vote by political party” So True!! This has always been one of my biggest frustrations with Oklahoma voters! Many candidates depend on straight party voters to get elected. I am all about getting information out to parents so they can make informed decisions and begin to see the danger in straight party line voting.

      That being said…the June primary is CRUCIAL, regardless of your affiliation. Republicans and Democrats alike have to get out and vote this Summer.

  5. I would like to introduce myself by saying that I am a third grade teacher in Oklahoma City. This is my first year as a contract teacher, but it is not my first year with third graders. I am glad to see you advocating for parents and their responsibility to contact legislators. It is what every school needs. However, I would like to challenge two of your points. First, the Reading Sufficiency Act is important and valuable. Going through college, I thought it was the stupidest thing our state had ever conceived, and I had no desire to be a part of it, but my experiences this year in a low-income school have shown me differently. Teachers tell parents from kindergarten that a child needs to be retained because of developmental delays, but the parent refuses to allow it. The child continues on with below-average grades and abilities until upper grade teachers give up on him. I am disappointed that parents have lost their say in this case, but I have students who are reading two years below grade level and their parents do not want them retained. They might get a D on their report cards to pass, but they can’t be successful in fourth grade. The RSA is an exit exam for third graders. Because of this, I hope it will reduce the negative stigma of retention and encourage parents to truly consider why a teacher is telling them to retain their child in earlier years. I do believe that we should have stricter entrance regulations for kindergarten, though, to prevent students from entering school before they are developmentally ready. I truly hate high-stakes testing, and I think children can prove their reading capabilities through more reliable methods, but I see this as a logical step. We have to do something to stop pushing students through the grades. Secondly, the Rally on March 31st is illogical. Yes, it is a great way – and one of the only – to reach our legislators. However, school districts cancelling school for the day are being unreasonable. We need that instructional day. It is also just before the testing period. I don’t want to take a day off from my students, and I won’t. I was in 6th grade in this same district when my teachers took a day off for the same reason. The only result: a day of no school and furious parents. Nothing changed. Finally, I agree that EOIs are unreasonable and unnecessary. I agree that the school report cards are unreliable and degrading. However, I see that there are too many education politicians and not enough people willing to figure out how children learn best. That’s the real problem with Oklahoma education, and that’s the real reason parents and teachers need to speak up.

    • Thank you for your input. I love speaking with teachers. I agree RSA was and is valuable. It has been in law in Oklahoma for more than 10 years. Maybe I should clarify, it is the automatic retention and high stakes changes to RSA that were made in 2011 and the fact that this program has never been fully funded that I see as most needing to change.

      I too am torn on the idea of canceling school for the rally on the 31st. Although I don’t think it is illogical. Administrators and teachers in Oklahoma have lost their voice. Elected officials are not listening to them. I see the rally as a way for them to do something… anything. Personally, I like the idea of schools sending representatives. Correct me if I am wrong, but many schools that a certain amount of “advocacy days” built in to their contracts with local chapters of OEA.

      You said: “I see that there are too many education politicians and not enough people willing to figure out how children learn best.” SO true!!

      Thank you for all you do for your students!

      N

    • Mary Stephens says:

      I am a third grade teacher. In fact, this is my 13th year to teach it. One test is not the answer to third graders reading on level, especially when it is their first year to take the state exam. I have worked in a district where the teacher has the final say in retention. Now I work in a district where the parent can make that final decision. That choice needs to be left up to the individual teacher, not a state test.
      A smart solution might be to quit sending our four year olds to preschool and raise that age to five. Sometimes those students start when they are three if they meet the cutoff!
      We have put ridiculous pressure on our young children without leveling the playing field! Our government funds testing and programs such as reach coaches while allowing our schools to have 27 kids in a classroom….how much sense does that make?
      I have no idea what your “involvement” with third graders entails, but clearly as their classroom teacher, you haven’t been at it long enough.
      While I will agree that students shouldn’t be passed on, I personally have never passed someone who could not fill the educational requirements.
      The pressure that we have put on these kids is insane. Watching them over the years, I see us raising a generation of kids that are now hating school a few years earlier than in the past.
      As for the rally, it IS the only way we have ever gotten the attention of our lawmakers! The reason some schools are canceling that day is because the cannot hire enough subs to fill in. And as you know, if we have those days built up, we are entitled to take them.
      Oh and FYI, our allotted RSA money didn’t even pay for the software we were required to purchase to comply. You can’t keep demanding more and more from our schools and then tragically cut our budgets every year.
      I was surprised when I read your post. Thank goodness you are NOT the consensus!

  6. Stephanie Crawford says:

    As an educator, I appreciate your support. I want to return the favor. Below are some errors I found on your site. I wish you well in your efforts to raise your beautiful daughter.

    As a parent, I believe in the power and important (should be importance) of public education. A community’s future depends on the education of it’s (should be its) citizens… For many students, school is the safest place the(y) can be and the best hope to build a future for themselves.

    Or why although we have steadily increased in the number of students in our schools (,) and (delete and) we have had the highest percentage of education funding cuts in the nation?

    of our states (state’s) future generation

    30$ per qualified student to implement one of them (the) most overreaching

    employees that (who) can

    There are so many issues that they need to hear (about) from REAL PARENTS about (delete about and add ,)and remember, most legislators don’t have children in public schools,

    • Thanks! I will fix those mistakes. I looked over it several times, but I should have just saved it and looked at it again after letting some time pass. I am terrible at reading what I think is there instead of what is actually on the paper when I edit too soon after I finish it.

  7. Deborah Humphrey. says:

    I don’t know the author, but I’m going to assume that she is one of the generation that Dr. Baressi says we have “lost.” I’m very impressed with the writing ability of a “lost” student. I don’t know how she managed to come out of our Oklahoma public schools with such insight. I guess she had amazing parents. (Just in case you didn’t get my tone, I’m being sarcastic.).

  8. Robert Everman says:

    As a parent of four children each of whom graduated over the last 10 years from public ed in Oklahoma, I fully believe the key is the investment in time parents are willing to give. I became very involved in any way I could, leading by example that education is a priority and valued in my home. What happened? Despite the underfunding, my two boys excelled and went on to OU, very prepared, excelled there as well, and now one is Doctor of Pharmacy (graduating in the top 3% of his class) the other graduated from OU school of engineering with a double major in chemical and petroleum engineering. They both have good, high salaried jobs! My two daughters graduated almost two years ago and are presently at OU doing well. Did the lack of funding fail them. No. Did the fact our ed system is funded less than surrounding states impact them negatively? No. Would it be great if government was more efficient and used our money better? Absolutely! All I’m saying is yes, get more involved. Yes, talk to our legislators about increasing funding. But ultimately take responsibility and really become involved with your kids. Show them how valuable education is. You just may be surprised!

    • I am glad your kids are doing so well!! You are totally right that parents can and should be the first and best teacher for kids. But as a foster parent, I have seen to many situations where this is not the case.

      The reforms, mandates, and environment in a school is completely different than it was even 2 or 3 years ago, let alone 5 or 10. Funding has steadily gone down while those mandates and pressures have gone up along with the number of students. And remember, schools have expenses just like families: gas, heating, food, supplies, diesel…. They have less funding and it has to be stretched further. Could the schools use a major audit from the top down… sure.

      Money isn’t everyone. But if you walk into a public school today, you can just sense the pressure cooker that reforms and high stakes testing have created.

      We also have a looming and growing issue with teacher shortages. OKC and Tulsa go the entire year with subs in some classes because they can’t fill the positions. OK remains not only the lowest in per pupil spending, we are also the lowest in teacher pay (even adjusted for cost of living). Great teachers are leaving the profession and our best and brightest college grads are not even considering.

      Again, I am happy for your kids. I am excited for their prospects. I just want to my daughters will look the same in 12 years. 🙂

  9. Missy says:

    Just one question. Where in the world are you finding teenager babysitters that are making $15 to $20 per hour? I want my kids to make that! When you exaggerate facts, it makes your entire posts suspect.

    • I think the average in my area is closer to 10$ an hour, but we have a hard time finding someone to come out to our house. Maybe I pay too much but we don’t get out much so 15$ for me is a bargain.

    • Good for you! I have many friends who homeschool for a variety of reasons. It is a big decision that any family that homeschool has made because it is what they feel is best for them. I wish you the best of luck.

  10. I honestly believe the intention is – if they continue to give lower and lower funds per child – more people will opt for private schools. This pushes us more and more toward religious funded education. This was the goal all along. You just have to make people desperate enough to do it.

    It also gives them someone to blame. Sure they lower the amount per student, but it was Obama that made them do it!!! If they are able to convince people of this despite other states that are managing to do the opposite, it gets them even more upset. Those lousy liberals! See how they are damaging our children!! Therefore the current politicians stay in power, and just get even more upset at those lousy federal people that are ruining our great state. Meanwhile they rally on personal responsibility.

    Personal responsibility would be admitting the facts. Without that federal government funding Oklahoma would be way worse off. We get more from that federal government we all hate than we put in. We are the poor state. States like New York and California that we hate are subsidizing Oklahoma. And just like when you get subsidized with money from your parents, the money does come with strings. We need to accept that. We don’t like welfare right? Then don’t expect something for nothing.

    We are only to blame for our own suffering. Every time we vote someone in that just wants to lower taxes even though schools already don’t have enough it’s our fault. No one else is to blame. Did you even look at the other guy that wants to raise school funds? Or did you ignore him because of that D in front of his name. He/She was not going to lower taxes? Were you just so selfish that you might get another $80 bucks a year that it was worth ignoring him. Or for heavens sake was he going to support health care for the poor, which was enough to ignore him for that. Screw the children’s education right. That is more important.

    Yes I am going on a bit of political tirade. Unfortunately the decisions for the funding, that is at the root of the problem here, is a much broader problem than just the small policies mentioned. There are intelligent ways to solve these problems. There are researchers into the best education policies. Listen to them. There are economists. Listen to them. All of this is something we can solve. Or we can dig our heads into the sand and just do what we want, conveniently blaming anyone we don’t like when our reckless ideas don’t work. That is the opposite of personal responsibility.

  11. perry l adams says:

    Nicole…as a retired superintendent of schools and a concerned lifetime citizen of Oklahoma I very much appreciate your efforts. Our current state leaders have an agenda that has been promoted by their constituency that is about keeping money in their pockets. I like money in my pocket too but understand that without public education I could have, and most likely would have, gone in a complete, and most likely negative dlirection. I currently operate two small businesses and do not rely on any public funding. The current political climate in our state does not only stand for smaller government but is antigovernment. Contrary to some of today’s popular beliefs government is not all bad. It you examine closely some goals and objectives of the state leaders of today you will find that vouchers for public funds to be used for private education is close to the top of the list. To accomplish this goal it will be necessary to show our public schools are failing. Thus high stakes testing and A to F school ratings. On the outset it appears vouchers would divide our students even further (haves and have nots). I sincerely hope their social experiment works for the best for all. I say this feeling very strongly that these changes are going to occur for better or worse. It’s a bold step that would appear to have many negative consequences. I hope I am wrong(been wrong many times before). If you need some assistance I would encourage you to contact the OSSBA or OASA. They have wonderful educated and informed people who fight for public education on a daily basis. Good luck with your endeavours and God Bless. Perry Adams, former Superintendent, Clinton Public Schools. Currently a rancher and bailbondsman.

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