The Antlers American

Letter to the Editor


Letter to the Editor January 26, 2023

Oklahoma has a fractured system of 512 public schools, 25 charter schools, about 207 private schools 23.000 students home schooled and EPIC virtual instructio­n in every county. A mess. Include the 15 mills that 59 Career Tech schools are taking from many districts and the issues are compounded. Now Governor Stitt and State Superinten­dent Walters are requesting a commitment for funding more schools under the guise of school choice. Really, more schools? Schools cost (teachers, classrooms, gyms, utilities) and how are we to afford the required facilities and teachers with more new schools? The Administra­tion should be aware that school choice is often not relevant or feasible in rural areas. According to recent test scores, many students in Tulsa and OKC can barely read or write. Their parents are often focused on economic survival, not school choice. A significan­t number of children are basically illiterate. How are we to provide a charter/private school for them? I would hypothesiz­e that 95 percent of Oklahomans cannot define a charter school. Not once have I heard the Governor or the State Superinten­dent inquire about ways and means (or present a comprehens­ive plan) to improve the public schools in an attempt to remove Oklahoma from the NATIONAL rating of NUMBER 45. Is the plan to abandon the present system of public school funding and evolve another process? Do the majority of Oklahomans want their children in charter/private schools? We need to be talking to our legislator­s ASAP. I would recommend that the Governor concentrat­e on supporting public schools and do the following: (1) initiate an analysis of how we prepare school administra­tors (leadership and change comes from this group not the school boards), (2) think outside the box and overhaul classroom discipline as many teachers leave because of disruptive students and classroom chaos, (3) cancel the four day week (4) develop a school merit program to financiall­y reward an entire staff/faculty for achieving overall excellence and (5) consolidat­e many districts. There is much more to do, but this is a start. Public education in Oklahoma is rated at the bottom nationally because of the lack of leadership from the State Superinten­dent’s office and the lack of commitment of many parents to their children’s education. Public education must be top priority. Oklahoma must find a fearless leader for public education to take charge and pioneer a new path to overcome the present sorry state of affairs within our families and schools. Oklahoma must do better.

Gary Greene Tishomingo

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