Letter to the Editor: Product, monopoly, and market share

To the Editor:

Product, monopoly, and market share.

Words that resonate in the corporate world fall quite flat in considering how we educate our young people.

In a recent opinion piece in the Saturday, February 17 edition of the Edmond Sun, Jonathan Small, used these words to insinuate a lack of innovation and efficiency in public schools across Oklahoma.

Small misses something critical: the calling a teacher pursues. No educator plots a future to earn a hefty paycheck. While not agreeing to a vow of poverty, future teachers have no delusions of becoming wealthy.

Small opines that vouchers, which act as corporate welfare, are the magic bullet which will usher in a season of innovation. Is this what corporate bailouts have delivered? Propping up private enterprise with taxpayer dollars through vouchers or their close cousin “scholarship” tax credits seems tragically flawed. We should keep private schools private.

Indeed, profits are not the primary driver of innovation in education. Rev. Norman Vincent Peale said it best, “Empty pockets never held anyone back. Only empty heads and empty hearts can do that.”

Calling is what drives innovation. A teacher that senses a divine drive to open the world to young minds will always innovate and push efficiency over someone driving students to test better for a bigger bonus.

Conservatives should conserve - not look for ways to topple local schools we love and care about deeply. Oklahomans have invested in our public schools for over a century. And we have much to show for that investment in an ever widening menu of choices in the arts, STEM, early childhood development, and more.

Small businesses and churches are rallying around their community public schools in this low budget crisis with resources, volunteers, and encouragement. No wonder a recent Sooner Poll showed nearly 70% of Oklahoman voters are ready to raise taxes to give our teachers a pay raise.

We are blessed to have amazing teachers that show up each day to pursue their calling in our great state by serving our nearly 700,000 Oklahoma kids in public schools. 

Seems like the very least we could do is support them rather than insult them.

Rev. Clark Frailey
Lead Pastor, Coffee Creek Church

Published in the Edmond Sun, Wednesday, February 21 Edition