Facts about Oklahoma Education
Negative rhetoric about public schools makes headlines and tops news programs. These "news" stories often come from privately funded, dark money special interest groups from outside the state of Oklahoma. These well funded elites think they know better than regular, hardworking Oklahomans, our kids' teachers, and our schools.
Here's what we believe as Oklahoma Pastors about our public schools:
OUR SCHOOLS ARE NOT FAILING
It's everywhere. The common refrain is that most public schools are failing. And yet how are the "experts" coming to this conclusion? And who are these experts? Once you start to question this line of thinking it takes just moments to connect the dots. Elite outsiders are spending millions upon millions of dollars to convince you our schools are failing.
Why would they spend so much money to influence our state? Because they stand to profit handsomely if we privatize more public school money into their pockets. Our schools largely aren't failing. We are failing to fund them. Check it out, visit your local schools today.
PUBLIC EDUCATION IS A LEGAL RIGHT
The Constitution of the State of Oklahoma is crystal clear: "The Legislature shall establish and maintain a system of free public schools wherein all the children of the State may be educated." (Section XIII, Article 1)
You will notice no mention of funding private schools, vouchers, for profit charter schools, or any other scheme to rob our kids of a quality free public education. To argue for state funding of anything other than public schools is unconstitutional.
OUR TEACHERS ARE A STATE TREASURE
The elitist privatizers continually attempt to sow negative thoughts about our precious educators by asking redundant, unanswerable, or other rhetorical questions about our teachers. They repeat the tired refrain that our teachers make too much money, don't work hard enough, or it's all the superintendent's fault.
Anything to take the focus off of the real problem: We're 48th in the nation in per student funding. And we haven't raised education spending since 2008. So while inflation and enrollment have risen steadily every year our public school budget remains flat.
We believe Jesus is quite clear in this regard, "those who work deserve their pay." (Luke 10:7 NLT) Put simply: you cannot put kids first if you put teachers last.
WE HAVE A SPIRITUAL MANDATE
In Matthew 19:14, Jesus said, "Let the children come to me. Don't stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children." (NLT)
Education is a gift of God for all people. It enables children to learn who they are and about their world. Jesus was clear that we should not get in the way of children's progress for they are close to His heart.
Justice demands that we seek the common good of education for all children, not just those who can afford it or perform well on tests.