Oklahoma school choice event a big success

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State of the Union Address notwithstanding, hundreds of Oklahomans turned out for tonight's National School Choice Week event at UCO. We heard remarks by State Superintendent Janet Barresi, former Congressman J. C. Watts, State Sen. Gary Stanislawski, Jeff Reed of the Friedman Institute, and political reporter John Fund (on book leave from the Wall Street Journal).

Photos and a detailed report will have to wait, as I need to eat something and get home before too late, but here are a few notes:

Fund said he'd been covering school choice issues for 25 years, but he believes we are on the verge of a breakthrough. The internal contradictions on the anti-choice are becoming impossible to ignore, even for honest liberals.

Fund quoted the late president of the American Federation of Teachers, Al Shanker, as saying, "When children start paying union dues, that's when I'll start representing the interests of children."

Watts told advocates for school choice to be prepared for a battle, as the left defends its judiciary and education turf more vigorously than any other.

Stanislawski focused on opportunities in the field of online education. Oklahoma already has several online charter schools, and there's proposed legislation that would expand those opportunities to make it possible, for example, for children to use online schools to supplement what their own school offers.

In mentioning her involvement as a parent, Barresi said she could have afforded to write a check for private school tuition or hired a moving van to go to a different district, but instead she and her husband opted to stay and fight, working to establish the state's first charter school.

I spoke to Oklahoma State Rep. Elise Hall, a homeschool and TeenPact alumna, who told me she's working on a "Tim Tebow" bill, that would make it possible for homeschooled children to take advantage of extracurricular offerings at their local public school. That's especially important outside the metro areas, where there may not be the critical mass of homeschoolers needed to offer sports, band, drama, and other extracurriculars that need a large group of students.

It was an upbeat, positive event, and I'll have more to share about it when it's not so late, and I don't have a two hour drive in the rain ahead of me. Thanks to Americans for Prosperity Foundation and OCPA for putting together a great event.

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Bob said:

Two excellent documentary films concerning the deep problems in public education that are both well worth watching are:

"The Cartel",


"Waiting for Superman".

Both quite excellent, with "Waiting for Superman" more of a human interest story of people in failing school systems trying desperately for a lottery selection to get their child/children into an Charter School.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on January 24, 2012 10:41 PM.

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