Rhetoric against public education keeps Oklahoma far from top rankings
Ranking 45th in education is a far cry from the top 10. When you look at this ranking alongside other metrics surrounding children in the state, it’s not too difficult to see correlations between all those metrics and the lowest ranking. 10 nationwide for the well-being of children. we have to do better.
Many people are surprised to learn that about 90% of Oklahoma City public school students live below the poverty line. This fact does not mean that our children cannot learn. Quite the opposite. My child is bright and wonderful. Some come to school hungry. It means that there are people who are experiencing homelessness. That means you may have family members who are incarcerated, or may not have a winter coat. I mean. It’s not an excuse. It’s true. And it’s not just Oklahoma City public schools. This is happening across our state. we have to do better.
With public education becoming more difficult to fund each year, it comes at a high price. It puts a strain on classroom teachers and administrators planning innovative programs for their students. When public education is always in the political spotlight, it puts a strain on classroom teachers and affects those considering entering the profession. Teacher education programs are more rigorous than most bachelor’s degree programs. However, salaries are often low and public scrutiny is open-ended. All of this puts a strain on our children. we have to do better.
There are many ways to improve the lives of children and increase their educational rankings. The first step is to work together and agree that the mission is more important than who gets credit. If all our children are thriving, who cares which political side you belong to? We all have a role to play by voting and in the way we champion our school as members of our community. Hmm.
Public education serves the majority of Oklahoma’s children and will continue to do so. Public education should always be the easy choice for quality, cost and convenience. Until we address the many other issues facing our children and families, it will be very difficult to reach top 10 status. Until we find common ground on the issues most important to our children’s well-being, it will not be possible.
Mary Mélon-Tully is President and CEO of the Oklahoma City Public Schools Foundation.