Letter to the Editor: Choices
BY The Rev. Don Tyler, Tulsa
Sunday, February 03, 2013
2/03/13 at 8:00 AM
Recently, the Tulsa World and school bureaucrats opposed funding virtual education in Oklahoma because of "for-profit" involvement. In reality, not all online schools are "for-profit."
One thing every virtual charter school in Oklahoma does have in common is that families that send their children to these schools are Oklahoma taxpayers and attend these schools by their own choice - unlike Tulsa Public Schools, where many students who attend do so because they are trapped in the district economically and have missed the window to make a choice to leave.
TPS routinely rejects emergency transfers and denies families that want to attend another public school the ability to do so in order to hold on to state dollars associated with their children. This is wrong.
Parents have started to choose virtual charter schools or other online programs that combine virtual instruction with face-to-face teacher interaction. The schools they exit should not continue to get paid to serve kids that no longer attend.
Despite continued limits on parental choices we have seen educational alternatives, like online education, grow rapidly. The Legislature should work to expand school choice, not limit it.
If rules and restrictions produced quality, Oklahoma public education would be the best system in the country, but sadly this is not the case. Competition is the force that produces quality in the long run. The race is on to improve public education. May the best school(s) win.
Editor's note: The Rev. Tyler is pastor of Greater Grace Church.
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