Parents deserve a say on what would propel Oklahoma schools into the nation’s top ranks.
The Oklahoma Parent Legislative Committee started distributing an online survey last week asking parents to rank measures that determine quality schools.
Among the choices are student measures like ACT scores, graduation rates, and college and career readiness. Other options include various academic offerings, qualified teachers, full-day pre-K, safe environment, technology access and scheduling flexibility.
The parental muscle flexed during the 2017 teacher strike has remained strong. Through efforts like this, parents can continue make their voices heard.
To keep the momentum going from the strike, parents formed OKPLAC in January as a statewide coalition bringing together local groups.
It is a nonpartisan organization seeking solutions to improve, protect and ensure a strong, equitable school system for all children. It has also advocated for more state funding.
Gov. Kevin Stitt was elected on a promise to turn Oklahoma into a “top 10” state but left that goal largely undefined.
As near as we can tell, all the choices listed in the online survey and comments left on social media platforms seem to boil down to the need for more funding, which is within the control of the Legislature and the governor.
For a decade, lawmakers cut taxes to improve the economy. It didn’t work and spun the state into a financial crisis.
As a result, schools took a massive funding hit, which led to historic highs in emergency teacher certifications, ballooning class sizes, elimination of programs and a teacher shortage.
Stitt entered office with an optimistic view of getting teacher raises up to top in the region. The boosts in teacher pay in the past two sessions have started the road to getting there, but that doesn’t make us top 10.
That goal will require constant investment across the education spectrum.
Parents see first-hand the remaining consequences schools suffered from being underfunded. The survey is a good way to voice an opinion about the state’s education priorities and keep the pressure on for a top 10 achievement.