To Comfort The Afflicted
And Afflict The Comfortable

To Comfort The Afflicted And Afflict The Comfortable

Thursday, December 7, 2023


Education Opportunity, Quality On Ballot


How come rich people in Texas, Ohio and Florida want to control your children’s schools?

Why don’t you ask candidate for Superintendent of Public Instruction Ryan Walters?

Much of his campaign money has come from wealthy out of state donors, and almost all of his election spending to win the Republican runoff also benefitted out of state companies. For example, he bought $207,000 worth of TV time through a firm in Indianapolis, IN and other large campaign buys were made in Utah and Ohio.

By contrast, every penny his November opponent and classroom teacher Jena Nelson has raised is from Oklahoma citizens and every penny spent has been with Oklahoma individuals and firms.

Does that matter? Only if you think it is important to support your neighbors rather than company executives in Indiana who you will never meet or know.

Besides the money aspect of this important race Oklahomans, especially parents, should examine closely the policy positions each of the two finalists has taken. If your school is in counties other than Oklahoma, Tulsa and Cleveland, Walters is an echo of Gov. Kevin Stitt who backed the failed Senate proposal to force so-called school choice down the throats of rural schools located in the other 74 counties. What does that mean? It simply is the diversion of taxpayer money from 93% of our children’s education to that of the already well off 7%.

If you like that scheme, you should love the Epic Charter School system, most likely the largest financial theft of public money in the history of our state.

And finally, if you are not convinced by now that Walters would be a nightmare for public education in Oklahoma, be aware he already has bragged about the fact that he has turned down federal money and will eventually, if elected, refuse all of it. At first blush that might sound attractive unless you realize the money provides meals for 500,000 kids every day, before and after school remediation, early childhood offerings and other proven approaches that make our schools success stories.

In closing, the flood of dollars from people who have never even been to Oklahoma continues to this day with daily receipts to Walters from maximum donors. Meanwhile, Oklahoma City classroom teacher Jena Nelson works nights and weekends carrying her message, as only the Teacher of the Year for 2020 can.

Every child counts, every teacher matters, and the rest of us should do all we can, in every way, to support them.

If we don’t, we are turning over the education system to Stitt’s boy, a guy who already mishandled, lost or wasted $14 million dollars of federal funds.

No wonder he doesn’t want to be responsible for it in the future, even to the point he would literally “take the food from the mouths of children” by refusing it.

The election is Nov. 8, but the results will determine educational opportunity and quality for decades to come.

Therefore, your decision is simple:

Jena Nelson knows kids and schools.

Ryan Walters knows Kevin Stitt and the rich.

I just report. You decide.

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Cal Hobson
Cal Hobson
Cal Hobson, a Lexington Democrat, served in the Oklahoma Legislature from 1978-2006, including one term as Senate President Pro Tempore.
Mark Krawczyk
Mark Krawczyk
March 9, 2023
Exceptional reporting about goings on in my home state as well as informative opinion pieces that makes people think about issues of the day...........get a SUBSCRIPTION FOLKS!!!!!!!
Brette Pruitt
Brette Pruitt
September 5, 2022
The Observer carries on the "give 'em hell" tradition of its founder, the late Frosty Troy. I read it from cover to cover. A progressive wouldn't be able to live in a red state without it.