To Comfort The Afflicted
And Afflict The Comfortable

To Comfort The Afflicted And Afflict The Comfortable

Sunday, May 19, 2024

Observercast

For Now, Only ‘Choice’ Is To Adequately Fund Public Schools

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BY TOM GUILD

Guild,TomI went to my favorite Asian Restaurant for lunch. I was happy that my fortune said, “You will spend many years in comfort and material wealth.”

While I was reading the latest issue of the City Sentinel, an Oklahoma City weekly, I learned that the Oklahoma Education Association’s “most important election [in November]” was for state representative in District 87. That race featured GOP incumbent Jason Nelson against Democratic challenger Collin Walke.

I supported Collin and gave him a small cash donation early in the election cycle. Nelson won 53.1% to 46.9%. A defining issue in the campaign was “school choice” with Nelson favoring charter schools. Collin took the traditional approach of supporting public schools with the limited public resources available.

I know that Collin’s opposition to the death penalty was used in mailers against him a few days before the Nov. 4 general election.

The article states that “Democrats supportive of school choice who prevailed in local legislative races included new state Rep. George Young and new state Sen. Anastasia Pittman.” [Please see Editor’s Note below]

When we adequately support our public schools, maybe we will have the luxury of diluting our resources to other options. In the meantime, I hope that the position of progressives in Oklahoma and nationally concentrates on and supports public education with the meager public resources available.

We have teachers leaving the state in droves because of low pay, leading to an exponential growth in “emergency certifications” of substitute teachers to fill the growing teaching void that exists. As we remove resources from public schools, politicians continue to blame everything from ISIS to the bubonic plague on public school teachers.

This is no way to run a railroad, and it is not the way to run a successful public school system, either.

In conclusion, I wanted to add that our thoughts and prayers go out to Rep. Nelson, who is dealing with a serious illness of one of his young children.

Tom Guild, a retired University of Central Oklahoma professor, was the 2012 Democratic nominee for Oklahoma’s 5th Congressional District seat. He was a founder of the Brennan Society, a group that promotes progressive ideals, issues and candidates.

Editor’s Note: The “article” referenced above – entitled “The OEA loses ‘November’s most important election’” – was an opinion essay authored by City Sentinel Publisher Patrick B. McGuigan, the former Oklahoman editorial page editor who long has been associated with the anti-public education “think tank” known as the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs.

According to McGuigan’s analysis, Nelson’s victory reflects that “even in its liberal precincts, Oklahoma City is increasingly supportive of educational choice.” Not necessarily. We haven’t seen specific polling in HD 87, but it’s likely many voters wouldn’t even agree on what “school choice” means, much less where Nelson or Walke stood on the issue. The more likely reason Nelson won is the power of incumbency – a power magnified in low-turnout mid-term elections.

Arnold Hamilton
Arnold Hamilton
Arnold Hamilton became editor of The Observer in September 2006. Previously, he served nearly two decades as the Dallas Morning News’ Oklahoma Bureau chief. He also covered government and politics for the San Jose Mercury News, the Dallas Times Herald, the Tulsa Tribune and the Oklahoma Journal.
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.