BY SHARON MARTIN
What’s the best piece of news you’ve heard lately? Look in the papers. Watch television. Really, what good things are happening around us?
Every day, hard working people get up, take care of their children, and go to their jobs. They donate money to tornado victims, give blood, and stop off at the Salvation Army or Goodwill to drop off the clothes their children have outgrown. They grow turnips and tomatoes and share the bounty with friends and neighbors.
We have things to celebrate in Oklahoma. And we have problems. But beware those who think they can fix what ails us by destroying what’s good about our state.
For example, our CareerTech system is a model for other states. It offers college-bound students a head start and career-track students the extra education they need to be employable. We prepare students for a future in cyber security, and we supply nursing staff in facilities across the state. We train graphic artists and electricians, machinists and plumbers. Yet, there are those who would like to change the system, privatize it, and cut off access to those who need it the most.
Celebrate CareerTech in Oklahoma. Don’t give it away to campaign donors.
We lead the nation in early childhood education. Research shows that this early intervention has profound effects on student outcome. Children of poverty who attend Head Start are more likely to graduate from high school. High school graduates are more likely to have meaningful employment. People who can earn a living are less likely to raise their children in poverty. Head Start can help end a cycle of poverty that spans generations and bars families from access to opportunity and economic security.
Celebrate early childhood education in Oklahoma. Don’t cut its funding.
Oklahoma has many good things – scenic wild places, architectural treasures, world-class art museums, dedicated teachers, and hardworking farmers. We have oilfield workers and mechanics to keep us moving. We have entrepreneurs to employ us, artists to enlighten us. And we have problems that need to be fixed. Let’s fix the problems, but when we do, let’s not tear down those things we have built so well.
– Sharon Martin lives in Oilton, OK and is a regular contributor to The Oklahoma Observer