Friday, July 23, 2021
Tuesday, July 20, 2021
Wednesday, July 14, 2021
"Oklahoma passed a major expansion of one of its school choice programs this year, and the education special interests aren’t happy," Greg Forster writes. "They’re signaling that they’re about to try the same futile gambit they usually try after this kind of major legislative defeat: fake 'accountability' that takes away parental control."
Sunday, July 11, 2021
Friday, July 9, 2021
[Guest post by Jonathan Small]
Throughout the debate over Critical Race Theory, or CRT, education officials have insisted CRT is not part of classroom instruction. Now the National Education Association (NEA), the parent organization of Oklahoma’s largest teachers’ union, has made clear that was a lie.
At the NEA’s recent annual meeting and representative assembly, delegates voted to promote and support CRT in the classroom. One business item explicitly called for “increasing the implementation” of Critical Race Theory and similar material in “curriculum in pre-K-12 and higher education.”
Another measure required the union to “identify, compile, and share” existing “decolonizing the curriculum” resources with “educators seeking to be anti-racist in their classrooms.” Another item called on the union to share and publicize “information already available on critical race theory” and have “a team of staffers” dedicated to helping union members “fight back against anti-CRT rhetoric.” That proposal also required the union to make clear the union’s members “oppose attempts to ban critical race theory and/or The 1619 Project.”
You don’t devote that much time, effort, and resources to defending and promoting something that doesn’t exist.
Fortunately, Oklahoma lawmakers have taken a stand against Critical Race Theory in public schools. A new state law, House Bill 1775, bans Oklahoma public schools from teaching concepts associated with CRT, including that “an individual, by virtue of his or her race or sex, is inherently racist, sexist or oppressive” and should therefore face discrimination.
The focus now shifts to effective enforcement, which requires swift action by the State Board of Education. The board must approve agency regulations that will guide how the State Department of Education addresses instances in which teachers ignore the law. As chair of the board, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister controls the state board’s agenda and should make certain this issue is addressed.
Critics continue to insist Critical Race Theory is not part of classroom instruction in Oklahoma schools. But some Oklahoma teachers and administrators have publicly signed petitions vowing they will ignore HB 1775’s prohibitions.
Again, if you’re not teaching students that they are “inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive” based on their skin color or gender, why would obeying HB 1775 be objectionable?
Given the NEA’s open embrace of Critical Race Theory and the insistence of some Oklahoma teachers that they will disregard a law saying children should not be taught that individuals “should be discriminated against or receive adverse treatment solely or partly because of his or her race or sex,” it is undeniable that the threat of government-sanctioned racism in the classroom is a reality.
Our nation has made great strides in race relations since its founding. To allow CRT in the classroom would surrender those gains and dishonor the memory of countless Americans of all races who led the way on civil rights.
Wednesday, July 7, 2021
Saturday, July 3, 2021
Friday, July 2, 2021
[Guest post by Jonathan Small]
In 1964, Ronald Reagan famously warned, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”
As we celebrate our nation’s founding on July 4, Oklahomans should keep Reagan’s warning in mind. As a state, we have much to be thankful for this year, especially compared to many of our counterparts elsewhere. But there’s no guarantee that will last. We must protect our freedom, not take it for granted.
Oklahoma’s unemployment rate of 4 percent ranks 12th lowest in the country. In other states, the rate still hovers around 8 percent. A major reason for that difference is that Oklahoma officials moved quickly to reopen the state as much as possible, as quickly as possible, following the COVID-19 shutdown in spring 2020, while states that continue to have high unemployment rates typically kept activity shut down much longer.
State leadership, not blind luck, played a major role.
Some will argue that those other states did a better job handling COVID-19. Not so. A recent study by officials with the Rand Corporation and economists from the University of Southern California examined the effectiveness of pandemic lockdowns, using data from 43 countries and all 50 US states. Researchers did not find any evidence that shelter-in-place policies saved lives.
Locally, parents across most of the state were thrilled when schools reopened last fall for in-person instruction. But parents in several major districts were not so fortunate as their schools stalled reopening for most of the school year. The difference in the approaches taken by the leadership of those two contrasting school groups will be seen in potentially devastating learning loss among students in closed schools while children in the reopened group will have made up ground lost during last spring’s shutdown.
At both the state and local school levels, different outcomes are the indirect product of election results that place certain people in power. To think that the state of Oklahoma is automatically going to be more free than other states is a mistake. As the lack of in-person schooling in districts like Tulsa and Oklahoma City shows, some voters have promoted leaders who do not prioritize freedom or opportunity.
There are those who view Oklahoma’s success as failure, and they will be seeking office in the future. Whether they succeed is up to you.
This July 4, celebrate your freedom. But be sure you also secure your freedom at the next election—by voting for candidates who will protect and preserve it.