Oklahoma’s 2013 legislative session was officially ended last Friday – one week early – after all of the local newspapers had been put to bed. That was disappointing because today, they do not have to explain why nothing will be done on Medicaid or considering the need for safe rooms for new school buildings and remodeling of older structures or the many other social and safety problems this state has.

The state had insufficient funds to furnish long overdue pay raises for public employees, to adequately fund public education system or give essential support to local volunteer firefighters. Yet, a few Million Dollars were available to finish a couple of museums. We had a few Million more to support for-profit-private charter schools which directly reduced public school funding while praising an “increase.” It’s sad that the “increase” is still less than the loss of educational dollars over the last 5 years while the new student population has grown by over 30,000!

A very apt analogy of the present school system in Oklahoma was posted on the internet today. The anonymous education author is a hero to this writer and the words should be shared.

“C” is for Caring. Today, as parents were leaving my school for the summer, I realized something that the corporate puppet masters of public schools may have overlooked. Parents want some of our schools to be “C” schools, where corporate measures of success are moderated by virtues that can’t be measured.

I realized this as one parent of 2 adorable children was leaving. The parent looked the part of a suburban, mini-van soccer parent. But I know the back story of those kiddos and know that one of the students will not likely be the corporate version of an “ideal” student – no AP classes- no gifted or talented – no National Merit Scholar.

“C” school parents don’t worry that their kids will be excluded because of their inability to meet the corporate version of “excellence.” “C” schools provide a fertile soil of acceptance for children to grow to their ultimate ability regardless of challenge. And parents of children with unique learning challenges may rather send their child to a “C” school than a school where “high achievement” is typical.

Parents also want their children to learn from teachers who model unconditional commitment to teaching all students who (enroll) with economic and cultural challenges. By observing this, day in and day out, children witness the level of painful commitment it takes from some adults to walk alongside the most challenging of children. And witnessing this makes children more caring and more equipped to serve their community in difficult situations.

“C” is for Caring and it’s good enough for me.

This teacher should be awarded a public service medal. More public school instructors need to speak out on the problem of for-profit corporations taking over the curriculum to be taught and the testing of students. One size does not fit all and to try forcing that on young minds should not only be a crime, but the lawmakers who support it should be held accountable at the ballot box!

The Stephens County Democratic Party (SCDP) will meet May 30, 2013 at the “Harvest Gate” Restaurant, 3015 N Highway 81, Duncan OK. The no-host dinner will start at 6:00PM with the business meeting starting at 6:30PM sharp. (NOTE: This is a change in starting time for business meeting.)

There will be an overview of the recently held Oklahoma Democratic Party Convention along with a discussion of the last two years legislative sessions, the effects on Oklahoma’s financial solvency and reductions in benefits to our less fortunate neighbors.

Not registered to vote yet? Attend the meeting. Registration forms will be available. Assistance with any questions will also be available. Plan to attend and enjoy good fellowship.

Kenneth Wells
Stephens County Democrat