Monday, March 12, 2007

The Oklahoma Education Coalition

The 2007 legislative session will mark the 10th anniversary for the Oklahoma Education Coalition. In honor of those ten years, I’d like to remind you about what we believe in, and work for, not just during the session, but throughout the year.

The OEC is dedicated to excellence in education for all Oklahomans. Education is our top priority. We know that public education gives students of all socioeconomic categories the skills and knowledge they need to succeed. The Coalition supports a comprehensive legislative program that meets the needs of students of all ages advancing education as the great equalizer in our society.

Oklahoma students deserve public schools that provide them with the opportunity to meet their potential and succeed in life. Our communities need parents and leaders who want to invest in their schools. To meet today’s high standards, our students need smaller class sizes, up to date text books, safe and modern classrooms and state of the art technology.

The best indicator for student success is a quality teacher in the classroom. The OEC believes Oklahoma students deserve qualified teachers. The state’s post secondary teacher training programs are recognized as some of the most outstanding in the nation and Oklahoma is in the upper tier in the number for National Board Certified Teachers. Despite success in those areas, we must continue to invest in education to retain and attract people to the education profession. Providing Oklahoma educators with professional compensation will help address these needs.

Investing in education is an investment in Oklahoma’s economic future. Our schools need adequate tools and resources to meet the challenges of the changing workplace. An educated workforce will attract new business to our state and their employees will want to move here because they know Oklahoma has great schools.

Studies confirm education ranks among the top, if not the top, quality of life factor, for relocating and expanding industry. If Oklahoma wants to aggressively attract new companies, the Oklahoma legislature must fund education at a level that allows us to compete in the global market.

The Oklahoma Education Coalition will continue to address these issues and the legislation that governs them as we ensure our students and communities have the best public schools. Adequately funding education provides Oklahoma with a competitive economic edge that will propel us into our second century.

The OEC is made up of the Cooperative Council for Oklahoma School Administration, Oklahoma Education Association, Oklahoma State School Boards Association, Organization of Rural Oklahoma Schools, United Suburban Schools Association, Oklahoma Parents and Teachers Association, Oklahoma Federation of Teachers, Higher Education Alumni Council of Oklahoma, Oklahoma Association of Career and Technology Education, Tulsa classroom Teachers Association, Oklahoma City Public Schools and the Tulsa Public Schools.

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