Also speaking in support of the importance of the commitment were First Lady Kim Henry and State Superintendent Sandy Garrett. First Lady Kim talked about the financial difficulties she and her daughters would have dealt with had something happened to her husband, stating that they would have qualified for free and reduced lunch programs on her teacher's salary.
State Superintendent Garrett added that while it has been important to get teachers to the regional average, the highly respected publication, "Quality Counts Report", ranks Oklahoma in the top ten in teacher quality. Superintendent Garrett said when we get to the regional average, it's now time to talk about the national average.
The Governor answered questions relating to some who believe that salary increases should come via merit pay/pay for test scores. He stated that he was committed to getting Oklahoma teachers to the regional average with his proposal.
Governor Henry leads a group of people who understand that investing in salaries is an investment in education and Oklahoma. Businesses will come to our state because of our continued commitment to education. Our streets will be safer because kids will be in school. The investment will pay huge dividends as kids graduate, stay in state, and become Oklahoma tax-payers. They will broaden our tax base as our state continues to be competitive with the rest of the country.