The Piedmont-Surrey Gazette asked this multipart question to the two Senate District 22 candidates:
Question: (Part 1 of 3) The Oklahoma Supreme Court recently upheld the decision to repeal the Common Core in Oklahoma Schools. What are your thoughts on the Common Core? Do you feel like it is good or bad for Oklahoma schools and why?
(Part 2 of 3) In further regard to education, Oklahoma ranks at the very bottom of state education in the country (48th or 49th out of 50). If elected, what steps would you take to make Oklahoma schools in your district(i.e. Edmond, Piedmont, Deer Creek) better? Are there specific measures you are already considering?
(Part 3 of 3) If elected, what steps would you take to insure that funding dispersed to Oklahoma schools through bond issues, grants and donations make it to the classroom to be used for education purposes only?
Stephanie Bice:Part 1: I oppose federally created standards like Common Core. We must improve our education outcomes in Oklahoma, but the standards created must be done at the local level with the guidance of teachers, parents and local school districts. I will fight to give Oklahoma teachers and parents the flexibility they need to help our children reach their full potential.
Part 2: Continuing to throw money into our education system will not fix the root causes of poor performance. I come from a business background where innovation is encouraged and rewarded. I’d like to find ways to take that model into the classroom and reward teachers and schools for excelling.
Part 3: Bond issues are typically used for physical building improvements or additions, and in several areas of District 22 they have been used to build new schools to accommodate the growing student population within our community. They are necessary to ease the burden of classroom size, as some classes have more than 25 students per teacher, making high-quality instruction a challenge.
I’m discouraged, however, that donations are even part of the equation. We must adequately fund our schools in order to ensure the types of quality education outcomes our children deserve.
Mark Thomas:I am a product of the public school system, and two of my daughters still attend Yukon Public Schools, so these chosen topics are still very close to me as I am sure they are to us all. Quality education is one of the foundational cornerstones of a free and prosperous society, and paramount for continued freedom and prosperity.
The three questions asked in regard to education are in reference to my position on Common Core, making the schools better in Oklahoma, and insuring that monies find their way to the classroom. I don’t view these as individual issues, but rather three individual symptoms of one issue, central government control.
The Constitution of the State of Oklahoma provides for education, which is not the same thing as providing education. The provision of resources to support or facilitate a process is not the same as controlling the process. So how is the control of the process working out for us? I suggest not very well.
The short answer to the resolve of these issues is to dismantle the central control of our education system.
History has taught us that central control with concentrated power and money will always create bureaucracies that become inefficient, ineffective and corrupt. These are the very issues that are addressed here.
Common Core is in no way good for our children. Education is a personal issue, not a state mandate. To allow legislation to be written that mandates how our children are taught, or what they are taught, turns our children into property of the state. Our children are not property of the state.
There are no functions that take place within the state educational bureaucracies that can’t be carried out within the individual school districts. Once we remand the education of our children to the local school districts, school boards and parents, we will once again have a much improved chance of providing the quality of education we desire for our children. The local choices will once again open the door for free market models of competition that will result in better education for our children.
Government that is closest to the people is always better. Limited government is where it’s at. As Dr. Phil may ask “how’s the other working for you?”
I will work to remand the control of the education of our children to the parents.