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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – A state representative will host an education forum in Oklahoma City.

State Rep. Ajay Pittman (D-OKC) will host the Saving Our Students Education Forum at 6 p.m. Friday, Jan. 28 at the Oklahoma History Center, 800 Nazih Zuhdi Drive, according to an Oklahoma House Democratic Caucus news release.

The event, which is free and open to the public, will feature both local and national education advocates.

The forum will give community members, grandparents raising grandchildren, advocates for children of incarcerated parents and students with educational IEP or ISP plans the chance to hear various views from experts involved in advocacy from both traditional public schools and charter schools.

“My role as a legislator is to help keep our community informed,” Pittman said. “In response to some constituent requests for additional information on the status of our student success rates and the trauma that students in communities of color face, this education conversation was developed.”

The forum’s conversation will include issues concerning public education and school choice.

“Parents with at-risk students, coupled with school consolidation issues in several school districts want to know how this will affect the future of Oklahoma students and assist them with career options,” the news release states.

Pittman said she wants to provide educational advocates, parents, teachers, students and concerned citizens access to experts in the education field.

“My community knows that a gap exists between Black and Brown students and their white counterparts. We know that Black students are much less likely to graduate from high school and attend college than white students with the same family income. This forum is an opportunity for our community to be better equipped – through knowledge and information – to change that reality for young Oklahomans,” Pittman said.

The following list includes the panelists who will participate in the forum, among others from the local level:

  • Dr. Jamie Polk, Oklahoma City Public Schools
  • Jason Brown, Oklahoma City Public Schools
  • Carlisha Bradley, ImpactTulsa
  • Tracy McDaniel, Kipp Reach College Preparatory Academy
  • Walter Blanks, American Federation of Children
  • Jabar Shumate, Metcares Foundations, former Oklahoma State Senator
  • Marcus Brandon, national education advocate, former North Carolina State Representative
  • Ann Duplessis, education advocate, former Louisiana state senator