OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The Oklahoma Parent Legislative Action Committee is telling state lawmakers to “stop harming public schools.” The grassroots advocates said new legislation is going to cause schools to compete for dollars and pit families against each other.
“It feels like our public schools are under attack yet again,” said concerned parent and PLAC member Lucia Frohling.
“The 2021 legislative session has delivered an onslaught of legislation aimed to harm our public schools and our teachers,” said Erika Wright, a Noble Public Schools parent.
The advocates said they’re also concerned about the new per-pupil funding law.
“It makes the funding more inequitable and takes away the three-year and just looks at the past year,” said Frohling. “Some of those rural and urban schools [enrollment numbers] can fluctuate.”
The PLAC said Gov. Kevin Stitt wants families to imagine themselves as shopping for schools. They argue that idea will turn into the schools shopping for students.
“Schools compete for the tax payer dollars that the legislature allocated for public education and parents get to pick the school they want,” said JJ Burnam, a Tulsa Public Schools parent. “It will be the schools shopping for the most desirable students, choosing the typical learners, the ones with means and transportation.”
Not all parents are upset and are in favor of School Choice.
“We need to stop thinking that funding belongs to the schools,” said Ronda Peterson a School Choice advocate. “The funding belongs to the tax payers.”
Peterson told KFOR, her grandson has high functioning autism and wasn’t in the correct environment while in public schools. She said School Choice helped her family find the best learning space for her student.
“We have to have that choice for parents so that these students are not left behind.” Peterson said.
The PLAC is now challenging legislators to do three things.
- Vote to support public schools.
- Value the best interest of the communities that elected them.
- Decide which role they want to play.
“Your neighbor and friends elected you to serve their best interest,” said Wright. “Do it.”