I have long contended that one of the most important functions of government is ensuring our children have the education necessary to succeed in life. Our public schools provide that foundation in a way no other system of education does—it is available to all, regardless of incomes or backgrounds. It is a massive undertaking, but critical to the future of our children, and our state.
I believe excellence in education is also one of the best economic development tools we have. By ensuring children have the tools for success, we help ensure they are prepared for the next step in life, whether that’s continuing to pursue additional education through our colleges, universities and careertechs, or entering the workforce directly. The better educated the workforce, the more success our state will have attracting and growing high-paying jobs in a variety of areas.
You cannot do any of that without dedicated, professional educators at every step of the way.
This past week, I authored a resolution presented in the full Senate honoring Oklahoma educators as part of Teacher Appreciation Week. We have more than 42,000 teachers in public school throughout our state, many with decades of experience, teaching more than 700,000 students from Pre-K through the 12th grade.
As a former teacher myself, I know firsthand the professionalism and passion Oklahoma teachers bring to the classroom. I also know this has been an incredibly challenging year as our teachers, students and parents have had to make major adjustments as our schools worked to continue their mission even in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Passage of this resolution is a recognition of that dedication, and a way of expressing our thanks to Oklahoma teachers on behalf of the entire state.
With that said, there is a bill moving through the Legislature that would use some of the state’s medical marijuana money to help fund charter schools. I am opposed to this plan. If we are going to use those resources for education, they should go through the state’s funding formula to benefit all schools. I’ll keep you updated.
I welcome your comments on state government and the issues before us. Please feel free to contact me by writing to Senator J.J. Dossett at the State Capitol, Room 531.1, Oklahoma City, OK, 73105; call me at (405) 521-5566.