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The Value of Education

     I have spent about 20 years of my life as an educator…teaching High school and at the university level and as a dean at OCU. In my two campaigns for governor I focused on jobs and schools because a good education means a better job and stronger economy...

     Oklahoma’s economy is stronger than much of the nations because well educated Petroleum engineers and business leaders have built great companies that employ thousands of other well- educated people in high paying jobs.

   So when I saw this front page story in the Oklahoman that shows the grades our school systems received for how they do their job, it was very disappointing. Bethany, Deer Creek, Edmond and Oakdale received A’s but dozens of schools across the metro and around the state received failing grades.

    The solution isn’t just money but spending more money wisely could help. Parents also deserve some of the blame. If you haven’t helped your kids learn to read, or send them to school without a good breakfast, without a good night’s sleep, don’t blame the teachers.

    Teachers could do better as well. They should be paid based on their fields of expertise not years of experience. America’s future will be based on math, science, technology. Teachers in those disciplines are hard to find because they can make a lot more money in the private sector.

     Oklahoma’s most important natural resource isn’t gas, oil, or wheat… it’s our kids. It’s time to get serious about what we expect from our schools. Instead of one size fits all solutions, the legislature should reward schools and school systems for creating programs that improve the quality of education our kids receive.

     Doing what we’ve been doing for 100 years has failed. It time to start requiring our kids have more math, science, technology, foreign languages, and the arts. That will require longer school days and a longer school year. A longer, stronger core based education will benefit our kids and our state.

For Common Sense, I’m Vince Orza.

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