Public School Supporters Rallying At State Capitol For Public Schools Week


Monday, February 21st 2022, 7:21 am



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Monday kicks off public schools week and education advocates are planning to rally at the state capitol to support Oklahoma's public schools.

Organizers hope to have hundreds of parents from across the state show up for the rally Monday morning at 10 a.m.

More specifically known as public school advocacy day, representatives from multiple education organizations alongside education and government leaders, will be speaking Monday about the importance of public education and the impact several bills introduced this legislative session could have.

Public school supporters, especially from smaller, rural districts said they're very concerned about the Oklahoma Empowerment Act, which would give some state funding to private schools.

"This doesn't benefit rural people at all. In fact, it hurts rural people. It hurts rural taxpayers, rural communities, rural schools' teacher and students," Erika Wright, head of Oklahoma Rural Schools Coalitions.

After the news conference, supporters are encouraged to meet with lawmakers. They're recommending scheduling an appointment to meet with legislators, but people can also drop by.

Hundreds of teachers, parents and supporters are expected at the state capitol Monday morning for the public school rally.

State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister will be there, and says that she expects a lot of the conversation today to be about teachers, funding support and that controversial voucher bill that barely made it out of committee last week.

Republican leadership had to step in to get the necessary votes for the controversial proposal to advance.

It opens some state money for public schools and to private schools as well.

Supporters say it gives parents more education options for their kids.

Critics argue it will have a negative impact on every public school student in Oklahoma.

Another major topic expected to be covered is how to get more teachers back in the classrooms and how to keep them there long-term.

Hofmeister, who is making a run for governor against Gov. Kevin Stitt, says teachers need more support.

"We really want to keep the focus on building the number of those going into college for education, so they can be able to be well-equipped and hit the ground running, and to take advantage of the mentoring and student teaching."

The press conference starts at 10 a.m. Monday morning.

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