February 15, 2023

Pam Deering: Divisive politics will not help improve Oklahoma’s education system

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Dr. Pam Deering is the executive director for the Cooperative Council for Oklahoma School Administration. In this op-ed for The Oklahoman, she reminds us what does–and doesn’t–help education move forward.

While much of the election cycle was dominated by divisive culture war talking points, many elected officials spent tireless hours behind the scenes to focus on the true issues at hand.

As a lifelong Oklahoma educator, I’m grateful for the countless members of the House and Senate who have been intentional about listening to teachers, parents and administrators throughout the state. This legislative session features some encouraging proposals to address issues such as reducing class sizes, investing in crucial reading programs, providing students with adequate resources and maintaining a strong teacher pipeline.

Deering shares several success stories, like this one.

In northwest Oklahoma, we’re seeing a program that introduces middle school students to numerous career options and hands-on vocational education. High Plains Technology Center has partnered with Woodward Public Schools and surrounding rural districts to create the Technical Applications Programs (TAP). The elective partners with community leaders and local businesses to provide students with fundamental STEM skills through real-life application to specific industries and careers.

And she arrives at this sensible conclusion.

Divisive politics, vilifying teachers and private school vouchers are not the answer to improving our state’s education. Instead, educators and lawmakers must prioritize authentic collaboration, mutual respect and a focus on what matters most ― our students.

Read the full op-ed here. 


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