Oklahomans share a common goal when it comes to our children: we all want our children to receive a quality education. The pandemic both jeopardized and crystallized that goal as families had to make decisions about their children’s education within new parameters.
Funding Public Education
Oklahoma students deserve more than standardized tests and haphazard “grading systems.”
Connie will invest in every Oklahoma K-12 student, regardless of zip code, via a properly funded public education system that features well-paid, quality teachers, quality technology and resources, and social supports that ensure success in and outside the classroom. She will prioritize student-centered funding to ensure that all students have the opportunity to rise to their highest potential with high quality instructors.
Connie will get to the bottom of the system’s current lack of transparency, and the failure to incorporate community input via locally elected school boards that reflect parental voices in school decisions. She will work with families, teachers, and schools to make sure their voices matter.
Making Higher Education Affordable
For Connie, it is unacceptable that college is unaffordable for most Oklahomans.
A high school diploma in 2021 is hardly the minimum requirement for a job with a living wage.
As Governor, Connie will work to make college affordable for all Oklahomans. She'll fight for a debt-free education that allows Oklahomans to compete for high-wage jobs in a global, 21st Century economy.
Connie supports student loan debt forgiveness for grads who commit to public service or education jobs in rural and troubled, low-income urban areas.
Right now, college grads face crushing student loan debt upon completing their degree. This debt accrues interest at a rate that is higher than most car loans, and prevents many twenty and thirty-something year olds from purchasing their first home, a car, or even clothes to wear for job interviews. As a result, economic growth slows.
Soaring tuition costs at our state colleges and universities now far outpace inflation. The state legislature stopped properly funding higher education under the guise of “cutting taxes.” Accordingly, higher education state appropriations have continually gone down while tuition and fees have gone up. These rising tuition costs are preventing too many of Oklahoma’s and our nation’s poor and non-white populations from ever considering post-secondary education.
Too many students who attend college in 2021 also work low-wage jobs, often more than one and often full-time. These low wages are simply not enough to help students keep up with tuition increases and the basic costs of living.
Even after college graduation, many college grads find themselves working minimum wage jobs in this sluggish, post pandemic economy.
Teacher Training, Retention, and Recruitment
Recruiting & retaining teachers within our state is vital to our educational sustainability. Oklahoma must provide competitive pay and benefits for educators in the post secondary and higher education institutions to retain and recruit the best for our children.
The Oklahoma Constitution directs the Legislature to fund public education. In 2018, Oklahoma educators took a stand to improve Oklahoma schools in response to Oklahoma’s failure to prioritize funding quality public education. Oklahoma still ranks 35th in the Nation for teacher pay, 46th in student spending, and our students are being supervised by unprecedented numbers of adults who have been emergency certified due to a shortage of qualified educators.
As Governor, Connie will insist that our Legislature uphold its duties to not only properly fund education, but also to remove the obstacles faced by those higher education students who cannot afford to complete education degree programs. The time is now to end the exodus of Oklahoma teachers.