Secretary Ryan Walters says Rural Oklahoma is What Makes Oklahoma the Best StateThu, 18 Aug 2022 13:07:25 CDT
Farm Director, KC Sheperd, had the chance to visit with Oklahoma Secretary of Education Ryan Walters at the Lawton Rangers Rodeo this past weekend, talking about what he will bring to the table if elected as state superintendent.
“It is such an exciting time for parents and teachers with all the students coming back,” Walters said. “We love it. My two oldest girls are in Deer Creek Public Schools, so they just went back to school.”
At the end of the day, Walters said he believes in the value of parents and freedom.
“I believe that I want to give parents as much freedom on where their kids go to school as possible, and I want parents to be as involved in their kid’s education as humanly possible,” Walters said. “I am all about empowering parents to make choices for their kids. So that’s where I am on school choice. I want to continue to push the ball forward on that to make sure that everybody has got those opportunities.”
Walters talked about some of the controversy that erupted over the school voucher bills in Oklahoma.
Many parents, Walters said, would rather have their kids go to school in a rural area versus an urban area.
“The rural schools and rural administrators are so much more in tune with what is going on in their community,” Walters said. “It is always awesome to come to events that have the school pride in the smaller towns in rural areas. They represent their communities very well.”
In bigger areas with larger school districts, Walters said schools become disjointed because of the high growth rate and bureaucracy, and parents don’t feel like they are being heard.
“I don’t hear that in the rural areas as I do in some of our larger schools and some of the bigger cities, so that is where we see a lot of mobility occurring,” Walters said. “In rural areas, and we have got some great schools, we have got some great administrators that are connecting with their communities, and we have got great teachers who are embedded in those communities.”
Walters said the problems in the larger areas around Tulsa and Oklahoma City are very different from rural Oklahoma.
“I am a public-school teacher from a rural school, and that is where I want to do more to ensure we get money for the classroom. That is why the governor and I called for the audit of the state department of education,” Walters said. “We wanted to make sure that money is getting to the classroom and getting the teacher pay. We want our teachers to make more money. So the governor and I made a plan to enable teachers to make up to six figures.”
The plan put forth by Walters and the governor, Walters said, is more weighted to rural areas to give teachers more initiative to work in those areas.
“That is what we think is so important. When you find great teachers, you keep them, and we want to attract more great teachers, so we want to continue to make sure that more money is getting the teacher paid, more money is getting in the classroom, and we will be able to keep and retain our best teachers,” Walters said.
With the election coming up, Walters wants to remind Oklahomans in rural communities that he believes rural Oklahoma is what makes Oklahoma the best state in the country.
“We have got great communities that wrap themselves around their kids and have schools that reflect the needs of parents,” Walters said. “You see people that are very proud of their communities, the kids want to come back to their communities, that is exciting, and so I am proud to be Secretary of Education for the state of Oklahoma. I hope to be the next State Superintendent because what I want to see is for education outcomes to match the values of our state, and that is to be a leader in education. I know we can do it. We have the values; we are the best state in the country- our education scores should reflect that, and I think we can absolutely do that.”
Click the LISTEN BAR below to listen to KC Sheperd and Ryan Walters on Education in Oklahoma.
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