Fugate Releases Educational Safeguards

State Rep. Andy Fugate, D-Del City, announced the release of two education bills to restore balance to the state Board of Education and to preserve religious freedom for private school students. Fugate’s bill HB 1903 expands the State Board of Education to include members with required educational experience and expertise and broader perspectives, something lacking in the current board. Said Fugate, “The model for this bill is Oklahoma’s best-in-nation Judicial Nominating Commission. This new Board makeup requires a mix of experts and lay people. It provides representation from public school, private school, home school, urban and rural areas, and teacher preparation programs. It also restricts the Governor’s appointees to having no more than three members from any one political party. Education policy should be set by a board that is representative of Oklahoma.”

HB 1905 is the “Prevent Religious Indoctrination from Corrupting Education” Act. Under the PRICE Act, any K-12 school that receives public dollars will be prohibited from spending those taxpayer funds on religious activities, instruction, or religious-based curriculum. It also prohibits those schools from selecting or rejecting students based on the student’s willingness to participate in religious activities associated with or provided by that school. “We heard the Governor state in his inaugural address that ‘we must teach kids how to think and not what to think.’ We also heard him say he intends to protect everyone’s right to practice their own religion freely. The PRICE Act does this. It also addresses the concerns of those who fear school indoctrination. Oklahoma families should not have to exchange their religious freedom for their education. That’s too high a PRICE for Oklahoma.”