Child advocate: Stand up for Oklahoma's future
In 1996, hundreds of thousands of advocates from across the country rallied in Washington, D.C., to bring attention to the importance of ensuring that every child, regardless of background, graduates from high school, prepared for and with access to a college education. Civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks stood before of the crowd and offered these inspiring words: “If I can sit down for justice, you can stand up for children!”
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The result of that rally was the birth of Stand for Children, an organization that now operates in 11 states, including Oklahoma. It also sparked a national movement for education reform to ensure a promise — one rooted in the belief that a quality education is the foundation upon which our childrens' dreams rest and upon which Oklahoma's future economic viability is built. It's also a promise that our organization is committed to Oklahoma classrooms, making certain that for every child, education will be the key that unlocks a lifetime of limitless possibilities.
As a parent and former school board member, I understand the unique challenges faced by Oklahoma's schools. The public education system can be a study in contradictions; on the one hand, Oklahoma has one of the strongest early childhood programs in the nation, but at the same time, the K-12 education budget has been reduced by more than 20 percent since 2008.
Over the past several years, Oklahoma lawmakers have passed significant bipartisan reform that we know will make a real difference in student achievement. This is great news not only for the future prosperity of Oklahoma children, but to the business community whose workforce needs are met when we ensure students are graduating with the skills and education necessary to compete in a global economy.
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