Nearly two dozen school districts reach into Oklahoma City; each has its own success stories. But people tend to think of only one school district when measuring the health of public education in the city — Oklahoma City Public Schools.
We'd venture to guess that most have heard about the district's deep challenges. Still, the district is home to two of the nation's top high schools — Harding Charter Preparatory Academy and Classen School of Advanced Studies. Whether it's art or academics or athletics, Oklahoma City has thousands of students who are experiencing success and making their city proud. It's true that many opt out of the district, but a growing number are making an Oklahoma City public school their school of choice.
We likely can't overstate the challenges that remain for the school district. We know there are dedicated educators and community members working to overcome them. When the mayor said that we have “simply raised the standards of acceptable in the city of Oklahoma City,” he didn't refer directly to schools, but he shouldn't have to. A better standard is what voters imagined when they approved MAPS for Kids.
Hard as it is, the community can't afford to lower the bar. We can't afford to look back a decade from now and still be talking about an investment in buildings as a chief highlight. Our kids can't afford for that to be the continuing narrative.