In recent years, Governor Kevin Stitt, with the support of Jonathan Small and the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs (OCPA), has been at the center of a heated debate surrounding the policies and actions that directly impact the Tulsa Public Schools. We’ll provide a comprehensive analysis of the policies advocated by Governor Stitt and supported by Jonathan Small and the OCPA, shedding light on their potential impact on the system and the controversies surrounding their donations.
Governor Stitt’s Advocacy for Oklahoma School Choice
Governor Stitt has openly criticized the state’s largest school district. According to the Oklahoman article, the Governor was not happy about the closure of schools during the pandemic and called it a “travesty.” He especially stressed the fact that Tulsa Public Schools (TPS) remained closed unnecessarily for too long. Stitt called for a special audit of TPS on the potential of public funds mismanagement. He also believes that TPS violated state law by teaching critical race theory.
Policy Impact on Tulsa Public Schools
The policies backed by Governor Stitt and the OCPA have raised concerns among Tulsa Public Schools stakeholders. The CNHI News article highlights that these policies could potentially undermine the stability and funding of the district. Diverting resources and sending students to alternative educational options will expose the public school system to challenges in meeting the needs of the remaining students. Consequently, there have been debates about the equitable distribution of resources and the potential consequences for students who rely on public schools for their education.
Governor Stitt was keen on investigating how TPS used more than $200 million in federal pandemic relief funds. Tulsa’s superintendent, Deborah Gist, criticized Stitt for using the school district as a distraction against his corruption scandals, including the mismanagement of a federal pandemic relief fund for schools. The state’s process of distributing the money is currently undergoing an investigation by the Office of the Inspector General and the U.S. Department of Education. Gist emphasized that people deflect aggressively when they have something to hide, especially during campaigns.
Impact on Tulsa Public Schools Funding
The funding of Tulsa Public Schools has become a contentious issue in light of the policies championed by Governor Stitt and the OCPA. Redirecting resources to charter and private school scholarships may disproportionately affect public schools, which serve many economically disadvantaged students. Diverting funds away from traditional public schools raises concerns that the quality of education and the ability to provide necessary resources and support to students in public schools will deteriorate.
Community Response and Engagement
The policies advocated by Governor Stitt and supported by Jonathan Small and the OCPA have sparked a passionate response from various stakeholders in the Tulsa community. Community members, teachers, and parents have engaged in debates, expressing their concerns about the potential consequences for the Tulsa Public Schools. These discussions have stressed why it’s important to involve all stakeholders in decision-making and foster open dialogue to address challenges in public education.
Governor Stitt’s criticism of TPS, supported by Jonathan Small and the OCPA, has generated significant controversy within the Tulsa Public Schools. The policies they promote have raised concerns about the stability and funding of the district, as well as the equitable distribution of resources. Moreover, questions surrounding campaign donations have led to discussions about transparency and accountability.