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Overall, I am encouraged that the governor has identified education as a priority. I am sure that when all is said and done, all of us working together can devise a plan that will ensure our students get the best education possible. It is through the cooperation of legislators, public school professionals, and the community at large that we can ensure our students are getting the best possible education. They deserve nothing less. We here in McCurtain County are ready and willing to do our part.

While I am encouraged that Oklahoma education is one of the governor’s priorities, I caution against the legislature buying into a “one size fits all” mentality. Rural schools such as Idabel Public Schools have different needs and opportunities than large urban districts.

I urge the legislature to increase teacher pay across the board so that Oklahoma can lead in teacher compensation. It is time that Oklahoma stops playing catch-up when it comes to teacher salaries. I also encourage the legislature to focus on innovation and increasing opportunities for our students. Idabel Public Schools has already implemented several programs to provide our students with college credit options, increased access to technology, and new opportunities in the aerospace industry. These programs are examples of how the legislature can invest in public education to make a real difference in the lives of Oklahoma students.

In conclusion, I am encouraged to hear the governor’s state of the state address and the various topics and proposals. I applaud the governor for making education a priority, but caution the state to not create and fund programs that negatively impact rural schools and teachers. We need to be mindful of the needs and realities of our rural school districts and focus on solutions that are equitable and provide the necessary funding and resources to ensure the success of all Oklahoma students. I am confident with the right investments and initiatives, we can increase student achievement and provide our teachers with the salary and professional support they need to be successful in the classroom. I look forward to the upcoming discussions and potential solutions that will benefit our students, teachers, and families.

"Preparing Champions for Life"

Doug Brown
Idabel Public Schools

"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit." Aristotle