Lankford Stands Up for Parents to Choose the Best School for Their Child
CLICK HERE to watch Lankford’s remarks on YouTube.
CLICK HERE to watch Lankford’s remarks on Rumble.
WASHINGTON, DC – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) today stood up for Oklahoma’s parents and students and pushed his colleagues to support a resolution of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act (CRA) for a new rule that penalizes some public schools over others because they are considered public charter schools.
Earlier this year, the Department of Education announced new rules overhauling the 28-year-old, bipartisan Charter School Program (CSP). The changes would place federal, one-size-fits-all requirements on charter schools, making it difficult—if not impossible—for many of these high-quality public schools to receive funding. Despite substantial bipartisan backlash, the administration is moving ahead with its plans, which will strip families of education choice and give more power to big labor unions and bureaucrats in DC. Lankford joined Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) and 20 colleagues in introducing Congressional Review Act (CRA) legislation to nullify the Biden Administration’s new rules adding burdensome requirements to charter schools seeking funding.
Lankford remains a strong school-choice and parental rights advocate that puts parents at the helm of their kids’ education. When these new rules were under consideration, he urged the Department of Education to reconsider proposed rules redefining the Charter School Program. He stood firmly for parental rights and school choice when he called for the Senate to immediately pass his resolution to support parents having the freedom to choose the best educational environment for their kids and remain in control of whether or not they want their children exposed to “woke” ideologies at school, including Critical Race Theory and others. Democrats blocked the Senate from unanimously standing up for American parents. Lankford introduced the resolution to recognize the need to stand up for parents’ choices in their children’s education during National School Choice Week earlier this year.
Lankford introduced a resolution supporting parents’ rights after the Biden Administration politicized and weaponized the Justice Department by threatening to use federal law enforcement resources to intimidate and silence parents who speak out to protect their children from harmful curricula like Critical Race Theory being pushed by Biden and the far left. Lankford joined his colleagues to send a letter demanding answers from US Department of Education Secretary Miguel Cardona on reports that he played a key role in orchestrating a letter from the National School Boards Association (NSBA) that called concerned parents “domestic terrorists.” Lankford led a letter to the Department of Justice demanding that the Attorney General rescind the memorandum that weaponized federal law enforcement against concerned parents.
I want to tell a little bit of a story. There's some great schools and great teachers in Oklahoma. They do an incredible job, and they serve our families every day, doing remarkable work walking alongside so many kids that struggle in their educational environment, that struggle to be able to learn, but that excel. And I’m grateful to these teachers across our state.
Those teachers that are in our public schools, both our public traditional schools and our public charter schools, deserve to be applauded and encouraged for the work they do every day, and I’m proud to know many of them as friends and as neighbors.
But what's interesting to me right now is there's a push that's happening from the Biden Administration to divide teachers. Teachers that are in public school education, that there are some that are like the good public school teachers and there are apparently some that you're the bad teachers. It's not based on the ratings for their students or the quality, it's about which public school they choose to serve in.
You see the Biden Administration has put out a new policy to try to crush public charter schools
How are they doing it? They're saying if there are open desks in other public schools, then the public charter school can't prove a need for them to exist at all, and they want to just be able to wipe them out.
Stop. Let me just set this in context for you. In Oklahoma there's a school called Harding Charter Preparatory High School. Make you wouldn't know it but US News & world report, they know it. US News & world report, they actually rank—we have 18,000 schools in America. They rank the 18,000 schools in America, and US News & world report ranked Harding Charter Preparatory School in Oklahoma City 115th out of 18,000 schools.
In fact, in Oklahoma Harding Charter Preparatory High School was ranked number one. Number one school in the state is this public charter school. Now, it happens to be in an area where there are open desks in other schools around it. So it won't meet the need requirement that the Biden Administration is putting out to say you can't prove a need for your existence.
So the number one school in our state could be wiped out because those public school teachers are teaching at the ‘wrong’ public school.
What else can I tell you about Harding? Harding, 100 percent of the students at Harding school go to AP classes—100 percent of them. What else can I tell you about Harding? Seventy-two percent of the students at Harding Preparatory School are minorities—72 percent. And it's the number-one school in our state
What's different about a public charter school and a traditional public school? Well, the rules for the kids are exactly the same. Same testing requirements, same state requirements, same federal requirements for the kids. The rules are exactly the same for the kids. But they are different for the grownups. The grownups have a different set of rules. They have a different set of accountability in the charter schools.
And what's the result that they're getting? The number one school in our state is a charter school. The 115th school in the country is this charter school. Yet now the Biden Administration is saying you're going to have to prove a need for it.
Can I tell you, the parents and families in Oklahoma have already proven a need for it.
I got an e-mail in from one of those students who said I was not getting access to these AP classes in the public school they were in before. They had no shot of really getting into the change they wanted to be able to get into until they got into Harding Charter Preparatory school, a public charter school. And now they've got a shot.
I have to tell you I don't understand the battle with choice that's happening with parents in the country. I don't understand. Why suddenly so many government officials want to be able to say to parents you go to that school, the school we choose. You can't move. You've got to stay right there, why that is suddenly the trend in America. This growing push across our country for public charter schools, for parents to be more involved in their child's education, for parents to have new options in education, for parents to be able to have a choice and some freedom, why is that so bad, That so many kids get a shot?
Can I tell you, I have two daughters. They're not the same. They have different preferences. They have different ideas. They're both beautiful and amazing girls. But for some reason the folks in the Biden Administration and the Education Department are saying all kids are the same. And we're going to require them to do it the way we want all kids to do it rather than allowing parents like me and parents like others to be able to say this child's best education environment is in that location in that public school or another child has a better educational environment in a different charter public school
And don't lose track of this. They're both public schools. They both have requirements for the students exactly the same. But the rules for the grownups are different. And some in the teachers union do not like that. So this plan is to shut down this type of school like Harding.
I say, let's stand with those parents and with those students. With that charter school and a multitude of others across my state where parents are engaged in their child's education and administrators in those schools have to work twice as hard because they don't get the same level of funding as other public schools.
Let's support them, not try to diminish them.
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