After the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation announced that Tulsa Public Schools had been removed from consideration for a $50 Million grant, Senate President Pro Tem Glenn Coffee noted another victory for the “defenders of the status quo,” and called the announcement a “wake up call for education reform in Oklahoma.”
“The Gates Foundation has determined, following years of research, that the road map to better results and outcomes in education center around such measurables as performance pay for teachers,” Coffee said. “Unfortunately, the advocates of the status quo and agents of the past have stood in the way of reform in Oklahoma, and they cost our students a cool $50 million in tax-free dollars today.
“If these obstacles of progress had rallied behind the reform movement and supported real initiatives to move our education system forward, we might not be where we stand today,” he continued. “Even the federal Department of Education, under the leadership of Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, understands the importance of these reforms, with its Race to the Top program, which provides competitive grants to encourage and reward states that are creating the conditions for education innovation and reform.
“I vow that we will not be stifled again in our efforts to enact the change our students deserve and thriving states embrace,” Coffee added. “We had a prime opportunity to lead the “race to the top” in educating our children, yet obstructionists are keeping a stranglehold on our progress.
“In the next legislative session, we will revisit the reforms being advanced across the nation by leaders of both parties — performance pay, empowering local school districts and families and providing choice and accountability.
”We can’t let another opportunity like this slip from our grasp,” Coffee concluded.