A national advocacy group for educational choice likes the fact that results from recent primary elections in Oklahoma fell in line with the preferences of voters there concerning the expansion of school choice.
In a recent poll conducted by the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, 57 percent of likely voters either "strongly" or "somewhat" supported the right of parents to use the tax dollars associated with their child's education to send their child to the public or private school that best serves their needs. According to Scott Jensen of the American Federation for Children, the results from last month's primaries reflected a similar sentiment: the primary candidates who support school choice – whether they were Republican or Democrat – fared much better than those who support the status quo.
"Education is a big issue in Oklahoma. It was in the last cycle, and it will be again this cycle," Jensen offers. "We're excited that candidates who support school choice – [those] who believe that kids should be able to go to whatever school best meets their educational needs – have been doing very well in the elections."
Education should do quite well in the upcoming legislative session as well, he adds, when it begins in January.
"We believe that the state not only needs more resources for its public schools, it needs more options, more choices for parents," he argues. "And we believe that the next legislature will do both: making increased investment in education in the state and giving parents more options."
Jensen says teacher demand for higher wages and more money for public education didn't allow time for legislators to deal with school choice in this year's session.
The Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs says its poll results "add to a growing body of evidence" showing that the state's residents favor educational choice.