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Mazzei Minute: 04/28/23

The greatest investment you can make for yourself is gaining more knowledge. The greatest investment you can make for your kids and grandkids is a great education. And the greatest investment taxpayers try to make for Oklahoma’s younger generations is a quality education.

Unfortunately, Oklahoma taxpayers are pouring billions of dollars into education, but the quality is lacking, and our kids are not properly prepared for the workforce. As I talk with business owners across the state, I hear repeatedly about the difficulty of finding workers who are truly ready for their job openings and training.

In fact, I just released an education white paper that highlights only 21% of Oklahoma 8th graders are proficient in reading and only 16% are proficient in math, according to The NAEP Nation’s Report Card 2022. This means thousands of students are entering high school at a significant disadvantage. This is extremely sad and exasperating at the same time!

With public education funding at a historic high in Oklahoma, it’s clear that throwing more money at the problem is not necessarily the answer.

State leaders, however, can begin an era of transformation and reform to give thousands of parents and students a shot at a quality education by giving them control of their education dollars. Parents definitively know what’s best for their children, and since the current education system is in such dire straits for so many, these parents deserve to use their money to best prepare their children for life with a great education.

The naysayers falsely proclaim that school choice will reduce funding for public schools and hurt overall academic performance. My research paper, which you can read here, dispels both of these myths with actual evidence from leading school choice states.

Members of the Oklahoma House and Senate are currently debating the finer details of their different school choice proposals. I hope they work out a reasonable compromise to support the thousands of Oklahoma parents who are desperate to empower their kids with a high-quality education.


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