New school choice office designed with parents in mind

New school choice office designed with parents in mind

New school choice office designed with parents in mind

A former high school history teacher is "excited" to give parents in Oklahoma more control over their children's education.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Ryan Walters (R) tells AFN Oklahoma has the most robust school choice in the country, and he recently announced that parents can take advantage of the State Department of Education's new Office of School Choice.

Walters, Ryan (Oklahoma Superintendent of Public Instruction) Walters

"We are giving all parents access to private schools, charter schools, religious charter schools, homeschool, open enrollment, and open transfer so they can attend any public school that they choose," he relays. "I believe that parents know best for their kids and should be able to direct their kids' education."

This new division will allow parents to have a single place where they can go to learn about all their options and be able to talk to staff about which one is best for their kids.

"We want every child to have the best education possible, and I believe it starts by making the options available," Walters explains. "It also starts by making sure parents know about those options. So, we are going to be a state that does that; we're excited to be one of the first states to create an Office of School Choice."

This program went into effect immediately, and his team has already started moving staff, activating phone numbers, and more.

"We already have folks that are ready to go and answer these questions for parents so that as they're enrolling their kids for the next school year, they will have these options available to them," the superintendent reports.

Going against the consensus

In Wisconsin, a state legislator is "disgusted" that her governor has vetoed a bill that would have barred males from female sports.

The Republican-controlled legislature approved AB 377, or the Save Women's Sports Act, to keep males out of female sports at the k-12 level. Republican Representative Barb Dittrich introduced the measure after the father of a female athlete contracted her to express his concerns about the issue.

Dittrich, Barbara (R-Wisconsin) Dittrich

"He said he had heard of this happening across the nation, and what was I going to do to protect his daughter in athletics," she relays. "I thought that was a fair question, and that's when I first drafted the legislation."

With his veto, Dittrich says Governor Tony Evers (D) stands against "70% of Wisconsin voters who believe people should compete in the category of their biological sex."

"Frankly, he goes against federal Title IX, which protects women and has since the 1970s," she adds.

A veto override is not expected, as Republicans do not have the needed two-thirds majority in the state Assembly to achieve it "and Democrats, sadly, will not stand up for women and go against their own governor," Dittrich explains.

But she vows to continue fighting for and speaking on behalf of female athletes because "women deserve to be protected."

"We've had women testify who are sexual assault victims," the lawmaker notes. "They don't want to share their locker rooms or their athletic spaces with biological males, and I will always stand up for them."

Conversely, upon vetoing AB 377, Gov. Evers declared, "We have now helped our kids, our trans kids."