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Public schools are being “inappropriately attacked” for doing their jobs, Oklahoma AG says

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Public schools are being “inappropriately attacked” for doing their jobs, Oklahoma AG says

Feb 28, 2024 | 1:03 pm ET
By Janelle Stecklein
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Public schools are being “inappropriately attacked” for doing their jobs, Oklahoma AG says
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Public school advocates gather at the state Capitol on Wednesday. (Photo by Janelle Stecklein/Oklahoma Voice)

OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahomans have lost their “mooring in society” and public schools are being “inappropriately attacked” for doing their jobs, the state’s attorney general said Wednesday during a speech to public school advocates gathered at the state Capitol.

Gentner Drummond told several dozen Public Schools Day attendees that schools are being attacked for taking children irrespective of their ability, nationality, religion and preferences, and “teaching them dignity and teaching them life skills and teaching (them) to read and write and interact with society.”

“But for public schools, the United States that we love would not be what it is today,” Drummond said.

The Republican did not point the finger at any particular policies or officials. However, other speakers noted that educators have become scapegoats. Schools are being blamed for failing, and teachers for “indoctrinating” students, echoing language from state Superintendent Ryan Walters

Drummond said his second grade teacher taught him to read. He first fell in love with his kindergarten teacher and joked that he was devastated when she married.

Oklahoma has 700,000 children currently attending public schools. He’s a public school product himself, and several of his grandchildren also now attend public schools.

“We owe it to this generation, the next generation, and the future of Oklahoma and the United States of America to have strong public schools,” he said.

He said nationally, 9 out of 10 young people go through the public school system. It serves the equivalent of 50 million children, who are not all made equal. 

The attorney general pledged to the crowd of educators he “will always be your defender” and is “forever a public school advocate.”