From: Jenni White
Date: April 6, 2010 4:43:12 PM CDT
Subject: Senate Education Committee Hearing of HB2814 Blocked


Senator John Ford, Chair of the Senate Education Committee, Blocks Hearing of HB2814 – Teaching the Founding Documents in Public Schools

This afternoon, Restore Oklahoma Public Education (ROPE) President, Jenni White, was notified by the bill’s House author, Representative Charles Key, that Senator John Ford, chair of the Senate Education Committee had refused to allow the bill to be heard by the Senate Education Committee. Though unable to reach Senator Ford for direct comment, Jenni understood that Senator Ford’s reasoning for not allowing HB2814 to be heard directly addressed his desire not to burden our State Department of Education with further mandates.

Though no one in ROPE is in favor of growing government on any level, it is important to realize that there are mandates imposed on public education throughout the system and, as a taxpayer supported institution, necessarily must be so, as those are dictates from the people through their legislative designates.

It is also important to note that Senator Ford voted in favor of Representative Lee Denney’s bill (HB2750) to incorporate April 19, 1995, bombing information into history core curriculum. This bill is clearly a mandate. Why would it be necessary to make sure our students in public education learn about the April 19th bombing, but not be exposed to the documents that founded this country on a yearly basis?

While the Oklahoma State Department of Education PASS curricula directs the teaching of US History and Civics classes in public schools, it is also important to understand that the Constitution (including the Bill of Rights), the Declaration of Independence, and the Gettysburg Address (three of the seven documents outlined in the bill) are not taught for any length of time or in any great detail in grades other than 4th, 8th and 11th. How does an Oklahoma student develop a deep civic appreciation and understanding of the founding of our country through a shotgun approach stretched across three years?

Jenni White responds, “Nearly 89% of all children in Oklahoma are enrolled in public education. If we can not mandate the deep and fundamental teaching of our country’s founding documents in our public schools, we will not prepare an electorate with sufficient scope and vision to become educated or informed voters.”

Jenni White
Restore Oklahoma Public Education

“It is impossible for the man of pious reflection not to perceive in it [the Constitution] a finger of that Almighty hand which has been so frequently and signally extended to our relief in the critical stages of the revolution.” –James Madison, Federalist No. 37