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Improved Public Education and Health Needed!

August 23, 2013

Portions of this post was published in the Duncan OK Banner August 14, 2013

IMPROVED PUBLIC EDUCATION AND HEALTH NEEDED!
Two very important segments of this state’s governance are tightly tied to Governor Fallin’s newly-elected Chairmanship of the National Governors Association. This will place Oklahoma in a position of leadership for Public Education as well as Health and Welfare of our most underserved citizens. Interestingly, however, she announced primary initiatives for her chairman’s term, reading from verse and chapter of the American Legislative Exchange Council’s (ALEC) operating manual.

Thus, we can look forward to the expansion by Education Superintendent Barresi of private charter schools. She views this type of schooling as “public” because she is, and will continue through 2014, using Public Schools’ dollars to fund these schools. There is less accountability for proper administration of charter schools in both curriculum and quality of teachers. Returning those usurped tax dollars to our PUBLIC SCHOOLS will require a turnout of Public Schools supporters in November 2014.

The testing scandals of the past school year, while finally settled, did little to gain back the mis-spent Public Schools dollars wasted because our Public Schools did not have resources to provide sufficient high-speed internet for on-line testing. It is little wonder Superintendent Baressi would blame local school districts for failing. That program did not take into account the increase in student enrollment across Oklahoma while school districts struggled to function with LESS Public School funds provided. Our school districts were compelled to use curriculum funds to maintain their busses in order to get students to school. If districts cannot provide a student with a textbook, how can they hope to provide high-speed internet learning systems? That whole fiasco was predicated on conservatives demanding unfunded accountability standards for our schools and teachers. This is just one example of the mis-direction Governor Fallin required of our Public Education System. The resignation of Superintendent Barresi’s handpicked advisors leads this writer to believe all is not well with her attempts to dismantle Oklahoma’s Public School System.

As for the health of our state, a more realistic attitude needs to be forthcoming. To blame all of the health needs of Oklahoman’s on their “own poor judgment” is wrong! If you have a job, you may be working for $7.25/hour. And you may work no more than 29 hours per week. If you are a food service worker, you earn $2.13/hour plus tips (although there is a formula in the “Fair Wage Act” that is designed to equal out your pay). That is why the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is so important in “right-to-work” states. The lower hours worked and lower wages paid is why the EXPANSION OF MEDICAID IS SO IMPORTANT! “Insure Oklahoma” plan will be available through the Health Exchange
On-line Market Place.

On Thursday, August 8, 2013, the Associated Press, New York article (author unknown) in the Duncan Banner was a thinly veiled attempt to spread a false image of the Affordable Care Act (“Obama Care”). President Obama has delayed the requirement for small business owners to furnish health insurance for one year.

Meanwhile, if the owner of a small business (50 or less employees) wants to forego the available tax credits offered and not furnish employees with health insurance, those employees may use the Health Exchange On-line Market Place to choose and purchase their own individual policies designed to meet their specific needs in coverage and costs. A company with 49 or fewer part-time workers, when wanting to expand that workforce, has only to provide some of those employees with full time work.

What the opponents to the Affordable Care Act must do is STOP “politicking” about the people’s healthcare needs and START FIXING – NOT DESTROYING protection for the underserved of our society!

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