NORMAN — Editor, The Transcript:
Oklahomans had an opportunity to hear OU president David Boren give an unequaled introduction about public education before the Academic Awards Banquet on Saturday, May 25. His remarks went to the root of what our state and nation require if we are to meet the challenges of the future.
He spoke with conviction and a message based on facts that tell us what this state is becoming with annual decreases in financial support for public education (while the number of students increase). Less per capita investment in public education while reducing taxes for the most financially able is a policy goal that our present and recent legislators and governor pursue with abandon.
Boren pointed out that not only are public elementary and secondary schools being savaged with less money plus firing of teachers (while class sizes keep increasing) but our higher educational institutions are no better off with private (public) institutions paid for by financially able students (parents) and those who can muster “life killing” debts to complete a degree. My family was able to earn seven bachelor and master degrees at OU and when graduation came, in every case, there was no killing debt to pay because costs could be met with careful and wise financing. The state was still a major partner in controlling tuition.
Our political leaders seem not to care about the consequences of diminishing public education funds or they do not care as the education standards of the least financial able children decrease and how this will impact the state’s ability to meet the changing standards of industry and the whole range of functions for which the state government is suppose to exist. Most of what appears as programs at the university is the result of the leadership and determination of Boren to make OU a leader in higher education through private investment in supporting programs and faculty.