Welcome Back Students and Educators

By Rep. Mike Sanders

The school year is starting again and I want to take this opportunity to praise the educators for their diligent work on behalf of Oklahoma children. Your hard work ensures young Oklahomans’ ability to thrive in their adult lives.

I use the word educators because there are many players involved in a young person’s education. Their teachers have a direct impact on their progress during their school years. Administrators and support staff help to ensurestudents have an optimal environment for learning. And, of course, study after study has shown the important impact parental involvement has on a child’s scholastic success.

Teacher quality is one of the most significant factors related to student achievement. Unfortunately, in the U.S., 14 percent of new teachers resign by the end of their first year and 50 percent leave by their fifth year. It is a tough job, a fact that is often reinforced to me by my family members who have worked or currently work as teachers. For those of you who have made a long career of educating students, I salute your endurance and strength of character.

Reading is an important key to your child’s ability to learn throughout their school years. Parents can help encourage strong reading habits. Looking online, one of the most frequent suggestions are allowing children to have a period in which they are allowed to read in their room after bedtime. Other suggestions include having a large variety of books at home for your child and reading alongside your child.

Science and math are increasingly the foundational skills for careers in Oklahoma’s most lucrative industries. You can help raise your child’s interest by conducting simple science experiments at home and showing them practical applications for math, such as family budgeting.

In Oklahoma, as in much of the country, public education is a hotly debated area of public policy. Every year, my colleagues introduce proposals to tweak education policy. I personally believe that local school boards should make many of these decisions with the input of parents in the district. For that reason, I restrict my own legislation to other areas of law. Even so, it would be irresponsible for me not to weigh in on those discussions brought forth by other legislators.

I try to navigate tough education policy questions by consulting the parents and educators of my district. For that reason, I want to encourage you to contact me with your concerns and your thoughts. I also want to wish every teacher and administrator good luck on the new school year. I pray that they will have a great and productive year. As always, I can be contacted at (405) 557-7407.

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