Democrat runs for superintendent
Retired college professor Ivan Holmes announced his candidacy for Oklahoma State Superintendent of Public Instruction.
“It’s time for Oklahoma educators to take back its public schools and stop the influx of outside interest groups from discrediting and dismantling our public school system,” said Holmes.
Holmes, who was chair of the Oklahoma Democrat Party for two years, said public schools are under attack from groups such as ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council) and the State Chamber of Commerce. There is a national movement underway that is trying to destroy the credibility of public education so that charter schools can take their place, he said.
“If they have their way, all public schools would become charter schools and the public education system we have today would be gone tomorrow. Parents are being told that public schools are failing their children, that teachers are bad, that we need to fire teachers and start over with charter schools,” Holmes said.
Holmes, who was Oklahoma’s Education Commissioner of the States and a regent under former Governor David Boren, said his top campaign issue would be adequate funding for Oklahoma’s public schools.
“When Oklahoma ranks 49th in funding education and total budget appropriations sink to an all-time low from 38.2 percent to 33.8 percent, and educators are faced with teaching 40,000 more students with 200 million fewer dollars, something is wrong,” stated Holmes.
Holmes said another priority in his campaign is to put education back in the hands of teachers and school administrators who actually work with students every day.
“I am in favor of professional educators making important decisions on education issues including when a student is qualified to move on to the next level,” Holmes said.
If elected, Holmes said he would develop a grassroots public relations campaign and go to all 77 counties to “educate Oklahoma voters” on what they must do to take back the schools and get more funding. Holmes said he is against the current common core philosophy, against the way Oklahoma is using standardized testing and against charter schools replacing public schools and taking funds away from public education.