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Head of the class

Gazette staff November 7th, 2012

Oklahoma gets so much national attention for dubious achievements — obesity, lack of health insurance, Sally Kern — it’s worth taking stock when a media outlet of some repute actually gives us an attaboy. In this case, the affirmation was courtesy PRI’s This American Life, which recently spotlighted the Sooner state for its widely lauded preschool program.

Credit: Brad Gregg

“Oklahoma is arguably the most conservative state in the country,” reported Alex Blumberg. “So how in the world did anyone get the conservative state of Oklahoma to agree to a dramatic expansion of the state’s public education system in preschool, something that many conservatives would oppose? How did anyone get away with that?”

He went on to answer that rhetorical question, explaining how then-state Rep. Joe Eddins and several advocates of preschool snuck language into legislation that would go on to spur voluntary preschool statewide.

Since that time, Blumberg noted, Oklahoma’s successful early childhood program has inspired similar efforts in states as diverse as Georgia, Vermont and West Virginia.

“However it arrived, it seems like universal pre-k is here to stay in Oklahoma,” he concluded.

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