Oklahoma is not serious about the education of youth. The Legislature, Chamber of Commerce and the business community all endorse Oklahoma's child labor laws, which allow 14 year olds to work up to 30 hours per week. Thirty hours is considered full-time by our labor laws. Also, 16 year olds can work any shift up to 40 hours per week plus overtime. Does this sound like they want students in class?

If Oklahomans were serious about education, saving teachers' jobs and using money efficiently, they would cut out a great number of salaried bureaucrats. To do this would require the reduction of the 500-plus school districts to 77 county districts. This has been effective in several other states. It has also not lost any schools but has helped save money and use that money efficiently.

Another way to save money and teachers' jobs would be to eliminate the entertainment programs in school. Paying coaches extra pay, extra bus schedules and paying for athletic trips across the state " and even out of state " wastes valuable resources. This entertainment does nothing toward education except to teach the students bullying, violence and elitism. There are a fewer students and even fewer non-student spectators. One bright spot for Oklahoma: Since texting during class is the new wave fad of teaching, then our scores should soar to new heights, as we rank highly in the nation in texting.

"Richard Reames
Oklahoma City

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