Trent England | August 8, 2014

Conflicts in Moore school district show need for more choices for families

Trent England

Superintendant Robert Romines of the Moore School District today threatened to have Fox 25 reporter Phil Cross and his crew arrested if they attempted to cover a school district event.

While other media were at the celebration for a new community-built playground facility, Fox 25 was excluded apparently because of their reporting on another conflict in the Moore schools earlier this year.

The school district decided to change the lines that govern which kids go to which schools. For some families, the District’s decision threatened to upset their entire lives. (All emphasis is mine.)

"When he found out he came home crying," said Amy Larson about her second-grade student at Oakridge Elementary, "He was like, ‘Mom, I don't want to go to another school.'"

Larson is one of many parents who moved into her subdivision for the schools. Her home is now up for sale so she can move in order to keep her son from experiencing the trauma of going to a new school.

Tiana Sanders, a parent and former teacher in Moore Public Schools, also decided where to live based on previous school boundaries.

Sanders says on her block the redistricting decision means the seven elementary students who live next to each other will end up attending three different schools. Sanders bought her home knowing it would mean her daughter would go to the A+ rated Oakridge and eventually end up at SouthMoore High School where she taught. Instead the district will force the children of the community into a school that's more than twice the distance away.

Around the country, parents and public school districts fight this fight every year. Families routinely decide where to live based on public school district lines, often sacrificing other elements of their quality of life for the sake of their children’s’ education. It doesn’t have to be this way.

Parents should have more choices about where to send their children to school. That is another way of saying schools should have to compete for students (and the public funds that follow the students). It already works this way for wealthy families who can afford private schools. Families fortunate enough to homeschool freely decide where to live without worrying about arbitrary school district boundary lines.

It is time to empower the rest of Oklahoma’s parents, to put the choice in their hands rather than subjecting them to school district whims.

Trent England David and Ann Brown Distinguished Fellow

Trent England

David and Ann Brown Distinguished Fellow

Trent England is the David and Ann Brown Distinguished Fellow at the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, where he previously served as executive vice president. He is also the founder and executive director of Save Our States, which educates Americans about the importance of the Electoral College. England is a producer of the feature-length documentary “Safeguard: An Electoral College Story.” He has appeared three times on Fox & Friends and is a frequent guest on media programs from coast to coast. He is the author of Why We Must Defend the Electoral College and a contributor to The Heritage Guide to the Constitution and One Nation Under Arrest: How Crazy Laws, Rogue Prosecutors, and Activist Judges Threaten Your Liberty. His writing has also appeared in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Washington Times, Hillsdale College's Imprimis speech digest, and other publications. Trent formerly hosted morning drive-time radio in Oklahoma City and has filled for various radio hosts including Ben Shapiro. A former legal policy analyst at The Heritage Foundation, he holds a law degree from The George Mason University School of Law and a bachelor of arts in government from Claremont McKenna College.

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