Brandon Dutcher | January 19, 2015

Equal opportunity and MLK’s legacy

Brandon Dutcher

Virginia Walden Ford was one of the first black students to attend Central High School in Little Rock after desegregation. Years later, she says, “as a mother living in Washington, D.C., I became involved in the fight for school choice in our nation’s capital. A private scholarship became a lifeline for my son, and I wanted other families to have the same opportunity.

“Rereading ‘I Have a Dream,’ the speech that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., delivered on August 28, 1963, I thought of my days at Central High and how that option made such a big difference in my life. It was an incredible school that offered the tools I needed to move forward successfully. In the years I have fought for educational freedom for American children, much of Dr. King’s speech has resonated in my mind.”

She’s not alone. None other than Dr. King’s own son, civil-rights activist Martin Luther King III, once told OCPA that “it is no secret that public education in this country is in trouble. For poor children and children of color the problem of equal access to quality education is magnified. ... America's educational systems are wholly lacking in preparing our youth for the 21st century, and accordingly, must be born anew." He supports tax credits for donations to K-12 scholarship organizations because he believes we must “increase equal access to private education.” (Happily, some philanthropic organizations in Oklahoma are doing just that.)

“Education is the key to freedom and opportunity,” Mr. King said. “We basically have one supplier, the public education system, and it has become a huge bureaucracy. This bureaucracy has to be challenged. Fairness demands that every child, not just the rich, has access to an education that will help them achieve their dreams.”

Brandon Dutcher Senior Vice President

Brandon Dutcher

Senior Vice President

Brandon Dutcher is OCPA’s senior vice president. Originally an OCPA board member, he joined the staff in 1995. Dutcher received his bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Oklahoma. He received a master’s degree in journalism and a master’s degree in public policy from Regent University. Dutcher is listed in the Heritage Foundation Guide to Public Policy Experts, and is editor of the book Oklahoma Policy Blueprint, which was praised by Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman as “thorough, well-informed, and highly sophisticated.” His award-winning articles have appeared in Investor’s Business Daily, WORLD magazine,,, The Oklahoman, the Tulsa World, and 200 newspapers throughout Oklahoma and the U.S. He and his wife, Susie, have six children and live in Edmond.

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