Staff | May 22, 2019
PLAC’s partisanship becoming obvious
Earlier this year, House Democrats proposed a budget that spent every penny of this year’s historic surplus and called for millions in new taxes on income and investment. The Democratic plan set aside nothing in savings to protect schools during future downturns, as Gov. Kevin Stitt and Republican leaders did in their budget.
How did the Oklahoma Parent Legislative Action Committee (PLAC) respond? By endorsing the Democratic plan. On the group’s Twitter account, PLAC officials declared, “Let’s hope these plans can be met with bipartisan support!”
PLAC also opposed Gov. Kevin Stitt’s efforts to put qualified women and minorities on the State Board of Education. On Facebook, PLAC urged opposition to Jennifer Monies and Estela Hernandez’s Senate confirmation, saying, “Neither has any connection to supporting public education.”
Both Monies and Hernandez have served as public school board members. Both have children who attended public schools. Hernandez served as a judge for Oklahoma’s Teacher of the Year contest. Monies headed Oklahoma Achieves, which works “to build business coalitions to advocate for improved education standards and better results” and whose purpose is to “ensure every Oklahoma student graduates with the knowledge, skills and behavior to succeed in a competitive global economy.” Oklahoma Achieves’ focus has included working to provide teachers greater advancement opportunities and pay. State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister said Hernandez and Monies are “tireless and exceptional advocates for strong public education.”
To sum it up: PLAC supports Democrats and works to undermine Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt. PLAC supports tax increases and opposes savings, even when lawmakers are able to both save and increase school funding and teacher pay. PLAC thinks having children in public schools, serving on the board of public schools, and working to increase teacher opportunity shows no support for public schools—at least when it gives them an excuse to oppose a Republican governor’s appointees.
If that’s being “nonpartisan,” what does PLAC think partisanship looks like?