Oklahoma’s education system ‘won’t go woke,’ says state superintendent-elect

Oklahoma’s new superintendent of public schools says his win signals a rejection of the Biden agenda, more control for parents and more transparency. 

“We believe that we’ve got to reject Joe Biden’s radical agenda right here in the state of Oklahoma. We’re going to do more than any other state in the country to empower parents. … Oklahoma won’t go woke,” state Superintendent-elect Ryan Walters declared Tuesday evening. “What you’re going to see is that every child is empowered with parent options. You’re going to see more transparency and accountability. And you’re never again going to see a superintendent that doesn’t bring transparency to you, the taxpayers.” 

Walters was appointed secretary of education in 2020 by Gov. Kevin Stitt, who also won his re-election for governor Tuesday. Walters handily defeated his superintendent challenger, Democrat Jena Nelson, with 57% of the vote, The Tulsa World reports. 

Walters and Stitt ran hand-in-hand, standing firm against radical political and educational stances such as preferred pronouns, cross-gender restroom usage, Critical Race Theory indoctrination and sexually explicit materials in public schools. 

“What we’ve seen is far-leftism enter the classroom through (current State Superintendent) Joy Hofmeister and through the Democratic Party,” Walters said during his campaign. “And what we’ve got to do is, we’ve got to go back to championing every kid as an individual. We’ve got to reject (wokeism) in the classroom, set high expectations for our kids, get ideology out of the classroom. 

“I believe in Oklahoma values — I believe in parents. My opponent instead believed in school shutdowns — she wanted schools to stay shut down longer. She doesn’t believe parents should be as involved. She’s advocated against the bill that would ban Critical Race Theory, so she supported Critical Race Theory and radical ideology in the classroom.” 

Nelson was named the state’s Teacher of the year in 2020 and campaigned largely against school vouchers, which she said would shut down public schools around the state. 

“If we institute these voucher programs, we are going to close down communities,” she reportedly said. 

Nelson also decried what she described as Walters’ “divisive rhetoric” during the campaign, saying she does not like to “talk ugly about anybody,” and believes education is “under attack,” with Walters contributing to that trend. 

“I do take offense that there’s this overall blanket of saying that teachers are indoctrinating and that we’re somehow teaching these concepts,” Nelson said in the candidates’ Oct. 25 debate. 

After Walters’ big win he appealed to all Oklahomans, even those who didn’t vote for him. 

“The teachers’ union and Democrats have lied all over the state, so what I’m going to do is continue to speak the message that is common sense,” he told The Tulsa World after his acceptance speech. “We want ideology out of the classroom. I want the best teachers to make a lot more money, and I want to get more money out of bureaucracy and into the classroom. That is a commonsense approach to education, and I think everyone would agree.”  

“I’ve said from the beginning it’s about parents, teachers and kids. We’ve got to get parents more involved by empowering them, and we’ve got to get more money into the classroom. We have a teacher shortage; we have a high amount of students in classrooms. We need to hire more teachers and (fewer) administrators — that’s what we have to do.”