Oklahoma Supt. Ryan Walters, Rep. Mark McBride agree on literacy, parents’ rights, but clash on teaching traditional values in education

Ryan Walters has only been the State Superintendent of Oklahoma for a year, but he’s already made a huge impact to the state’s public education system.

The pro-parental rights conservative…

Ryan Walters has only been the State Superintendent of Oklahoma for a year, but he’s already made a huge impact to the state’s public education system.

The pro-parental rights conservative recently sat down in a “Crisis in the Classroom” town hall to discuss his education views with host Armstrong Williams. State Rep. Mark McBride, R-Moore, who has been critical of Walters, was also interviewed.

Crisis in the Classroom is “Sinclair Broadcast Group’s national K-12 education franchise,” according to its website. “Airing on 73 local news stations across the country, Crisis in the Classroom is focused on covering issues most important to American parents.”

Walters argued the nation will thrive when education focuses on traditional American values, as well as core subjects such as math and reading.

“If our next generation doesn’t understand what made America great – what are those values, how were we founded, how did we change the course of human events with the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution – then we will never be that great country again,” the state superintendent said. 

However, McBride argued that schools need to be completely neutral on values-based issues, while agreeing with Walters that progressive indoctrination must be kept out of schools. 

“I’m a Christian, and I have no problem putting the Ten Commandments on the wall, only that there’s the rule of law and the people of Oklahoma voted not to have religious things like that put on the wall,” McBride said. 

“He [Walters] is okay with indoctrinating his way but he doesn’t want it this way, and I don’t want it the other way too,” the congressman continued. “But I don’t know that I want him teaching my grandchildren Sunday school.”  

“So what is the balance?” asked the moderator.  

“The balance is nothing,” McBride concluded.  

Many conservatives would agree that topics relating to religion or personal values should be taught by the parents, not public school teachers.  

But even McBride acknowledged that parents aren’t always holding up their end of the education deal. 

“I think, honestly, a lot of the problems in education today stem from the home,” he said, “students not learning, not the desire to go to school. 

“The family unit is different than it was in 1979.” 

McBride speculated that unlike his generation, parents nowadays no longer discipline or make their children study at home, which forces teachers to have to do the work. 

The same concern seems to motivate Superintendent Walters to emphasize parent empowerment through school choice, school discipline and the traditional family values that helped prior generations succeed.  

In his interview, Walters also addressed the recent scandal of an elementary school principal who moonlighted as a drag queen

“We heard from parents in the district, we heard from parents all over the state that said, ‘I don’t want my kid going to school with a drag queen as a teacher or administrator,’” Walters recalled. “That is a breach of trust with a parent. That’s why parents are so angry right now at so many of our schools because of that breach of trust.”  

But he’s optimistic that his bold education reforms will prove worthwhile.  

“We have schools across the state that we’re already seeing improvement on their test scores, and you’re going to see at the end of the year where they end up,” Walters promised. 

“What we’ve been able to do is recruit teachers to the state, protect parents’ rights, get a focus back to the basics,” he recalled. “We’ve used the free market by using things like merit pay and teacher signing bonuses to be able to get more innovation in our schools, and you’re going to see that in the results.”