The Edmond Sun

Local News

July 25, 2012

Independent state senate candidate wants to eliminate public high school

EDMOND — Republicans often talk about a free market economy, but end up imposing more tax and spend government intervention, said Richard Prawdzienski, an Independent candidate running for state Senate District 41.

Prawdzienski, now retired, served in the U.S. Marine Corps and worked in logistics at Tinker Air Force Base. He also has been active in the Libertarian Party of Oklahoma and is former chairman of the group.

He will face Republican incumbent state Sen. Clark Jolley Nov. 6 in the general election. Both men live in Edmond.

Education is critical for a growing society, Prawdzienski said.

Prawdzienski, who was educated in Catholic schools, advocates that public education only be available for children through the sixth or eighth grade with a focus on reading, writing and arithmetic. Public education poses a risk of killing individuality as the government defines good citizenship, he said.

Prawdzienski, 64, grew up in New York within a Polish culture. He earned a master’s of business administration degree at Oklahoma City University.

“ ... If I went to a public school they’d say, ‘You Polish guys aren’t bright. You’ve got to do it this way.’ We had great culture,” he said.

Prawdzienski said government funding is causing higher costs. A family can expect to pay about $100,000 in taxes to send a children through grade school, high school and college in some cases, he said.

Private religious schools are an alternative for some people, Prawdzienski said. Other folks could consider educating their children by use of Internet-based programs such as the Kahn Academy, he added.

The Kahn Academy provides computer testing. Groups of students benefit from learning to solve problems together. Teachers can watch on monitors to see if a student is struggling to learn in a specific area, Prawdzienski said.

“Rather than stopping the whole class, you go to the student who is struggling,” he said.

Groups of home schooled children can network with one another for sports, games and theater, he said.

“Everybody argues, ‘No, no, no. You can’t do it at home; you have to have that socialization,” Prawdzienski said. “How much socialization do you need that you can’t have with your next door neighbor?”

People also may argue that they can’t borrow the money to send their children to a private school. But Prawdzienski said they can be assisted by private religious, business and civic organizations to offset the expense. Companies that fund their employees’ education develop loyalty from their employees, he said.

“Get the government out of college and the cost can go down, down and down due to real competition,” Prawdzienski said. One possibility, he said, would be to sell state universities to private companies.

“You could go Internet. Today you’ve got video,” he said. “You could put up a 10-foot screen up there, have a professor sitting in a classroom talking to 10,000 people in one day throughout the United States.”

Administrators could test people electronically at less pay than professors, while bringing instant results, Prawdzienski said.

Jolley said it is important to provide an appropriate balance of public and private options. Education is the key for individuals to be able to better themselves, he said, and leave a better world for themselves and their children.

“I think we don’t need to just focus on early learning, exclusively, and then let them take the risks in the future,” Jolley said. “We need to make sure we have a great public system all the way from pre-K through graduate school.”

Jolley favors private options being made available for parents to choose where their children will attend school.

jcoburn@edmondsun.com | 341-2121, ext. 114

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Do you agree with a state budget proposal that takes some funds away from road and bridge projects to ramp up education funding by $29.85 million per year until schools are receiving $600 million more a year than they are now? In years in which 1 percent revenue growth does not occur in the general fund, the transfer would not take place.

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