Oklahoma parents, teachers react to Ryan Walters’ State Superintendent win

TULSA, Okla. — Ryan Walters is celebrating his win for Oklahoma State Superintendent for Public Instruction Wednesday. His campaign stirred controversy throughout the race among families, teaches and state lawmakers.

Walters said he wants to keep politics out of the classroom in Oklahoma. One parent, Ron Causby, told FOX23 that’s why he supports Walters. Causby also said he likes that Walters ran on making parents a decision-maker in Oklahoma schools.

“Parents wanting to be active in their kids’ schools and these administrators … some of them want you involved, but not that involved,” he said. “I think Ryan Walters is going to fix this.”

Mark Whited said Walters’ win is not the victory he wanted. Whited told FOX23 he wished more people came out to vote, and he hopes Republicans like Walters can come together for the betterment of everyone.

“The Republican Party … I hope they find their right footing,” Whited said. “Otherwise we maybe looking at a three party partisanship. Because I don’t see Republicans standing behind the madness.”

Walters said he’s pushing for more transparency as well as parent involvement.

“We’ve got to get parents more involved and empowered,” Walters said. “We’ve got classrooms where teachers can make more money and ultimately meet hte needs of every kid. And it looks different for every kid.”

He added that teachers need a pay increase as well.

“We have to pay out best and brightest significantly more,” he said. “We’ve got to find ways to keep teachers in the classroom and not leave to take jobs in the private sectors.”

The Tulsa Classroom Teachers’ Association President Shawna Mott-Wright said this victory is heartbreaking for teachers and students. She said she worries she may lose more teachers in the wake of Walters’ win.

“The story will really be told in December, at Christmas break … and again in the spring before summer break,” Mott-Wright told FOX23. “Because we have a lot of teachers on semester contracts. So they can get out of those just by not coming back.”

Mott-Wright said she hopes when Walters officially takes office, he will serve the needs of Oklahoma children.

“One thing about teachers, who have always been my heroes, who get up every single day for someone else’s kids. And they give it everything they have. They are doing it today. They’ll do it tomorrow and the next day. We’ll continue to do it because we love our kids,” Wright said.

State Superintendent-elect Walters will be sworn into office January.