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Exec stresses Oklahoma City, Tulsa cooperation in children's education



The executive director of the George Kaiser Family Foundation urged leaders in Oklahoma City and Tulsa to work together to help better educate children.

Speaking before Thursday's large crowd at the Cox Convention Center for "2010 Oklahoma State of the Schools," Ken Levit laid out the similarities " and challenges " between the state's two largest metro areas have when it comes to schools, noting that 60 percent of Oklahoma's population lives within those areas.

Levit listed three ideas the Kaiser Foundation believes would help:
" Challenge school districts to experiment;
" Let Oklahoma City and Tulsa lead the way; and
" Continue to gain funds from the federal government

He said more charter schools should be experimented with, and that schools and teacher unions should work together to increase teacher pay while easing back teacher tenure.

Levit also emphasized the state's recent effort to gain grants from the federal government's "Race to the Top" fund, which is giving hundreds of millions of dollars to states for educational endeavors. Oklahoma lost out during the initial phase of the funding, but Levit said the state should continue to try for those funds.

However, he said even if the state fails to get federal grants, it should not stop leaders from implementing education reform."Scott Cooper


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