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Oklahoman: Your Turn: Senate Bill 1080 is a victory for students, families

By: Hopper Smith. | May 30, 2021 The Legislature and Gov. Kevin Stitt delivered a huge win for Oklahoma’s K-12 students this session. Senate Bill 1080, which passed the House and Senate with overwhelming majorities and was signed by the governor, will help hundreds of families afford the right educational environment for their kids. As a technical matter, the bill raises the amount of tax credits available for generous Oklahomans who donate to scholarship granting organizations or certain public school foundations.…

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Shawnee News-Star: OSF provides more than 1,000 scholarships during pandemic

By: Staff Reports | March 19, 2021 Despite financial hardship brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, over 1,000 low-income families were able to afford the best school for their children thanks to scholarship donations through the Opportunity Scholarship Fund (OSF). “Parents were overwhelmed this past year trying to identify the best educational options for their children,” said Hopper Smith, board chair of OSF. “Many were seeking a financial bridge to afford private school. OSF is proud to have been able to…

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Journal Record: Smith: Financial bridge available for families

By: Hopper Smith  |  Published: January 21, 2021 One of the most sacred values in our society is encouraging nurturing parents to raise children based on the academic and social needs of the child. Regrettably, in Oklahoma, many parents do not get to select where their kids go to school. In short, their ZIP code determines the kind of public education their children receive. A small percentage of affluent families can easily access high-quality private schools, but this is not…

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Fox23: Broken Arrow school bridging the gap between deaf students and hearing community

By: Amanda Hari |  September 25, 2020 Happy Hands Education Center is celebrating Deaf Awareness Month by continuing to bridge the gap between deaf students and the hearing community. Happy Hands is an early childhood development center for children that are deaf, hard of hearing or have a communication disorder. It serves children from birth through kindergarten and assists families in learning and adapting to deaf culture. The school has many specialists and doctors, and as a result, it costs about…

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The Oklahoman Point of View: Private schools provide stability for Oklahoma students, parents

Rob Sellers | August 12, 2020  https://oklahoman.com/article/5668879/point-of-view-private-schools-provide-stability-for-oklahoma-students-parentsThe COVID-19 pandemic has been changing our way of life since March. But recent weeks have seen additional chaos as public school districts attempt to plan for a fall semester. There have been delayed starts, plans to mix virtual learning with in-class time and contentious board meetings. Employers have no idea how, or if, they can staff their businesses, teachers can’t make lesson plans and parents don’t know what arrangements to make or, more…

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SCOTUS Ruling Benefits Oklahoma Students, Faith-Based Schools

Justices rule state programs can’t discriminate against families sending their children to religious private schools TULSA, Okla. (June 30, 2020) – A U.S. Supreme Court ruling issued Tuesday is a victory for families who wish to attend faith-based schools across the country and use state programs providing tuition assistance to afford them, Opportunity Scholarship Fund (OSF) Executive Director Rob Sellers said. The case, known as Espinoza vs. Montana Department of Revenue, involved a challenge to Montana’s constitutional “no aid” rule…

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Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise: Tackling challenges of distance learning

By: Laura Summers |  April 28, 2020 It is a Wednesday afternoon and class is in session at Paths to Independence in Bartlesville. The teacher is teaching and the students are responding, but it is not business as usual. The lesson is coming in on a Facebook live video with the teacher in one place and the students at their homes. This is the reality of education during a global pandemic in which school doors are closed. The process of distance learning…

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Letter to the Editor: Supporting expansion of tax credit caps for Equal Opportunity Education Scholarship program

By Sen. Gary Stanislawski, Tulsa A recent column by Alberto Morejon suggested Oklahoma’s Equal Opportunity Education Scholarships don't benefit people considered lower-income, so he considers the program an attack on public schools. The column references a bill that would make more tax credits available to people who donate to schools. To be clear: The bill increases the tax credit cap available for donors who put their own dollars into education. It does not remove money from education funding. In fact,…

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Point of View: Raising tax-credit cap benefits all Oklahoma students

BY ROB SELLERS Every child deserves an education that meets their specific needs and helps them reach their full potential. As Oklahoma has increased its investment in schools, including raising teacher pay, we also have wisely created ways for our citizens and companies to get involved. The Equal Opportunity Scholarship Act authorizes tax credits for people who donate to private school scholarship funds and grants for public schools. To help public schools in rural and suburban areas, people donate to…

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