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Oklahoma Governor celebrates new school choice law

Oklahoma’s new school choice law allows students to pursue their “God-given talents” at any school in the state, Gov. Kevin Stitt said.

“Now every single parent, regardless of zip code, can take their kid to the school of their choice, and they’re going to get a tax credit, a refundable tax credit to go to a Christian school, a private school, a charter school, wherever they want,” Stitt said.

“One of the most important things is to make sure our kids have every opportunity possible and they have the best educational system to really thrive and to find their God-given talents and abilities and have a great career,” the Republican continued.

On Thursday, Stitt signed into law a legislative package that included tax credits for families with children in private schools as well as additional funding for rural schools and raises for teachers. The tax credits range from $5,000 to $7,500 per student depending on household income.

“God gave kids to parents, not to the government,” Stitt told added. “So let’s put them in charge of where they go.”

“It’s all of our tax dollars,” he continued. “So let’s make sure we’re focused on the kids and not some system.”

Opponents of the bill have said it would take money away from rural schools that could be the only option for students in those areas. Advocates have argued that the new law makes schools more competitive and enables parents to withdraw their children from low-performing schools.

The education package is the largest in state history, costing nearly a billion dollars. Stitt said the legislation has been a long time coming and that providing school choice was an issue he’d been pursuing since his inauguration.

“If they’re a failing school, they should have to reorganize,” Stitt told argued. “That’s the free market system.”

“We’re trying to inject some of these principals into our school system to really focus on the outcomes for the kids,” he added.

The Oklahoma school choice tax rebates will go into effect in January 2024.

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