Ryan Walters, who only four years ago, was a popular Oklahoma high-school teacher known for his spirited Advanced Placement history lessons, is now the elected Oklahoma schools superintendent and one of the most outspoken critics of the woke "indoctrination" he says is transforming America's public schools.
He's not holding back.
Since taking office last year, Walters "labeled teachers unions as terrorist organizations and said that radical leftists have turned schools into an 'Epstein island' of sexual predators, as he has waged a verbal war against what he sees as a dangerous 'woke ideology' infecting public education," the Wall Street Journal noted in a Jan. 31 profile of Walters.
And you know you have raised the ire of leftist teachers unions and legacy media substantially when Moms for Liberty praises your work.
The conservative group that has sought to remake school boards around the country and landed on the Southern Poverty Law Center's infamous "hate map" for it, sees Walters as a “bold advocate for parents in Oklahoma who seek to ensure that children are being educated, not indoctrinated.”
At the most recent State Board of Education meeting, Polly Tyler, a board member of the Cherokee County Republican Party, said to Walters: “We are so thankful for you. We believe you are God’s gift to our students in the state of Oklahoma.”
Walters does not moderate his criticism of the public school system.
“We have rules, regulations, laws that say you’re not going to go and indoctrinate kids and you still have left-wing activists who do it,” the 38-year-old Republican said.
Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt appointed Walters state secretary of education in 2020 and he was elected Oklahoma Superintendent of Public Instruction last year.
"He has sometimes clashed with Oklahoma lawmakers, including some Republicans who wanted to see him substantiate how he planned to fix problems in a state where students score worse than average on national exams," the Journal noted.
Stitt has continued to support Walters. Last year, after Walters proposed a rule banning pornographic material from all public schools, the governor called it common sense and said he supported Walters’s “tenacity to protect our students and stand with parents.”
“Oklahoma will no longer be a breeding ground for liberal indoctrination. I am pleased to work with the House, Senate and Governor’s office to remove and prevent harmful ideologies from entering our classrooms,” Walters said in April of last year after he highlighted more than 100 books that he said don’t belong in schools, most of which center on LGBTQ issues.
Walters has also thrown his support behind what could be the first religious charter school in the country.
In an op-ed he wrote in June of last year, Walters stated:
"Instead of supporting liberty and upholding traditional family values, the Left has focused its efforts on your classroom to undermine the very fabric of our country. At stake is the Oklahoma Statewide Virtual Charter School Board’s approval of Catholic charter schools recently. The new rule would allow parents to use their own taxpayer dollars to send their children to a school of their choice — a decision that takes power away from the existing state and puts it into the hands of parents."
The left argues that the government knows better than parents, and that tax dollars received for education belong to the state and its systems, not to the students that the state serves. For the radical left to lie about our Founding Fathers, what they meant and how we should live our lives, is downright disrespectful and uncalled for.The Wall Street Journal noted that Walters "demurs when asked if he has ambitions for higher office, saying that he is focused for the moment on his role as Oklahoma’s schools superintendent."
The people who hate our Founding Fathers are now ones who are trying to say any reference to faith must be stripped from the classroom. I am proud to support all schools in our state that match our values. I will continue to empower parents; it’s the right thing to do. Religious charter schools are more than welcome in Oklahoma.
“I’m going to continue to fight for that right now,” Walters said. “We are laying out a road map here.”
Free Press International
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