A Sinking Ship
Another state legislative session has come and gone, and again this year the education establishment was able to squash legislation which would have given parents more school choices.
The New Hope Scholarship Act, which passed the state Senate but not the GOP-controlled House, would have given a tax credit to Oklahomans who contribute to organizations that provide private-school scholarships for low-income children trapped in 13 failing public schools in Oklahoma City and Tulsa.
During floor debate on the legislation, state Sen. Constance Johnson asked a rather astonishing question. "Why is it," the Oklahoma City Democrat wondered, "that we want to take some of the kids out of the public schools and essentially leave the rest on the sinking ship?"
The obvious answer was provided by another Oklahoma City Democrat, state Rep. Rebecca Hamilton, during floor debate the following month: "Do you put people on the lifeboats [even if] you don't have enough lifeboats for everybody, or do you let them all drown?"
The answer is clear. You save as many human beings as you can.
"One by one, the [life]boats were filled with women and children, lowered and rowed away into the night," Titanic survivor Lawrence Beesley recalled. After all, it was simply "common prudence" to get as many people as possible into the lifeboats and "row from the sinking ship to save at any rate some lives."
Why would we want to take people off the sinking ship? Read through the list of Titanic survivors and ask yourself which of them should have been forced to go down with the ship. Five-year-old Lillian Gertrud? Nine-year-old William Coutts? How about the Becker siblings, ages 12, four, and one?
How about Elizabeth Gladys Dean? Then nine-weeks old, today at 96 she's the only remaining Titanic survivor. You think she's grateful someone took her off the sinking ship?
Arguing against the New Hope legislation, state Rep. Scott Inman (D-Del City) told his colleagues that "if you select 10, 20, 40, 1,000 kids and leave everyone else behind, you have abdicated your responsibility."
The opposite is true. If you leave them all on the sinking ship, you have abdicated your responsibility. Benjamin Guggenheim understood this. As he came to realize the Titanic was going down, the wealthy businessman asked a survivor to convey a message to his wife: "Tell her that my last thoughts will be of her and of our girls, but that my duty now is to these unfortunate women and children on this ship."
Speaking recently in Oklahoma City, the African-American author and columnist Star Parker drew a different analogy. Comparing the school-choice movement to the Underground Railroad, she reminded her listeners that "Harriet Tubman was going one by one getting them out."
And even if we can't get them all right now, "it makes a difference for the one we got out... even if it means one child at a time."
It will make a difference for the ones we can get off the sinking ship.
"If I can help some of them," Rep. Hamilton said, "I'm going to do it."
Vice president for policy at the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs and editor of Choice Remarks (okschoolchoice.blogspot.com).
Eat With Your Eyes
I love good food as much as I love life, therefore I love Urban Tulsa because it is the greatest, the one and only, source of new and existing restaurants in Tulsa.
I love the Cuisine Scene section and it is my favorite part of your paper. This is the first time I thought about getting on your Web site and I like it just as much as the print. The only thing I wish there was more of in the cuisine section is more photographs of the restaurants that you feature in your articles. Great food is key to a successful dinner but ambiance matters just as much.
It would help me get an idea of choosing the restaurant with the perfect mood for a date with my wife. Thank you for doing an excellent job, you just helped me decide which new great restaurant (SoChey) to take my wife to on our next date. Keep up the great work!
- Vladimir Naskovski
Kudos to the New Guy
Just wanted to say that I really enjoy reading [Isaac Farley's] article every week in Urban Tulsa. He always has something interesting to say, and it's quite humorous too. I always flip to his article first when I get the paper at work.
I know that it's nice to hear how people feel about your writings so I just wanted to let him know that he does a good job.
Thank you so much for the story [Nat McKnight] did on Momentum Tulsa (see "Momentous Occasion" in the June 19-25, 2008, issue). I love that when I read his stories, I can tell that he actually spent time thinking about the subject.
I think too often, especially with the arts, press releases are just reprinted and I appreciate his thoughtfulness.
Thank you so much!
Streets For Free
We could get the Federal Government, or perhaps the United Nations to repair Tulsa's streets. Here's how... Mayor Kathy Taylor would publically announce that Tulsa is an Al Queda refuge and already has a large number of terrorists occupying all areas of town.
She should be convincing in this announcement, as she has had practice of misleading large numbers of people in her past quests for new taxes in the past.
After about 30 days Mayor Taylor would address the United Nations saying that the town had been bombed repeatedly by US planes. The UN would then send a fact finding team to Tulsa, and would examine for bomb damage.
Upon looking at the condition of the streets of Tulsa, the UN would declare that indeed there was extensive bomb damage throughout Tulsa streets.
Shortly thereafter a relief team would arrive from the UN, and with US tax dollars, Halliburton would do Billions of Dollars in repairs to the streets of Tulsa. Now if only we could figure out how to convince them to build a new baseball stadium in downtown Tulsa, so that we can confine the terrorists that currently live here.
Young at Art
We wanted to send you both a big thank you for all that you have done for Clark Theatre this season! Paul's review of You the Jury (see "Murder They Wrote" in the May 15-21, 2008, issue) was fantastic-the kids were so excited to read about themselves in Urban Tulsa.
You were very, very kind to them. For most of the kids it was their first public review, and it meant a great deal to them.
The photos and publicity you gave us for our Laughing Matter show at the PAC was also greatly appreciated! We are so glad to have such wonderful support for the artistic community here in Tulsa.
Thank you for all that you do - not only for Clark and Heller, but for the entire theatre community!
Heller and Clark Theatres
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