Is Ryan Walters the DeSantis of America’s Heartland? – The American Spectator

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R-FL) is known for advocating for parents and improving the state’s public schools’ standards of decency and academics. Although despised by the left, DeSantis stands committed to representing conservative voters. Since Oklahoma Superintendent of Public Instruction Ryan Walters took office in January, his DeSantis-style approach to cleaning up Oklahoma’s public school system has brought about similar disdain by the left. Yet his unapologetic determination to ensure that parental rights supersede control by both national and state unions without bowing to pressure from the left and their media partners has Oklahoma conservatives cheering.

In January, the newly elected superintendent garnered vitriol from Democrats and the media who tried everything to ensure his rival, Jena Nelson, won the election. Walters, who ran his campaign promising increased parents’ rights and the removal of both explicit books and radical teachers from public education, beat Nelson with a 13-point lead despite dismal media projections throughout the race. Then the real fun began. (RELATED: Parents Take on the Public Library)

Walters immediately built a team to improve Oklahoma public schools, which ranked 49th in education by the end of his predecessor Joy Hofmeister’s eight-year tenure as Superintendent. Within his first month in office, in addition to formulating plans to improve the quality of education in Oklahoma, new rules were passed to protect and enhance parental rights when it comes to children in schools including sexual education, bathroom access and safety, and blocking pornography in libraries. Within his first three months, his office banned pornographic material in school libraries. (READ MORE: Yes, Pornography Is a Public Health Crisis)

Like DeSantis, Walters holds little affection for teachers’ unions that reject parental involvement in education, encourage explicit material in the classroom that is far from age-appropriate, and anti-America lessons and curriculum. And like DeSantis, he is not afraid to turn the tables on these unions, using their epithets against them. Walters has mastered the Democrat practice of controlling language to promote legislation and appears to enjoy observing teachers’ unions and the mainstream media’s reactions.

During a committee meeting on May 1, House lawmakers grilled him about how he’s managing public school operations across the state following resistance by the Oklahoma Education Association. After national and state teachers’ unions backed Democrat Jena Nelson and slung a great deal of mud at Walters during the race, Walters stated, “I don’t negotiate with the teacher’s union. They’re a terrorist organization. They just continue to spread misinformation across the state and lie about our administration. My goal is to provide transparency and truth.”

The Oklahoma Education Association called Walters’ statement “inflammatory and demonizing rhetoric.” It appears the OEA forgot that only a year-and-a-half before Walters’ statement the National School Board Association had used the same language against parents when NSBA CEO Chip Slaven wrote a letter to the Biden administration referencing disgruntled parents who had shown up at school board meetings across the country voicing their concerns about issues including radical teachers and explicit content found in schoolbooks and libraries. Slavin claimed that “America’s public schools and its education leaders are under an immediate threat” and went on to suggest that “[a]s these acts of malice, violence, and threats against public school officials have increased, the classification of these heinous actions could be equivalent to a form of domestic terrorism and hate crimes.” But the fun doesn’t stop there.

In addition to teachers’ unions, Walters isn’t giving an inch to the Oklahoma media whose coverage of him has been biased since he entered the race. During an April 4 state school board meeting, he exposed pornographic material being distributed in some of Oklahoma’s public schools and dared news outlets to share with their viewers the images he handed out to the board and meeting attendees. The material included excerpts from graphic novels that depicted teens of the same sex engaged in oral sex, teens describing sexual fantasies while masturbating, and instructions on how to use sex toys.

Not one media outlet shared the images with their viewers, rather ignoring that part of the meeting. Only KOCO Channel 5 news out of Oklahoma City admitted that they couldn’t “show the images due to their nature, but Walters claims they continue to sit on the shelves in Oklahoma schools.”

Walters is also initiating legislation to enact change. In a state Board of Education meeting on June 22, he announced the recommendation that every classroom in Oklahoma should display a poster of the Ten Commandments, and, working alongside Governor Stitt, he supported a Catholic-led bid to open the country’s first publicly funded religious charter school.

Like DeSantis, Walters has caught on to the left’s use of words as weapons and legislative offensive strategy. Walters is unapologetically playing ball and refusing to back down despite threats, trolling, and petitions for his removal. Despite targeted attacks by his opponents, he is simply carrying out his campaign promises and doing the job voters elected him to do. As Walters plays by the left’s rules, may Oklahomans enjoy the change for which they voted.



Read More: Is Ryan Walters the DeSantis of America’s Heartland? – The American Spectator