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Students, legislators discuss key education issues

Posted at 10:04 PM, Jan 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-22 23:33:02-05

BROKEN ARROW, Okla. — Students and lawmakers learning from one another. Broken Arrow Public Schools held a forum Wednesday for students from school districts across the area to discuss key issues with their local representatives.

The students did their research and came up with questions for lawmakers, many of which were about education.

The high school students to know, how are they going to make their schools safer? What does the future of education look like with technology and virtual learning? What are they doing to keep teachers in Oklahoma?

Questions that left a mark on legislators.

“A lot of times, people will think, 'Well, high schoolers aren’t paying attention,'" said Sen. Nathan Dahm, (R) District 33. "But this obviously shows that they are interested in what is happening in their local communities. And that was very exciting for me to hear.”

“They get it," said Rep. Melissa Provenzano, (D) District 79. "They definitely have their finger on the pulse of school safety, school funding, programs that we should be offering in schools, but then the environment and the economy and how we’re bringing in money and taxation. It was impressive.”

Students also asked questions about climate change and Oklahoma’s energy use. Each legislator taking their time to answer thoroughly, which impressed some of the students.

“I also saw that our current legislators are trying to actually, genuinely make a change in our education systems along with different types of issues that are specifically going along with Oklahoma," said Abigail Gray, a sophomore at Broken Arrow High School.

The forum gave students a chance to voice their opinions on topics that directly affect them and gave them tools they will take into the future.

“I think I’m just going to really gonna leave with excitement and eagerness to see what happens in the future," said Alyssa Schneeberg, a senior at Broken Arrow High School. "And as I grow, how the state is going to be growing with me, but also how I can start now thinking of ways and things that I want to see happen when I’m an adult.”

As for the lawmakers, they're leaving with a lasting impression and feeling hopeful about the next generation of leaders.

“I’m going to take away encouragement," Dahm said. "Because it was encouraging to see young people that are interested in what is taking place, that they have that desire to learn, to be informed and to have those conversations."

Legislators even encouraged the students to work as pages at the capitol. They also hope to have more events like this one in the future.

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