Governor Henry deflects education praise to others

By Patrick B. McGuigan

Published: 17-Sep-2010

Tulsa Community College honored Governor Brad Henry at the school’s recent “Vision Dinner,” a fundraising event. Randy Krehbiel of the Tulsa World, detailing the evening, reported a succession of speakers praised Henry’s commitment to education as the end of his two terms in office nears.

Speakers included former Attorney General Mike Turpen, Cherokee Principal Chief Chad Smith, TCC President Tom McKeon and state Chancellor of Higher Education Glenn Johnson.

Henry asserted he did not deserve the plaudits. In a statement provided to CapitolBeatOK, Governor Henry reflected on the recognition:

“I’m honored by the award and am very proud of my administration’s accomplishments in education over the last eight years, but I certainly don’t deserve credit for every positive development in our schools and universities.  My talent has been in surrounding myself with good people, like my wife, First Lady Kim Henry, and helping them push for the changes we need to make Oklahoma an even better state.”

He continued, “We have made some great progress in public education.  We’ve raised standards and accountability, increased teacher pay and put more resources into the classroom to help students.  We fully funded the Oklahoma Promise scholarship program that is helping thousands of good, hard-working students get a college education, and we passed the first capital program in 15 years to help update and re-tool universities around the state.  We also enhanced and expanded the best early childhood education program in the country to give Oklahoma kids the head start they need to be successful, not just in school, but in life.”

The governor concluded:  “Even with all of those accomplishments, there is still much more work to do to improve public education.  It will be an annual challenge to provide schools, career techs and universities with the support they need, but it is critical that we meet that challenge in order to keep Oklahoma prosperous.  All of the experts tell us the best jobs of the future will go the states with the best education systems. If we want our children and our children’s children to stay and thrive in their home state, we must continue to place the highest priority on education.”

According to organizers of the dinner, the number of Oklahomans with college degrees has increased significantly during Gov. Henry’s nearly eight years in office.