Rep. Doug Cox says 'education infrastructure' is critical to health rank
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Published: 03-Aug-2010

CapitolBeatOK Staff Report

Published: 03-Aug-2010

The recently released 2010 Kids Count Data Book statistics reflects the importance of education, especially in the heavily-weighted Health category, according to the chairman of the Appropriations and Budget Subcommittee for Public Health in the Oklahoma House of Representatives.

In a statement sent to CapitolBeatOK, Rep. Doug Cox observed that Oklahoma was rated a disappointing 44th in the nation in child well-being in the report. Health issues were a key issue in the survey, including statistics for premature births, teen pregnancy, and the number of uninsured children.

State Rep. Doug Cox pointed out that all of the measures studied in the project are actually related to the education level of the citizens.

“We know that all of the health measures are directly related to education,” said Cox, a Republican from Grove. “It has been proven time and time again that as the education level of citizens goes up, the number of teen pregnancies, premature births, and the prevalence of unsafe and risky behaviors goes down. All of those issues were considered key factors in the study. Of course, fewer high school dropouts and more college graduates will also result in fewer kids living in poverty.”

Cox pointed out that Oklahoma’s high school dropout rate is embarrassingly high. In addition he feels the number of Oklahomans completing a bachelor degree should be higher.

“If you analyze the data closely it is easy to see that states ranking higher than Oklahoma in overall rank, and particularly health issues, rank higher than us in education,” Cox said. “This study underscores for me that of all the issues we address as a legislature, education has the most far-reaching effect and provides the greatest opportunity for improving the lives of Oklahomans.

Cox pointed out that 41 other states have a higher percentage of homes where the householder has a bachelor degree.

“We have to get Oklahoma parents, regardless of their education level, to stress the importance of education to their children,” Cox said. “When that is done successfully, the other statistics measured in Kids Count will take care of themselves and our overall ranking will improve.”

Rep. Cox concluded, "People tend to think of infrastructure being such things as roads and bridges, water and sewer – hard assets. The longer I serve in the legislature, the more I truly believe that the most important infrastructure in our state is the educational system.”

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