Education

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OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Steve Green's faith led him to the U.S. Supreme Court, where he's argued the nation's new health care law and its requirement that his business provide certain types of birth control to employees violates his religious freedoms.

Policy makers and thinkers have long debated how best to help low-income families break the cycle of generational poverty. A lot of people think one key is high-quality early childhood education. Others say equally important is support parents with job training and education, to get them into stable, decent paying jobs.

In Tulsa, Okla., an experimental program is trying to do both. Career Advance gives vulnerable mothers access to high-quality preschool as well as to life coaching, financial incentives and intensive job training in in-demand fields like nursing and health care.

For years, President Obama has been a vocal booster of early childhood education. In his past two State of the Union addresses, he has called on Congress to help fund preschool for every child in the country.

"Research shows that one of the best investments we can make in a child's life is high-quality early education," Obama told Congress in January.

The federal government spends almost $8 billion on preschool programs across the country, mostly on low income 4-year-olds. States spend billions more. But with at least 30 states planning to expand access to pre-K and President Obama promoting "preschool for all," what constitutes a quality preschool program?

The Mustang school board voted Monday (April 14) to adopt a Bible course developed by Hobby Lobby president Steve Green. The board agreed to beta-test the first year of the Museum of the Bible Curriculum, a four-year public school elective on the narrative, history and impact of the Bible.

Mike Neal gets annoyed when he talks about politicians in his state. Just three years ago, when the Common Core State Standards for education were implemented, no one had a problem with them, says Neal, president of the Tulsa, Okla., Regional Chamber of Commerce.

"It's been a really frustrating situation to the business community in Oklahoma in that we've all been on the same page, from the governor, the House, the Senate, school board members," Neal says. "They've all been behind this."

Now, things are different.

  More than 25,000 Oklahomans made their way to the Capitol on Monday to show support for Education.

The crowd included educators, parents, students and supporters from all corners of the state.

The chanting of more than 25,000 people fills the area south of the Capitol as the crowd stretches from the large steps past the dormant oil rig known as Petunia One and into the visitor parking lot.

Most of the attendees are wearing red to support education.

Dawna Watkins comes from Justus-Tiawah in Claremore.

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