Q&A with Amy Ford

Amy Ford is heavily involved in community and civic activities, including economic development, education, sustainable water policy, and healthcare. She serves on the Southeastern Oklahoma State University Foundation Board of Directors, the Board of Directors for The Oklahoma Academy for State Goals, the Board of Directors for Citizens for the Protection of the Arbuckle Simpson Aquifer, and Oklahomans for Responsible Water Policy Board of Directors. Ford graduated from Broken Arrow High School, attended Oklahoma State University. She operated NEON, Inc., an emergency room staffing company employing more than 100 physicians with operations in Oklahoma, Texas, and Arkansas. She sold the company in 2009 to devote herself fulltime to more philanthropic endeavors. 

Education Focus: What do you think the biggest difference is today in public education compared to when you were in high school?
Amy Ford:
“I’d have to say community involvement, or lack thereof. We all hear how vital parental involvement is but fail to recognize that the education of our children is a societal responsibility. Everyone wants our children to be well educated, but we have developed a disconnect between our responsibility as a society to help ensure that we lay out the best possible environment to ensure that this happens.”

EF: What do you think has been the State Board’s biggest accomplishment during your term?
“The A-F grading system. To me, this one piece of legislation creates a paradigm shift in how we, as a community, view and understand our schools. No longer can we just assume that everything is fine because once we have the information we have the responsibility of doing something with it. If a school is struggling, we as a community must step up and work to make it better.”

EF: Public education is going through a great deal of change via a number of different reforms. Is there a reform that you’d like to see that hasn’t been broached?
“I think it is vital that we address teacher pay. It has always amazed me that those professions that we value the most in our society – teachers, first responders, and our military – we pay the least. These days, our teachers are not only expected to educate our children, they are also expected to referee, parent and council. Failing to reward those great teachers that devote their lives to our children with better pay is simply unacceptable.”

EF: Why should we care how our student test scores compare to other countries, especially when our education systems and cultures are so very different?
AF: “
While true that our systems and cultures may be vastly different, the basic ideas and principles of what is expected for our children is, or should be, the same – a well-educated learner. We now live a global society where there are no longer boundaries or borders. The young adults in today’s world must be equipped to adapt to the ever-changing environment, constantly learning new skills and methods and these qualities are the same regardless of place of birth.”


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