The Republican Party chair of Canadian County in Oklahoma wrote a letter proposing that the state stop financing public education.

Andrew Lopez, Republican Party chair for suburban Oklahoma City’s Canadian County, signed the letter sent last week. It requested that the state no longer manage the public school system, or at least consider consolidating school districts. Public schools should seek operational money from sponsorships, advertising, endowments and tuition fees instead of taxes, the letter says.

Other Republicans rebuked him and said that they planned to raise education funding.

Rep. Rhonda Baker, a former teacher and current chair of the House common education committee, tells The Oklahoman in an article published Thursday that increasing education funding remains one of her priorities for next year.

“I have always been and will continue to be a supporter of public education,” Baker said.

Oklahoma Republican Party Chair Pam Pollard said Lopez’s letter doesn’t reflect the party’s position.

But Lopez said the GOP lawmakers are betraying party principles, including through increasing the size of government. His letter also called for abolishing abortion and eliminating unnecessary business-licensing agencies.

“In government we have a system that says we believe it’s a good idea to take (money) from you by force to educate other people’s children,” Lopez said. “That doesn’t appear to be a fair deal to me.”

In the recent elections, 16 educators won seats in the Oklahoma Legislature. The education caucus grew to 25 lawmakers in office that come from an education background, whether that be a teacher or school administrator position. Sixteen are Republicans, nine are Democrats. Eight are in the Senate and 17 in the House.

Lopez’s letter demonstrates the importance of building strong support for public education.

The Founding Fathers, acting as the Continental Congress, passed the Northwest Ordinance of 1787, which established the template for new states. It prohited slavery in the new states, and it set aside one of sixteen plots in each township for schooling. The ordinance began: “”Religion, morality, and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged.”

John Adams wrote in 1785:

the social science will never be much improved untill the People unanimously know and Consider themselvs as the fountain of Power and untill they Shall know how to manage it Wisely and honestly. reformation must begin with the Body of the People which can be done only, to affect, in their Educations. the Whole People must take upon themselvs the Education of the Whole People and must be willing to bear the expences of it. there should not be a district of one Mile Square without a school in it, not founded by a Charitable individual but maintained at the expence of the People themselvs they must be taught to reverence themselvs instead of adoreing their servants their Generals Admirals Bishops and Statesmen.

It seems that Mr. Lopez is unfamiliar with American history.