Education in Oklahoma

We are entering yet another election cycle where all the candidates are claiming they know how to fix education in the state of Oklahoma. I want to look at the problems facing the education system in the state of Oklahoma.

The rate at which we pay our elementary and secondary teachers in the state ranks 50th in the US. (https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2018/a-look-at-teacher-pay-across-the-united-states-in-2017.htm)

The amount of money the state puts into the classroom.

The sources of revenue for the education system in the state of Oklahoma.

This is in my own personal opinion the three top issues facing our education system in the state of Oklahoma. The ranking listed above with the state of Oklahoma being dead last in the 50 states even after the pay raise is frightening.

The methods to remedy the situation do not include another walkout by the OEA and other teachers unions. They also do not include demonizing sources of revenue as the way which would fix the low salary.

As the reader, you must decide which candidate you think would have the best interest of our students and our educators in their platform before you vote. I have gotten to the point where I do not listen to all the negative ads by the different candidates and organizations telling me how to vote. My standard is simply one of who has the most conservative values and supports the interests of all persons legally in our country.

I know one candidate has been in politics for as long as I have been able to vote. I also know that he supported national politicians that were not conservative and one of them did more to harm this country, then to help it. That candidate would not get my vote!

I have a unique idea, or at least I think it is. Form an independent committee of 13 people. The makeup of that committee would consist of educators in the K-12 system, higher education system, leading economists, and finally taxpayers in different age ranges. This committee, while having no authority to write legislation, would have access to the complete state budget. A review of each of the accounts in the budget, the sources of revenue for each account, and the last audit of each account. The next area that would be reviewed would be the budgets of all the school districts, the population of students in each district, the numbers of administrators in each district and their salaries, the fringe benefits of said administrators.

This committee would be nonpartisan, with no political agenda! A task force of this makeup that is unpaid, would be able to post their findings to the state website and forward recommendations for the solutions to our challenges in our education system to the people that actually write the legislation. The state legislature both House and Senate would then have a recommendation to follow to improve the issue.

And a word of advice to the state legislators, if you’re writing legislation dealing with fixing education. It should include no other items! Yes, there will be funding issues. Yes, there will be revenue issues in order to reach the funding goals. We elected you to represent us and it is high time that you get to work, set aside your political ambitions and arguments, address the issues at hand and fix the problem.

A word to the educators of the state of Oklahoma, the only thing that strikes do is hurt the students. When you close school to walkout because of a pay issue. What are you teaching the students. Do not think that I am against higher pay for our teachers! It saddens me to discover that we, after getting a paltry 6% increase over several years lands us in last place. According to the Bureau of Labor. I agree in order to maintain qualified and exceptional educators we have to raise the base pay. We also have to raise the level of education of our students!

Voters of Oklahoma, it is in your hands. Make sure that you go to the polls on November 6, 2018 and make your vote count!

Mid-Term Election Mania

The American public is inundated with the most horrible rhetoric I have experienced in my 40+ years of voting. In the national side how can you believe a party that is obstructionist and viciously attacked members of the opposing party in the press And have members that have called for violence / harassment of members of the opposition party. All politicians make campaign promises to the people that vote. Some promises can never be kept, some are kept, some are attempted but fail because they don’t get the support from both sides.

  1. At the state level I have watched an interesting set of issues. Mostly about education funding. I MUST STATE I SUPPORT EDUCATION, having said that, there are points that I take issue with. Calling for a strike by the OEA, was effective, to a point. The legislature, too little too late, took the Teachers, seriously and made progress toward fixing the issues. The teachers did get a raise and some funding for the classroom was restored. Where I begin to disagree was when the OEA leader continued to say it’s not enough. And basically continued to bargain in bad faith. “Bad faith how can you say that”? You may ask.
    She continued her criticism of what was offered and when it was met, she changed the goal.
    She lied to the public claiming she had a consensus of the Union membership, yet numerous members were never asked for their input.
    She gave the perception that she wold hold the legislature hostage until all demands were met by continuing to strike. That is nothing short of extortion!

Was education fixed? Not completely, it was started down the path to a better system.

Should they Strike again this year? My personal opinion is No. this election will change the makeup of the state government.

How do we fix the problem? That is a subject for another. Daily Dose of Common Sense!

Strike 3 and They’re OUT!

I admire the teaching profession, it takes a special person to desire to help another person learn and truly be concerned when they see the difficulty a child has in grasping the concept. Some of the best teachers have discovered a way to make learning fun. In the state of Oklahoma, teachers have been underpaid for many years. They have utilized their First Amendment right to march on the capital for education reform improvement in the education system and now for an increase in teachers’ pay. While I agree totally that they need an increase in salary both in starting salary for a new teacher as well as an increase in salary and benefits for our veteran teachers, I do not believe that continuing with plans for a walk out after the legislature has finally worked and done their job to fund a raise is appropriate. To have the president of the OEA publicly state that the demands given the legislature were not all met, gives the impression that they are more interested in getting their way than performing their duty. I will reiterate that I am not against raising the pay of those that are educators. The politicians in the legislature of the state of Oklahoma have for the past 40 years failed to do what they were elected to do. It’s been the last three sessions, with a decrease in revenue leaving a large hole in the budget and requiring cutbacks from all services they continue to spin their wheels and pass laws dealing with driving in the left lane, texting while driving, while procrastinating on fixing the fiscal problems. This is totally unacceptable. The legislature for the state of Oklahoma needs to use “A Daily Dose of Common Sense” when prioritizing their approach to legislation. Band-Aids and duct tape to fix recurring problems are also unacceptable. I asked that the teachers use that same “Dose of Common Sense” and accept the increase that is being worked on and not walk out if it passes. Politics today has become a haven for special interest groups. While our representatives tend to listen to these groups, they should be listening to the masses that elected them. This is not an uncommon problem in both state and federal legislators. It is time to get political parties and political agendas out of our government. Elected officials need to serve the people that elected them, not the PAC’s that funded their campaign. To be fiscally responsible and the funding of our education system reforms in all areas of the system must be addressed. Duplication and wasteful spending must be eliminated. Raises two elected officials should cease until those officials efficiently fix the problems with the state budget. We now enter the wait and see phase of the threatened walkout. Should the salary increase that is currently being worked on pass, it wouldn’t be ethical to continue with the Strike. Should they decide to continue with the walkout/strike, it would give the impression that they are just like all the other special interest groups. They would be more interested in getting what they want over the needs of all the people. Of course, this is just my humble opinion.