Here are some of my random and not so random thoughts on what has been happening with #oklaed lately……..
- Governor Mary Fallin has called a special legislative session to plug the $215 M budget shortfall, address consolidation and other government efficiencies, to make sure the trucking industry doesn’t get included in the new motor vehicle tax, and address a needed teacher pay raise.
I really don’t know how to respond to this. Well, that is not true; I have lots to say, I just don’t know which response I want to have first. So here it goes. My initial reaction to this was to laugh. Think about it……. Not only will the State Fair be going on in Oklahoma, but now the circus too. At 23rd and Lincoln Blvd (the big top), we will have not one but two ringmasters trying to tame the lions, get the elephants to march in single file, while the high wire act tries to walk the tightrope. And yes, there will be clowns.
On a serious note, we shouldn’t forget we are in this mess because of bad choices and politics. Everyone is to blame. Some don’t want to raise the Gross Production tax, but those same people do want to raise the tax on cigarettes. Others won’t even consider a cigarette tax unless we raise the tax on gas. Others just want to continue with the tired line of “government is growning” and the only way to slow it down is to starve it. People are not government! Mental health services are necessary. Child welfare advocates are needed. Yes these things cost money, but the cost to the people needing these services who aren’t getting them is exponentially greater.
- Just a quick side note…….. does Gov. Fallin suggesting #okleg look for ways to increase teacher pay remind you of Lucy trying to convince Charlie Brown she won’t yank the football away from him THIS TIME!
- Speaking of looking for Government Efficiencies……….if you really want to look for ways to save the government some much needed cash, could we please start with our #okleg? How many bills are heard each year, which everyone knows, is a purely partisan endeavor? (see abortion and guns) How about the ones the courts have already found unconstitutional? (see above abortion bills) Just in education, #okleg has taken up the “zeros” bill a half dozen times, and the famous suspend students for making their pop tart look like a gun (yes, that one made national news). Surely we can’t forget the “women are hosts for men’s babies” bill. How much could we save the taxpayer if we simply stopped paying for these types of inefficiencies?
I’m not sure exactly what efficiencies Gov. Fallin is looking for, but since I’m in education, I’ll assume she is looking at #oklaed. Being efficient is a funny thing. Whose efficiency are we concerned with: the taxpayer or the consumer? To maximize our efficiency, why wouldn’t schools hire 1 teacher to develop all the lesson plans and a bunch of temps from Express Personnel to carry them out? This could save taxpayers millions? Who needs a qualified teacher in the classroom to teach them frivolous concepts like reading or Geometry? Let’s consolidate districts so we don’t have the extra costs associated with being inefficient in child nutrition, administration, or other important things like facilities (who needs 2 elementary buildings when we can have 1 big one). How much would that save the taxpayers? Of course it will cost the families who have to drive further to school events or drop their young children off at school and cost students whose time will be spent driving back and forth to distant schools or riding a school bus instead of spending time with their friends, stay afterschool to get help with homework, enjoy an evening with their parents, or go hunting or fishing with grandpa.
- Some thoughts not associated with the special session:
- Why is it school choice advocates are the same people wanting school consolidation? Isn’t a small, rural school a choice too?
- Can it really be called school choice if the final decision to allow a student to attend rests with the school?
- Why is it when it comes to school accountability, some think parents of public school students need a single summative A-F grade to understand if their child is getting a good education, but parents of private school parents just automatically know?
- Why is it many in the #okleg continue to erode state support of Oklahoma Colleges and Universities while research suggests a greater need for Oklahomans to obtain more college degrees and career tech certifications?
- Just remember when our recalibrated state test results are made public, that for the majority of our students in Oklahoma, the test result is the least important aspect of their lives. Check out these facts regarding students in Oklahoma