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  1. #151

    Default Re: Education in Oklahoma

    Quote Originally Posted by John1780 View Post
    I read the article--I'd say it's probably the dominant theme. Having taught as well, I'd say it's the dominant theme. With the hell that many teachers have to deal with in the classroom, a decent salary goes a long way in ameliorating the day to day job issues. It also allows for more people to consider the profession in the first place, which is one of the biggest problems.
    Pay has a lot to do with retention in a lot of professions. However, this is a bureaucracy, I don't have a choice on whether or not to patronize or not. So I am going to be extremely critical when they ask for more money.



    Quote Originally Posted by John1780 View Post
    Have you not been following the state of higher education the last 10 years? Look at what has happened to colleges and universities that have followed the private sector's business model. Bloated ranks of overpaid administrators with adjuncts paid poverty wages to perform the bulk of teaching responsibilities.

    Is this the business model you're looking for? Because clearly, it's not working well.
    I don't really see how this is some sort of model that is unique to the private sector. It would be hard to come up with a huge amount of data, but anecdotally it seems that the private sector equivalent of public education works quite the opposite. Administrators don't have near the bloated pay as their public school counterparts have. And are much closer in range to the actual teachers pay in many cases. I'm sure there are exceptions to this.

    Here are some interesting statistics for you (keep in mind they may be imperfect due to difficulties collecting data from private institutions, but never the less, I imagine the trends are close enough to make inferences from. This is from the National Center for Education Statistics (Institute of Education Sciences), WalletHub, and Wikipedia (population numbers only).

    Number of Principals w/ instructional responsibilities as teachers
    Public - 3.6%
    Private - 36.1%

    And in the vein of too many districts, here's this:

    State Districts Population Pop/Dist Spending Rank
    Oklahoma 530 3,878,051 7,317 49 36
    Kansas 320 2,904,021 9,075 34 5
    Missouri 610 6,063,589 9,940 27 19
    Arkansas 280 2,94,079 10,693 38 44
    Texas 1,460 26,956,958 18,464 48 12
    New Mexico 100 2,085,572 20,856 21 46
    Colorado 200 5,355,856 26,779 22 6

    Spending is ranked per pupil.

    While I'm sure there are other factors, it appears that district sizes have little bearing on the perceived quality of a school. The obvious hypothesis would be that less districts means less spent on administration, therefore more to actual classrooms, which would hopefully lead to a better product. Thank you Kansas and New Mexico for bucking that. Of course spending obviously doesn't necessarily correlate with success either (the point I have been trying to make). Again, this is a small sample (only 51 max so...) so it could be somewhat misleading.

  2. #152

  3. #153

  4. #154
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    Default Re: Education in Oklahoma

    Hasn't Oklahoma always performed less than mediocre in education? If true, it's ingrained in the culture and will always be difficult to significantly improve.

  5. #155

    Default Re: Education in Oklahoma

    Quote Originally Posted by Bunty View Post
    Hasn't Oklahoma always performed less than mediocre in education? If true, it's ingrained in the culture and will always be difficult to significantly improve.
    Probably true, but as a state, we don't have a lot of history. At least until WWII, our economy was based almost entirely on oil and gas and agriculture, activities which didn't require a lot of education. But those industries have changed and the economy has diversified. Oklahoma needs a more competitive educational system if we want to compete in this century.

    Browsing the comment sections of newsok and here, it seems everyone has their own idea about how to fix things. The most popular thing by far is to cut the number of school districts, some by a little, some by as much as reducing 530 to 77 overnight. I'm glad that a bunch of high school educated people think they have valid opinions on how not just to run a school, but how to run an entire state system.


    Going over some of the results from the school ratings system is instructive. You'll find a lot of poor quality schools, but every so often, some PWT town will actually have good schools, or an inner-city school will not be doing terribly. It's all about leadership at the school level and quality of instructors and culture.

    What is disturbing about a lot of these cuts is that programs like AVID and STEM programs, which were designed to help students achieve beyond average had to be cut.

    I'm sure if you were to hire the top consultants in education to build our system from the ground up that they wouldn't find the current funding situation acceptable.

    ETA: The more I think about people seriously proposing 77 as the appropriate number of school districts, the more convinced I am that the public doesn't probably have a great handle on this.

    Counties are kind of a 19th century government model anyhow as they are all pretty close to the same land area and were probably drawn up with the idea that travel by horse to the County Seat would be practical for anything within the County's boundaries. That seems a pretty arbitrary way to draw up school districts. And further, Texas and Beaver Counties would be their own administrative districts, but so would Oklahoma, Cleveland and Tulsa Counties. That doesn't seem like a good way to do things. Most people making these suggestions are only vaguely aware, if at all, as to what administrators do, what superintendents do, and how superintendents in small school districts often wear many hats. Most people like local control, but to save a part of the education budget, which in the grand scheme of things is not a big deal, they are willing to sacrifice that.

    The people of this state frustrate me. This is the sort of thing which should trigger a 'vote the bums out' attitude, and I get the feeling that this is barely registering with the average Oklahoman.

    ETA2: The more I think about this subject, the more I've really considered whether Oklahoma, going forward is going to be a good place to raise a family. I have deep ties to this state as both sides of the family homesteaded here in the 1800s, but if we have a government which places the needs of special interests' profits above those of Oklahoma children, then I would just like to request that the last person out of the state please turn off the lights.

  6. #156

    Default Re: Education in Oklahoma

    Won't be long until they start laying off teachers and staff. First year or second year teachers will be first.

    I grew up in public schools and want my kids someday to go to the schools I enjoyed. I'm not sure I want my kids to go to a school with no STEM or AP programs.

    I don't really know what to think anymore....

  7. #157

    Default Re: Education in Oklahoma

    Midtowner, thank you for that little insight. I had never really stepped back to consider how young Oklahoma is when it comes to out educational system.

    Anecdotaly of couse, my father was the first in his family to go to collect (70's) and my wife is the first in hers. There are schools on the east coast that are several hundred years older than our state. White settlers really didn't arrive in Oklahoma en mass until a shade over 100 years ago. Oklahoma was just learning to walk when states like Massachusets were set to graduate from college. Not saying we shouldn't strive for bigger and better things, but let us set goals that are realistic.

    I happened upon this website: https://ballotpedia.org/Public_education_in_Oklahoma

    A couple of interesting things jumped out at me.

    1. Kansas is generally viewed as a well performing public education system. They service 489,043 students (184,440 less than Oklahoma) and have 41,243 teachers (532 less than OK). That's a ratio of 1:11.9 vs 1:16.1 for Oklahoma. To counter this, they have far fewer administrative personnel per student 1:248.4 vs 1:294.7. This kind of statistic only bolsters the notion that less districts would alleviate some of the crowding issues and potentially help deliver a better more focused product.

    2. Only 52.61% of the student population in Oklahoma is white. Much lower than our surrounding neighbors. Not that this would necessarily indicate anything in regards to quality of our system. It certainly surprised me as I figured the percentage would be much higher than that. Our Native American history has much to do with this statistic being what it is.

    3. Oklahoma relies fairly heavily on federal funds to pay for education. More so than our peers in the region. This is probably not a wise move as federal funding can vary wildly from year to year, and sometimes disappear all together.

    4. Oklahoma has a pretty low capital budget (as a percentage of total spending) vs our peer states, with a far greater portion going to general expenditures.

    5. I'm not sure exactly the calculations used to determine the table below, but the pay drop from 09-10 to 11-12 I figure has to be somewhat tied to the declining financial system (ie my money is worth less this year than last). I only figure this because I can't imagine our peer states all having major cuts at the exact same time. Either way, this paints the pay gap as not being near as drastic as I have seen in other sources. It looks like OK pays on average 80% of the national average. Where Kansas (a leader in our peer group) pays 84%. While it could be fixed, I still do not think it is the central issue of the day.

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    Anyway, interesting reading none the less.

  8. #158

    Default Re: Education in Oklahoma

    And since everyone is about solutions, here is the challenge. The solution seems to be that we need more money for education. The state of Oklahoma obviously has a finite amount of resources each year to work with, so it comes down to what deserves it less. I have listed the "big ticket items" on the budget for Oklahoma each year, and what the expenditures were for 2015 (along with % of total expenditures). Where should we pull it from. Where do you all think there is the most fat to be cut.

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  9. #159

    Default Re: Education in Oklahoma

    All we do is cut.

    Report Shows Oklahoma Still Leads in Education Cuts | Oklahoma Watch

    I think combing school districts is viable. But I think it needs to be done based on a district by district approach. It might work well for some areas and not well for others. Knowing the pace of OK government they will create a committee and by the time they research the budget will be zero.

  10. #160

    Default Re: Education in Oklahoma

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric View Post
    Midtowner, thank you for that little insight. I had never really stepped back to consider how young Oklahoma is when it comes to out educational system.
    That's one of the things I think is really quite remarkable about Oklahoma. Go to just about any city in the US and look around... 150 years ago, there was a city there. People have just been adding to it. 150 years ago here in OKC, there were no people, just fields and forests. In 1889, people showed up and built a city and everything you see here has been built since. I think that's really remarkable.

    Oklahoma was just learning to walk when states like Massachusets were set to graduate from college. Not saying we shouldn't strive for bigger and better things, but let us set goals that are realistic.
    In the 19th Century, I think you'd have a point. But today, with the speed of communication and the fact that we can always hire educators from Massachusetts if we're willing (aha, pay does matter!) to pay adequate compensation, the state can invest in its people and reap the rewards in the years to come. Educating the public in a sense is not so different from educating the individual--it takes time and money and in almost every case, it's money and time well spent.

    1. Kansas is generally viewed as a well performing public education system.
    I'd say in the past it was, but similar to Oklahoma, Kansas is reeling from irresponsible tax cuts and faces downgraded credit and an uncertain future.

    Kansas Schools Close Early as Sam Brownback Tax Cuts Squeeze Revenue - Bloomberg Politics

    2. Only 52.61% of the student population in Oklahoma is white. Much lower than our surrounding neighbors. Not that this would necessarily indicate anything in regards to quality of our system. It certainly surprised me as I figured the percentage would be much higher than that. Our Native American history has much to do with this statistic being what it is.
    Are you trying to use racial statistics to explain low test scores? I'm set to berate you as to why that is truly awful, but figured you might want to explain yourself a bit, because this assertion is very problematic. But I think, let's run with this hypothesis... recent experience at U.S. Grant tends to show that money is a major issue. You'll recall that U.S. Grant High School has historically not been known for its academics. They have historically been a low-performing school. They have a large Spanish-speaking population and a large number of non-English speaking parents. They applied and received a $5 million multi-year grant.

    (the budget) http://sde.ok.gov/sde/sites/ok.gov.s...ntHSBudget.pdf

    You'll note the budget covers things like increased pay for teachers, ELL training for parents, Spanish instruction for teachers, etc. Well, in only a couple of years, with that money, Grant went from an "F" school to a "B+." And since the funding has dried up? Things have been moving back downhill.

    3. Oklahoma relies fairly heavily on federal funds to pay for education. More so than our peers in the region. This is probably not a wise move as federal funding can vary wildly from year to year, and sometimes disappear all together.
    And then we do dumb things like this to make those federal funds difficult to use:

    Oklahoma loses ability to use federal funding as state sees fit | News OK

    Gotta love the end where the legislator thinks this is not going to be a big deal. Well.. it's 2015 and we still haven't replaced Common Core with something better. I won't hold my breath.

    4. Oklahoma has a pretty low capital budget (as a percentage of total spending) vs our peer states, with a far greater portion going to general expenditures.
    Right now, yes, due to leading the nation in budget cuts for schools since 2008, we've cut back on capital expenses. This will come back to bite us in 20 years or so in a serious way.

    5. I'm not sure exactly the calculations used to determine the table below, but the pay drop from 09-10 to 11-12 I figure has to be somewhat tied to the declining financial system (ie my money is worth less this year than last). I only figure this because I can't imagine our peer states all having major cuts at the exact same time. Either way, this paints the pay gap as not being near as drastic as I have seen in other sources. It looks like OK pays on average 80% of the national average. Where Kansas (a leader in our peer group) pays 84%. While it could be fixed, I still do not think it is the central issue of the day.
    It looks like those salary numbers are adjusted per the Consumer Price Index, i.e., cost of living adjusted. That is a common tactic for folks who are trying to justify Oklahoma's low salaries. In practice, those things just don't paint an accurate picture. You can't try to argue policy pretending that the cost of living in Gotebo is the same as it is in Tulsa. Also, I don't know any teachers who have moved out of state to places like Arkansas who complained that their higher salaries were being gutted by the cost of living. When I see that CPI adjustment, it's just a red flag to me that someone isn't prepared to have a serious discussion.

  11. #161

    Default Re: Education in Oklahoma

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric View Post
    And since everyone is about solutions, here is the challenge. The solution seems to be that we need more money for education. The state of Oklahoma obviously has a finite amount of resources each year to work with, so it comes down to what deserves it less. I have listed the "big ticket items" on the budget for Oklahoma each year, and what the expenditures were for 2015 (along with % of total expenditures). Where should we pull it from. Where do you all think there is the most fat to be cut.

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    The solution is more revenue is needed. Period.

    It's not actually a difficult concept if you are willing to accept the possibility that Tea Party dogma such as "tax cuts always create jobs and increase revenues" is extremely flawed.

  12. #162

    Default Re: Education in Oklahoma

    Midtowner, I was really not insinuating anything in regards to race. Just a surprising statistic that changed my perception of the racial makeup of our school system in this state. I knew there was quite a large Indian population, but it did not occur to me that it was THAT large. You can berate away. Generally speaking I don't think race has anything to do with the potential of young children. There are plenty of other factors that do though. What I call societal issues, many call racial issues, but it does make a difference to a point.

    In regards to the salary numbers. Maybe they are flawed, but I was comparing apples to apples. So they were equally flawed for our peers.

  13. #163

    Default Re: Education in Oklahoma

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric View Post
    Generally speaking I don't think race has anything to do with the potential of young children.
    That's why I held back

    There are plenty of other factors that do though. What I call societal issues, many call racial issues, but it does make a difference to a point.
    And poor education is often at the core of these societal issues. How is it so difficult to realize that a people who invests in themselves will reap rewards? Certainly, money isn't THE answer, it's what you do with the money, but our schools should be in a position of allocating bountiful resources rather than cutting teacher aid positions to pay the light bill.

    In regards to the salary numbers. Maybe they are flawed, but I was comparing apples to apples. So they were equally flawed for our peers.
    At any rate, we're not getting better at #49 or dead last (whichever we are now)

  14. Default Re: Education in Oklahoma

    I thought that the lottery was supposed to bring dumptrucks of cash to the schools.

  15. #165

    Default Re: Education in Oklahoma

    Quote Originally Posted by Oh GAWD the Smell! View Post
    I thought that the lottery was supposed to bring dumptrucks of cash to the schools.
    Not sure if you're just trolling with that comment, but every time I hear this from someone, I want to throat punch them.

    The lottery was NEVER sold as a solution for Oklahoma's education funding woes. It was always an additional revenue source to be used for specific purposes to enhance baseline spending, not supplant it.

    In fact, the Constitutional provision contains this language:

    D. In order to ensure that the funds from the trust fund are used to enhance and not supplant funding for education, the State Board of Equalization shall examine and investigate appropriations from the trust fund each year. At the meeting of the State Board of Equalization held within five (5) days after the monthly apportionment in February of each year, the State Board of Equalization shall issue a finding and report which shall state whether appropriations from the trust fund were used to enhance or supplant education funding. If the State Board of Equalization finds that education funding was supplanted by funds from the trust fund, the Board shall specify the amount by which education funding was supplanted. In this event, the Legislature shall not make any appropriations for the ensuing fiscal year until an appropriation in that amount is made to replenish the trust fund.
    But what a symbolic gesture that is, right? How can we cut funding more than any state in the Union and not be doing exactly what this provision forbids? We are $213 million below 2008 funding and we just cut another $47 million. The most the lottery has ever raised in a year is around $70 million.

    And of course, lawmakers are getting in the way of the lottery being as effective as it could as well.

    Oklahoma's Education Lottery: Underperforming Or Undercut? - News9.com - Oklahoma City, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports |

  16. Default Re: Education in Oklahoma

    Lighten up Francis, it was a legitimate question.

    While it wasn't sold as a panacea for anything, it was certainly in the bullet points during the sales pitch. Enough emphasis on it for me to remember it now, and I was barely paying attention then. That's why I asked.

    Why don't you go find a mirror, extend your arm out towards your reflection, give that mug a wink, then bring that hand back quickly and punch your own damn throat.

  17. #167

    Default Re: Education in Oklahoma

    Quote Originally Posted by Midtowner View Post

    The lottery was NEVER sold as a solution for Oklahoma's education funding woes. It was always an additional revenue source to be used for specific purposes to enhance baseline spending, not supplant it.
    ]
    Are you sure it was never sold as the solution? Do you have all the commercials Brad Henry ran durin the period? Were you at all the campaign stops Henry had supporting ? You must have been every where a supporter through out the period when it was a question said the phrase "the lottery is a solution to Oklahoma's education".
    To say "NEVER" is a very bold statement.
    I am glad you, as an attorney, are on the record saying that. Thats a bold bold statement.

  18. #168

    Default Re: Education in Oklahoma

    Lottery groups gear up for election campaign - NewsOn6.com - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - KOTV.com |

    The above is a story from way back when... supporters were promising $100 million per year realistically. Not actually hugely far off from where we've been.

    I have never seen anyone of note who supported the lottery suggesting it as THE solution for our funding issues. It was always supposed to be supplemental--as noted in the Oklahoma Constitution.

    But I can't think of a reason to get rid of it either. $60 million or so more in the budget is lots better than $60 million less.

  19. #169

    Default Re: Education in Oklahoma

    Why didn't the lottery solve Oklahoma's education funding problems?

    The contribution of the lottery to the Oklahoma Education Lottery Trust Fund has been steady since 2006 at about $70 million per year. Thatís lower than the initial projections by lottery backers. Before video lottery machines were removed from the list of permitted games, former Governor Brad Henry had said a lottery could bring in $300 million per year for education.
    Linked in the above:

    Lottery package approved - Tulsa World: Archives

    A major change made by senators removes video lottery machines from the list of permitted games.

    Pettigrew said this change, sponsored by Hobson, will lower the amount of revenue Oklahoma may receive from the lottery.

    Previously, Henry has said that a lottery could pull in $300 million for all levels of education.

    Pettigrew said that without video games, additional education funding from a state lottery may total closer to $100 million, of which $80 million could go to public schools.

  20. #170

    Default Re: Education in Oklahoma

    Quote Originally Posted by Oh GAWD the Smell! View Post
    Lighten up Francis, it was a legitimate question.
    Honestly, no. Anyone who asks this is either sold on the anti-lottery propaganda or hasn't made a real effort to become familiar with the issue.

  21. #171

    Default Re: Education in Oklahoma

    We're following the Okie Republican model of destroying government--defund it to the point that it cant' do its job, then either privatize or jettison the entire program. If the lottery had been allowed to function as originally intended, it could be a much more successful program. Unfortunately, so many of our legislators still dwell in the Dark Ages where they seem to think that we can make gambling illegal and it just won't happen (pay no attention to the massive casinos surrounding the City or to the internet, just don't pay attention to those!).

  22. #172
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    Default Re: Education in Oklahoma

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric View Post
    And since everyone is about solutions, here is the challenge. The solution seems to be that we need more money for education. The state of Oklahoma obviously has a finite amount of resources each year to work with, so it comes down to what deserves it less. I have listed the "big ticket items" on the budget for Oklahoma each year, and what the expenditures were for 2015 (along with % of total expenditures). Where should we pull it from. Where do you all think there is the most fat to be cut.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Cut corrections after considerable justice reform.

  23. #173

    Default Re: Education in Oklahoma

    I don't claim to know as much about this as some of you on here, but I can provide my experience and opinion on the matter. I grew up in rural oklahoma in the 90's, and our school struggled with funding things like a computer class, music, and spanish. By the time I was a junior/senior, I was the ONLY student who was in trigonometry and calculus, they had completely cut the music program, and there was no spanish class. I managed to get an advanced degree, but I had no idea what I missed out on in high school until I got to college. It doesn't sound like things are any better since then either. Kids are our future, and we have to do what it takes to make sure they get a quality education and are given opportunities to grow whether it be in sports, music, or in academia. The money has to come from somewhere.

    Now, I don't understand the budget items above. Is the "Education-Regents" for our public school system? I see "regents" and I automatically think higher education.

    Like I said before, we cannot allow our schools to be defunded. What is the answer? Maybe we can consolidate some school districts, but we can't just consolidate everything. Rural oklahoma is sparsely populated with a decent amount of distance. Bussing in those kids can become a problem and it is expensive. There are places where this can work, however.

    Reducing the salaries of administration. I never understood why this is a problem. I work in the energy industry, and I would happily take a pay cut rather than lose my job. There is less money coming in with oil down, so I understand that there is less money going around. Give me a pay cut. Why can't administration understand that too?

    Reducing the money going to the higher education systems can also help. There area a lot of colleges in this state that require money. Consolidating these schools may be easier than the local public schools in areas.

    Whatever money you save here, do not apply it equally across the state. Focus on the areas with the highest population densities. Make sure these areas are properly funded, properly staffed, and have all the opportunities one would get in another state. If people really care about their kid's future, they can move to this larger towns/cities. I'm not saying we need to leave the rural schools to rot on the limb. We need to make sure to keep funding these schools, but we can reach more kids in the larger school systems. The money may be used more efficiently in that manner. Anyway, that's just my opinion. It's not like it will actually happen.

    As it stands now, I'm getting really concerned about raising my kids in this state. As it stands now, they won't be competitive on a national level. Sad where we stand nationally...

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    Default Re: Education in Oklahoma

    Vote out all legislators who vote anti-education and pro prison. If a legislator votes yes on deals with private prisons that require the state to keep them nearly full, you know where his or her priorities are, and it sure isn't education.

  25. #175

    Default Re: Education in Oklahoma

    The Capitol needs another 122 million dollars to finish, because the budget wasn't correct....I'm sorry but the schools need that money....

    Contractors: $122 million more needed to finish capitol renovation project | KFOR.com

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