Gov. Kevin Stitt has talked about wanting to make Oklahoma a Top 10 state when it comes to education. I think he needs to clarify what he’s talking about. I bet we’re among the leaders in a number of categories.
For example, can you show me another state that supports not only a Higher Education system, but also a system of Career Tech? Higher Ed and Career Tech in most other states operate under the same umbrella.
This probably saves hundreds of millions of dollars in administrative expense.
What could Oklahoma do with that money? Provide more support for mental health services, maybe?
And show me another state that supports more than 500 school districts with fewer than 4 million people residing inside its borders. I bet there aren’t many if any. I remember reading how Oklahoma has more school districts than Colorado, Florida, Maryland, Nevada, Hawaii and Kansas combined.
Surely, this would make us a strong contender for the Top 10 in this category. But again, what could Oklahoma do if it saved millions of dollars by having fewer administrators?
We don’t need to close schools, but do you suppose we could get by with a few less administrative positions?
We’re probably in the Top 10 when it comes to funding education administration, especially if we base it on a per capita basis.
We may lag in areas like funding for classrooms, but I’m willing to wager we’re among the national leaders when it comes to spending taxpayer money to support education-related associations.
What could savings from funding fewer associations support? Maybe provide a boost to special education?
People need to stop and think before they level accusations saying Oklahoma taxpayers and legislators don't care about education. We spend all kinds of money on education, it just has a hard time making its way to the classroom.
Common Ed, Career Tech and Higher Ed are vital for Oklahoma and all have their place in helping to move our people and our state forward.
The thing that is not good is the enormous administrative duplication we fund. That massive amount of money could be put to a much better use.
This should not be a Republican issue or a Democrat issue. In my opinion, it should be a common sense issue.
A plan, probably one that covers several years and relies heavily on attrition, needs to be developed to allow Oklahoma to transition away from this massive administrative duplication and expense.
Gov. Stitt is going to need the support of some tough-minded lawmakers, community leaders and concerned citizens if we’re going to see Oklahoma crack the Top 10 in education.
The effort will be worth it.