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Oklahoma Hates Education

I’ve written before about Oklahoma’s poor leadership and the implication for the state’s educational system. The trend continues.

Gene Perry, Oklahoma Policy Institute:

A new report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities finds that Oklahoma has made the deepest cuts to school funding in the nation since the start of the recession. The report is a follow-up of last year’s study that showed Oklahoma’s per pupil spending cuts were third highest in the nation.

Per student funding of Oklahoma’s K-12 education formula is down by 22.8 percent since 2008, according to the report. The percentage cut in Oklahoma is the largest of any state. It works out to a decrease of $810 per student, adjusted for inflation.

Even though the state’s economy has emerged from the recession, per student funding continues to drop. In the most recent fiscal year, funding fell another 1.2 percent, or $33 per student. Though total state funding increased slightly for FY 2014, it was not even enough to cover rising enrollment and increased costs due to inflation. 

In an already floundering educational system, Oklahoma has chosen to aggressively cut school funding. State leaders then feign outrage that our children do not perform well in subjects like math and science.

The only thing poorer than Oklahoma’s school system is the logic from its leadership. While Oklahoma students lack even basic funding, Gov. Mary Fallin saw fit to cut the state income tax - reducing tax revenue by $237 million when implemented.

Ironically, when sounding the call of victory for the cut, Speaker of the House T.W. Shannon said:

By lowering the income tax rate, we are attracting skilled and educated workers to our state and making Oklahoma a leader in businesses and economic growth.

Despite the absurdity of claiming that an average annual savings of $88 will lead to economic growth, Shannon and state leaders are overseeing an educational system that is leading to anything but skilled workers. In essence, they are willing to rob from their children’s resources for a few bucks in reduced taxes. Meanwhile, I’m not sure how many top quality businesses would be willing to locate to a state with such poor educational priorities.

Shameful.

As angry as Oklahomans should be at their state’s leadership, they should be equally angry at themselves. As Andrew Rice tweeted:

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