Saturday, October 23, 2010

Lots of bucks, little bang

"Arguments used by supporters of State Question 744 mirror those used 20 years ago in support of House Bill 1017, which poured massive amounts of money into our common schools," writes OCPA adjunct scholar Russell Jones, a marketing professor at the University of Central Oklahoma. 

Before taxpayers decide to approve SQ 744, they should ask what we got for our money.

During the past 20 years, we built more buildings, developed more programs (such as full-time kindergarten and pre-K), hired more teachers, and reduced class sizes. We also hired more administrators at handsome salaries. What we didn't get are more properly educated graduates.

Forty percent of applicants for admission at state colleges and universities need to take remedial courses. If the top 40 percent of our high school graduates apply for college admission and 40 percent of them need remedial work, how badly educated are the students in the bottom 60 percent?

Recently released U.S. Census Bureau data for March 2009 show that Oklahoma has 111.56 percent of the national average for elementary and secondary school employees. How can our education leaders justify asking for more money when it's obvious that the system has failed to produce acceptable results? How can they justify hiring more employees when they're already overstaffed?

Perhaps we should scrap the current system and start over.

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