Conservative Index Add
pagetitle

Tuesday, September 17th, 2019Last Update: Wednesday, August 7th, 2019 10:21:15 AM

Nearly 4 in 10 Oklahoma Teachers Would Choose Private or Home Schooling for Their Own Children

By: Brandon Dutcher

When asked what’s the best educational choice for their own children, one might expect near unanimity from Oklahoma public school teachers. Teachers might favor their own schools not just for reasons of loyalty to one’s employer (Thunder employees don’t cheer for the Warriors), but because they have firsthand knowledge of school quality and safety.

So it’s surprising – and perhaps somewhat telling – that nearly 4 in 10 teachers would choose a private school or homeschooling for their own children, according to a recent SoonerPoll survey. (The survey of Oklahoma teachers, conducted from September 29 to October 10, has a margin of error of +/- 4.56 percent.)

When Oklahoma lawmakers convene for the 2017 legislative session, they should do what eight other states have done: enact an individual tax credit or deduction for approved educational expenses (including private school tuition and homeschooling). This would empower teachers – and indeed all Oklahoma parents – to make whatever choice they think is best for their own children.

Passing educational choice legislation is never easy – the battles to secure Oklahoma’s special-needs voucher law in 2010 and tax-credit scholarship law in 2011 were intense – but reformers appear to have some wind at their back.

As the American Federation for Children (AFC) noted in a press release on election night, “the momentum for giving parents robust school-choice options continued to grow in Oklahoma today” with the election and re-election of several school-choice supporters to the Oklahoma Legislature. Several candidates backed by AFC even won head-to-head matchups with members of the public-education community who were staunchly opposed to parental choice. Among those victors: state Rep. Elise Hall (R-Oklahoma City), state Sen. Dan Newberry (R-Tulsa), new state Sen. Joe Newhouse (R-Tulsa), new state Sen. Julie Daniels (R-Bartlesville), state Sen. Rob Standridge (R-Norman), and state Sen. Kyle Loveless (R-Oklahoma City).

AFC’s in-state committee, the Oklahoma Federation for Children Action Fund, spent more than $210,000 in this year's legislative races. This is sometimes referred to as “dark money,” an ominous-sounding phrase used (usually by people who disagree with the donors’ electoral preferences) to describe healthy and important First Amendment activities.

The phrase “dark money” is especially beloved of liberal journalists and members of Oklahoma's public education community, though I suspect enthusiasm for its usage has dampened of late. You may have seen in the news that several friends of education’s failed status quo – state Superintendent Joy Hofmeister, GOP campaign consultant Fount Holland, and a pair of former teacher-union and administrator-group officials – have been charged with felony counts for inappropriate use of so-called dark money (in contrast to AFC, which played by the rules).

Rather than continuing to penalize parents financially for raising their children in accordance with their consciences, it’s time for Oklahoma policymakers to enact and expand policies – vouchers, tax credits, ESAs, and more – which secure parental rights.

As Oklahoma's GOP-controlled government considers education funding and teacher pay raises in 2017, let’s hope they insist that the price for more public-school funding is increased parental choice.

About Brandon Dutcher

Dutcher is Senior Vice President at the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs (OCPA) http://www.ocpathink.org/, which was founded in 1993 as a public policy research organization focused primarily on state-level issues. His award-winning articles have appeared in 200 newspapers throughout Oklahoma and the U.S. He can be contacted at: Brandon@ocpathink.org, at: twitter.com/brandondutcher or facebook.com/brandondutcher

Other Articles By Brandon Dutcher

What Type of School Would Oklahomans Select?

Leaders in the public-education community often point out (correctly) that the vast majority of...

New OU President Gallogly: We will not have waste on campus.

James Gallogly has been selected as the next president of the University of Oklahoma. Oklahoma...

The Higher Ed Defunding Thats Yet to Come?

Theres been much hand-wringing lately among some higher-education officials and journalists (to...

Bartlesville School Board Looks Out for Taxpayers

In June, the Bartlesville school board voted unanimously to outsource the schools janitorial...

Oklahomans Say Teachers Should Be Allowed to Vote on Unions

Getting public policy right in the area of education includes respecting teachers and freeing...

Nearly 4 in 10 Oklahoma Teachers Would Choose Private or Home Schooling for Their Own Children

When asked whats the best educational choice for their own children, one might expect near...

Oklahomans (still) Support Parental Choice in Education

An honest reading of the public-opinion survey data over the past couple of years shows that...

Other Constitution Columnists

Theodore King

The Federal Page for Summer 2019
Equality Act of 2019Elections have consequences. The midterms last fall brought Democrats into...

Tim Bakamjian

Hamilton Is Coming, But Im Not Going
Hamilton the smash-hit Broadway musical is coming to Oklahoma. A whopping 48 shows are scheduled...

Steve Byas

The Lesson of David Boren
I remember when David Boren first emerged on the political scene in Oklahoma, running a long-shot...

Linda Murphy

Oklahoma Citys LGBTQ+ Pride Alliance and K-12 Grade Students Curriculum
On June 19, the Oklahoma Gazette published their weekly edition with a beautiful rainbow on the...

John Michener

Governor Stitt, Repent With Us
Repentance: a complete change of direction that involves a conscious turning away from attitudes,...

David Deming

Why an OU Presidency Failed
David Boren was a hard act to follow. But James Galloglys appointment as President of the University...

In The News

Constitution Staff

Fiscal Year Gross Receipts to the State Treasury
Gross Receipts to the Treasury for both the month of June and Fiscal Year 2019 indicate ongoing...

Constitution Staff

EPIC Charter Schools Under Attack
This summer there was great attention focused on EPIC Charter Schools in Oklahoma. The mostly online...

Constitution Staff

Signature Gathering on Medicaid Initiative Petition Begins
On July 31, Oklahomans Decide Healthcare began gathering signatures on an initiative petition to...

Constitution Staff

Oklahoma Legislature Vote to Diminish Columbus
Senate Bill 111, passed by the Oklahoma Legislature and was signed by the governor, is a great...

Constitution Staff

Legislators Rated
The Oklahoma Constitution presents the 41st annual Oklahoma Conservative Index, rating our state...

Constitution Columnists

Theodore King

The Federal Page for Summer 2019
Equality Act of 2019Elections have consequences. The midterms last fall brought Democrats into...

Tim Bakamjian

Hamilton Is Coming, But Im Not Going
Hamilton the smash-hit Broadway musical is coming to Oklahoma. A whopping 48 shows are scheduled...

Steve Byas

The Lesson of David Boren
I remember when David Boren first emerged on the political scene in Oklahoma, running a long-shot...

© 2001 - 2009 The Oklahoma Constitution, all rights reserved.
Contact the Oklahoma Constitution by calling 405-366-1125 or emailing okconsti@aol.com
Content Management System (CMS) provided by WebTeks CMS.