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Today In The News
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School Choice Measures Are Back, and in a Big Way: One of the most hotly debated education issues — school choice — is again on the agenda of the state Legislature. Three, nearly identical bills filed Thursday by Sen. Kyle Loveless, R-Oklahoma City, seek to create an education savings account system; Loveless is calling each bill the “Oklahoma Parental Empowerment Act of 2017.” Unlike traditional vouchers, which can only be applied to tuition, an education savings account allows families to choose from a list of qualifying expenses beyond tuition to include textbooks, tutoring, online courses and extracurricular activities [Oklahoma Watch].
Student enrollment at public schools in Oklahoma increases in 2016: The number of students enrolled in Oklahoma public schools rose in 2016, increasing by more than 1,000 from the previous school year. According to the Oklahoma State Department of Education, 693,710 students were enrolled in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade at the start of the school year, an increase of 1,040 over the 2015 total of 692,670 and 27,560 more than in 2011 [KJRH]. White students are now a minority in Oklahoma public schools [NewsOK]. However you count it, Oklahoma’s per pupil education funding is way down [OK Policy].
Senator David Holt files bills to fund $10,000 teacher pay raise: Senator David Holt (R) District 30 said he’s heard all the excuses. “People saying, well, how are we going to do it? I just don’t see how we can get it done. You know, it’s a tough budget year,” Holt said. But, he said the 12 bills he just filed prove getting teachers a pay raise can be done. “What I came forward with today was a billion dollars worth of revenue options,” Holt said [KFOR].
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