For years now, how we fund our schools has been the number one controversy in Oklahoma politics. Education funding has been the subject of numerous bills and proposals, state, national, and international media coverage, and the largest Capitol rally in state history. The symptoms of a crisis in education are all around us: dozens of districts going to 4-day school weeks; a skyrocketing number of teacher jobs being filled by emergency-certified teachers, because there was no applicant with a required teaching license; and hundreds of Oklahoma’s best teachers moving out of the state or quitting the profession so they can earn a living wage.
Despite this evidence, some lawmakers continue to resist admitting that Oklahoma needs to increase revenues for education — especially if it means raising taxes. Lawmakers and anti-tax interest groups have felt the pressure from the large numbers of Oklahomans upset about what’s happening in public schools, so they put a lot of energy into coming up with excuses for why more revenues are not the answer. They have manipulated data and cherry-picked numbers to claim that lack of funding isn’t the problem. Here are two big myths that have distorted Oklahoma’s education funding debate:
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