Investing in Oklahoma higher education yields strong returns

By 2020, 67 percent of all jobs created in Oklahoma will require some college, a certificate or a college degree. Legislators would be wise to invest some of this year's growth revenue back into higher education so our economy can continue to thrive for years to come. [More...]

Report: Despite gains from teacher walkout, Oklahoma school funding is still way down

For the past five years Oklahoma has led the nation for the largest per-pupil cuts to education funding since the Great Recession, according to an annual report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP). This year's report, released today, finds that Oklahoma has finally moved out of the bottom spot in per pupil formula funding cuts thanks to last year’s teacher pay raise funded by the Legislature on the eve of the statewide teacher walkout. However, despite these gains, Oklahoma remains well below pre-Recession levels in per-pupil funding and still has cut more than any state other than Texas. [More...]

The School Counselor Corps would be a lifeline for students. Ask the Legislature to fund it

Oklahoma schools desperately need more school counselors. Oklahoma has 435 students for every counselor, nearly double the recommended ratio of 250 students per counselor. To help address this problem, the State Department of Education has asked the Legislature for $58 million dollars to fund a School Counselor Corps, which would allow districts to hire additional school counselors and licensed therapists. Both types of professionals are critical. Children in Oklahoma experience trauma at higher rates than their peers in most other states. This trauma can lead to academic struggles along with a host of negative mental and physical health outcomes. Providing students proper supports is the key to counteracting these realities.  [More...]

Increasing the scholarship tax credit hurts public schools and benefits affluent Oklahomans

Correction 4/1/19: This post has been updated to correct information about the income eligibility for scholarship recipients.  In 2011, the Legislature passed the Oklahoma Equal Opportunity Education Scholarship Act, which grants tax credits to individuals or corporations who make a… Read more [More...]

Support staff pay raise and restoring cuts is key to improving Oklahoma’s schools

[Image Source: U.S. Department of Education / Flickr] Oklahoma schools don't have enough support staff to meet needs, and their salaries are far too low averaging just $21,583 a year. While HB 1010xx gave support professionals a $1,250 pay raise, it was well short of the $5,000 they asked for. This session, education support professionals must be a bigger part of our conversations about how to better serve Oklahoma's schools. [More...]

2019 Priority: Increase PK-12 state aid funding to restore school staffing and programs

Download this fact sheet as a printable pdf here. Read about the rest of OK Policy’s 2019 Legislative Policy Priorities here. The revenue measures passed in April 2018 as HB1010xx were a historic win for educators, funding an average $6,100… Read more [More...]

2019 Priority: Restore higher education funding to ensure a well-educated workforce

Download this fact sheet as a printable pdf here. Read about the rest of OK Policy’s 2019 Legislative Policy Priorities here. Maintaining a robust system of higher education is vital to Oklahoma’s economic prosperity. Insufficient funding hampers Oklahoma’s ability to… Read more [More...]

Kicking the can down the road: How inadequate funding dismantles data-driven education reform

There is a saying that “what gets measured, gets done,” and in 1990, our state Legislature seemed to understand this adage. That year, they passed HB 1017, which dedicated $560 million dollars over five years to implement historic education reforms including class size reduction, curriculum standards, testing, and early childhood programs. Since that time, state funding gains have severely eroded, and Oklahoma has not been able to maintain many aspects of HB 1017 including class size limits. [More...]

Fine arts education matters: how shrinking budgets deepen inequalities

Oklahomans know every student needs access to quality public education.  Unfortunately, our state has struggled to uphold this commitment.  While all areas of public education have suffered from slashed education funding over the past decade, budget cuts have hit fine… Read more [More...]

Beyond Teacher Pay: Class size matters

Last April, the Oklahoma Legislature passed HB1010xx and other revenue measures, which restored $480 million dollars of education funding.  The majority of  the new revenue is being used to fund a long-awaited pay raise for teachers.  HB1010xx also increased funding… Read more [More...]