Increased federal funding gives child subsidy a much-needed boost

Parents who seek child care for infants and toddlers face a common conundrum. Without child care parents cannot work, yet many working families cannot afford the costly child care they need to maintain employment. This is why helping families who earn low-incomes get access to quality child care is so important. [More...]

Missed opportunities to address disparities in student discipline

Students with disabilities in Oklahoma public schools have experienced disproportionately high rates of exclusionary discipline, such as corporal punishment and suspension, compared to students without disabilities. [More...]

Changes to scholarship tax credit bill would divert even more dollars from public education

While intended to address concerns with the original version, the latest changes to the scholarship tax credit legislation are even more harmful. In addition to diverting more tax dollars away from public services, the revisions also dilute the fiscal impact of donations to public school foundations and create unfair advantages for some nonprofits. [More...]

Virtual charter schools are a cause for concern. These bills could help.

Skyrocketing student growth over the past seven years means that virtual charter schools receive a growing share of state funding, and concerns center around how these public dollars are used and their impact on student outcomes.  [More...]

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...]

SB 11: Delaying Pre-K would be a step back for Oklahoma’s children

[Image Source: U.S. Department of Education / Flickr] SB 11 would move cutoff dates for children entering pre-K from September 1 to July 1. Oklahoma would be the only state to have a cutoff before July 31st. The change would delay pre-K eligibility by a year for children who are two months shy of the new cutoff date. SB 11 would particularly hurt low-income families and children of color who benefit most from pre-K programs. [More...]