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...]

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...]

2019 Legislative Policy Priorities: Solutions for Oklahoma’s toughest challenges

We are offering proven solutions to poverty and the lack of opportunity that holds Oklahoma back from becoming a truly prosperous state. With this agenda and with all of you, we may finally fulfill the Oklahoma Standard and rebuild an economy and society that works for all. [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...]

Funding postsecondary education for incarcerated Oklahomans could pay off for public safety and the budget

Oklahoma has made encouraging progress on justice reform in recent years. Reforms passed in 2016 and 2018 will slow prison population growth and spur investments in rehabilitation. While these are important steps in the right direction, criminal justice reform should… Read more [More...]