Another year, another reason not to increase funding for education in Oklahoma. I am so frustrated. What needs to happen for our elected representatives to figure out how important an educated society is? And there are more looming shortfalls in revenue – monies that schools budgeted to spend which will no longer be available.
I also don’t think it is right that teachers are getting the bulk of the focus – there are so many other critical items that are in deep trouble. Education shouldn’t benefit at the expense of our rural health care or support for our law enforcement officers. And there is the issue of higher education – when the state quits funding our public universities, they become private. The result would be sky-high tuition for students. Is this something we want to do?
We have revenue issues in Oklahoma. I have no idea how revenue and tax systems or any of that is structured. I do know that our sources of income are not very diversified. Every time the price of oil drops we have issues. One of the current plans out there is to raise the tax on cigarettes. I’m curious – this would be used as a method to help people stop smoking, right? So then what? Is there something else out there that will be more consistent over time?
I am so darn angry – I want to spew obscenities and vitriol for the next three paragraphs…I won’t.
A Crazy Idea
I always offer up an idea, something practical, a place to start. Since any more cuts that will be happening from here on will impact students in the classroom, I have an idea that will minimize that. So here it is: eliminate athletics, band, vocal, and drama and any other after school activity.
Parents would have a fit. Communities would be upset. Elected leaders would have their feet held to the fire. Eliminate these important after school activities; communities would be so upset that conversations would start happening. Our legislators would have to listen at that point. Just imagine an empty football field on Friday night, or no state finals in the “Big House” or quiet auditoriums.
Suddenly – those elected folks may not feel so secure in their status…
NOBODY WANTS THIS!
Don’t misread this – I love the arts, my son plays the bassoon in his school – he is not bad. My daughter is in vocal at hers – she sings all the time. I loved seeing Edmond Memorial’s Follies each spring. One of my current favorite things to do is work the home football games. I spent a lot of time on the soccer sideline. All of these things are so critical to having students who are well rounded and able to follow their passions.
But holy smokes. We need our teachers in the classroom too. And our teachers need good leaders. These things don’t happen by magic.
We need to ask ourselves, as a state of citizens who established the “Oklahoma Standard,” are we fine with what we are doing? Are we moving our state in a direction where we can tell our grandchildren “We made a positive difference for our communities”?
I’m not so sure…