We would like to set the record straight on a few issues raised by Americans for Prosperity’s Robert Aery, which echo earlier statements by the editorial board of The Daily
The state now faces a $1.3 billion budget shortfall, largely due to falling tax revenues from lower oil prices.
FALSE. The budget shortfall is largely due to legislative mismanagement of our state’s budget over the the past decade. Lower oil prices simply uncovered the glaring ineptitude.
Lawmakers have been presented a false choice that is illogical and unnecessary — either provide nearly boundless resources to public schools or be branded as an opponent of public education.
FALSE. Education leaders aren’t asking for “boundless” resources (For the record, that’s a strawman logical fallacy). We’d just like to have the resources to do our jobs the best way we know how, and the best way for the students. Seriously. Do you see companies like Apple or Google cutting funding to their departments and then expecting everyone to work miracles?!
For the record, if you’re OK with all the budget cuts schools must make this year as a result of the legislative revenue failure, then you are an opponent of public education. If you’re branded, you’ve done it to yourself.
Education is vital to society; however, there is no evidence that increased funding alone creates better student outcomes. There are, in fact, alternatives: empowering families with school choice and ensuring more money goes directly to teachers and classrooms, instead of to administrative costs.
FALSE. Yes, paying your bills will keep the electricity on. That said, increased funding DOES create better student outcomes. Of course, the outcomes we’re talking about aren’t necessarily measurable by the Big Standardized Test. Students are more than just data points, and often our investment in them doesn’t materialize for decades.
“Empowering” families with vouchers to take public school dollars and choose schools that might not choose them back (assuming they can even apply in the first place), causing them to be stuck in underfunded public schools; and blaming our relatively low administrative costs for classrooms being bled dry definitely does NOT improve student outcomes. Anyone want red herring for dinner? Cookout at The Oklahoman!
Misleading choices in public discourse often distort informed decision-making at the expense of taxpayers. Lawmakers should reject these big-government delusions and embrace economic freedom and limited government.
FALSE. While we agree wholeheartedly with the first sentence, and spent a moment marveling at the irony of The Oklahoman Editor Staff writing that sentence, said publication lost us with the second statement. The purpose of government is to serve as a check, a balance, to ensure that private enterprises don’t run over individuals, and to provide services to society at large. Economic freedom isn’t curtailed by regulation any more than personal freedom is restricted by the Ten Commandments.
Anyone want some tea with that red herring?
Point of View: The false choices of big government
It is no secret that state spending in America is dominated by education and health care. On average, states spend more than half their yearly budgets on these areas. Combined education spending averages 38 percent of state budgets. Medicaid and health programs average 16 percent. Oklahoma is a perfect example of how these issues influence public discourse to maintain their dominion over spending.
NOTE: We find it very interesting that when school budgets are being slashed, one of the first places self-proclaimed conservatives criticize is administrative spending. However, when a major employer in town lays off 1,000 employees, nobody bats an eye at the $43 million in cash, equity and benefits the top six executives bring home.