We couldn’t believe our ears when Speaker Jeff Hickman told us a few days ago that state funding of public education cuts never existed, and that funding was up since 2007. Rick Cobb of OkEducationTruths does an excellent job of explaining why Hickman’s numbers don’t add up.
Additionally, earlier reports show a different story than what the Speaker is telling:
- A report released in December 2015 shows that Oklahoma lead the nation in cuts to education — and that was before the Revenue Failure of 2016.
- Another report released in October 2014 shows that Oklahoma’s public education funding remains below pre-recession 2008 levels.
- The Oklahoma Policy Institute reported in 2013 that even back then Oklahoma had the deepest education funding cuts in the nation.
- An English Professor at the University of Central Oklahoma wonders at what price do we spend more money housing prisoners than educating students.
All that said, these squabbles over numbers and whether or not funding has been increased belie the true problem: An attitude by some of our leaders that “liberal” unions, “bad” teachers, and the “education establishment” are to blame for schools not adequately serving their students, not a failure to fund our existing systems.
Below are some articles that can debunk such thinking.
- This NPR article shows the differences between schools that have a lot of money because of their locations, and ones that don’t — for the same reasons. At the bottom of the article, you can type in your school district, or hover over various school districts in our state and beyond to see how much they spend per student. If you’ll notice, Oklahoma districts such as Sweetwater and Yarbrough both spent more than $20,000 per student (The national average is $11,841; the state average is $8,767.) and both received As on their report cards.
- A recent study shows that, in education, throwing money at the problem had a considerable impact on the achievement gap between high- and low-income school districts.
- A Rutgers professor writes that “sustained improvements to the level and distribution of funding across local public school districts can lead to improvements in the level and distribution of student outcomes.”
- Stanford education Professor Linda Darling-Hammond states in The New York Times that society benefits when we spend more on education.
- Education Week reports that school spending increases have been linked to better outcomes for poor students.
- Alternet points out that people really do want more money spent on public education, but our reformsters are bent on doing anything but.
- Education Week points out that you can’t talk accountability seriously until you have equitable spending.
- The Washington Post reports that, in spite of a Stanford economist’s critical research in 1986, more recent research shows that when schools have more money, they’re able to give their students a better education.
- Another article by The Washington Post reports that inadequate and inequitable funding creates a huge obstacle for a growing number of poor children as they try to overcome their circumstances. Also, inequitable funding is the “civil rights issue of our time,” according to the article, not giving kids tax-payer dollars to attend private school at the expense of the kids who can’t.
- This report on a Colorado inequitable funding lawsuit found that school claiming to do more with less actually did more with… more.
- A report by NPR asks if there is a better way to pay for our schools.
If you know of more articles that show why money does matter to public schools, please post them in the comments.