The Oklahoman’s criticism of school funding is unfair
School finance is complicated enough without The Oklahoman muddying the waters in an attempt to shift much of the blame for chronic underfunding of schools to the school systems themselves.
That criticism of traditional public schools and other school reformers is like comparing the per-patient costs of a clinic serving young, mostly healthy drop-ins with the costs of an emergency room.
Two points jump out from the newspaper’s recent editorials:
First, The Oklahoman blames educators — who have their hands full keeping their underfinanced schools open — for not fixing the historic problems that plague Oklahoma’s budgeting and taxation systems. Presumably, in their spare time, education leaders should take charge of the state’s problems with auditing its property taxes. To do that, I guess, educators should wave a magic wand and reform tax-incentive finance districts so that money diverted to Oklahoma City’s downtown could be redirected back to the classroom. (And if educators would also solve the state’s problem with earthquakes, we’d be respected more, and our political stock would rise.)
Second, none of the charges cited by The Oklahoman have been directed toward the Oklahoma City Public School System. For instance, the newspaper’s editorials have long-criticized supposedly excessive spending on overhead. In a future post, I hope to address the reasons why the federal government — not the local schools — deserves the blame for The Oklahoman's criticism of school funding is unfair - NonDoc: