OCPA knows no shame. For this hit-piece, they hired an out of state writer (Greg Forster, who’s also written attack opinion pieces on us on OCPA’s site) to attack the pre-walkout, high teacher wages!

With stunning insight like, “Public school teachers are paid more than other teachers…” this drivel was supposed to encourage our Oklahoma legislators to cut off future salary increases.

While teachers didn’t need a raise according to this logic, the ruling-class OCPA “think tank” took a SIX-FIGURE taxpayer-funded handout from Uncle Sam in 2020!

Seems like they don’t practice what they preach?

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In August of 2018, OCPA President, Jonathan Small, suggested that if we wanted to increase teacher pay, simply eliminating superintendents would open up several teaching spots.

One wonders if the Anti-Public School OCPA had followed its own advice in the spring of 2020 – you know trimming out a few six-figure salaried “think tank” executives – they wouldn’t have needed to take a SIX-FIGURE government bailout?

Rules for thee, but not for me!

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Today’s anti-public school OCPA disaster comes from David Bond, who led the fight against SQ 779 which would have infused public schools with funding for a 1 cent sales-tax.

In order to distort the public’s perception (a common tactic of “think tanks”) word salads of a variety of completely implausible alternatives were offered via the OCPA’s work.

As one debunker wrote, “Without a doubt my favorite demonstration of the OCPA’s shameless incompetence was the bold, unsupported statement by Dave Bond on statewide television (KOTV’s Educate Oklahoma in 2016) that a new law affecting school employee health insurance would free up $100 million for teacher pay raises.  I show why that claim, like other silly claims he made, was empty puffery … (MORE)”

How is it that the OCPA execs making 4x what a teacher makes deserved taxpayer funds but the teachers did not? For reference: the OCPA took a SIX-FIGURE government handout in 2020 and yet continually advocates against public schools receiving funding.

So many questions.

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Anti-public ed superstar, Trent England, of the “think tank” OCPA wrote that when schools need funding for burgeoning class sizes, fixing up their buildings, or books – they really didn’t need it – just magically “reallocate” what they had.

Always one to pull out a unicorn, this article talked about ONE school where they seemed to have some funding that could have been reallocated. At the same time school budgets were crashing around the state due to increasing student populations and a decade of CUTS to ed funding.

Curious how taxpayer funded public schools that serve all 77 counties, over 700,000 children in Oklahoma need to “reallocate” but when faced with a similar budget crunch the OCPA did not reallocate, but rather begged the US Government for a tax-payer funded SIX FIGURE bailout.

Perhaps it’s time for the anti-public school privatizers to “find something new”?

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Trent England, EVP at OCPA wrote back in December 2018 – that funding simply wasn’t what public schools needed to solve their problems. The magic bullet? “Moving school board elections to November.”

We cannot make this stuff up. The truth is far better than any fiction.

One wonders if moving elections or perhaps changing the color of the carpet might have helped OCPA not need their 2020 SIX-FIGURE corporate welfare package?

We stand by our conviction – legislators should listen to educators about public school needs – not these charlatans.

The Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs received a SIX-FIGURE taxpayer-funded handout and yet argues on their website that “free” federal money is immoral. Perhaps the immorality is working against the 700,000 kids in Oklahoma’s public schools for the last three decades – leading legislators to defund and harm our public school infrastructure?

Question: When is a voucher not a voucher?

Answer: When a legislator wants to perform slight of hand!

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Make no mistake, SB407 currently under consideration by the Oklahoma legislature is a voucher bill. There is not a question in anyone’s mind. Not those that favor traditional vouchers nor those opposed to vouchers, like Pastors for Oklahoma Kids (and the vast majority of Oklahomans).

  • Economist Milton Friedman, known widely as the ‘father of vouchers’, once said, “…an inferior tax credit program seems the only political option. Tax credits are an indirect, and I believe less efficient, way to do what vouchers do more directly.” (May 17, 2005)

  • Robert VerBruggen, a voucher proponent and deputy managing editor of the conservative National Review wrote, “To those of us who think legislators shouldn’t circumvent the democratic process and duck court scrutiny, however, the decision is bad news. Tax-credit voucher programs are a shell game that allows people to funnel their tax dollars to a controversial cause, all while legislators claim that those dollars aren’t really tax dollars at all, but “donations.” Everyone, including supporters of normal school vouchers — in which the government funds the vouchers directly — should oppose these efforts to pull the wool over voters’ eyes.” (National Review, April 11, 2011)

  • Oklahoma Parent Advocate, Erin Brewer wrote, “It seems that these Legislators feel compelled to support both public and private schools at the State level. Private schools operate of their own volition. They should remain autonomous entities free from State interference…Regardless, shouldn’t the State seek to make its public schools the very best by giving them its sole focus and support?” (Don’t Be Fooled by Tax Credit Semantics)

The end result of tax credit scholarships is the same as a voucher. Albeit in a more deceptive manner.

We shouldn’t be surprised. This is the same kind of game Oklahoma legislators played in 2017 with SB845 (‘If it looks like a duck’).

In that case our Oklahoma legislators passed an unconstituional tax by masking it as a “fee”. The Oklahoma Supreme Court agreed with everyone with common sense. If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck.

Similarly, Scholarship Tax Credits are functionally the same as vouchers. The reason for the refusal to use the language of “Vouchers”? Likely because Oklahomans have opposed them strongly – every single time they are introduced.

In fact, when brought to a vote of the people – NO state has ever approved vouchers. It can only be shoved through by legislative malfeasance, games, and slight of hand.

And WHY? Why does all this matter? Because vouchers are NO good for 700,000 kids in public schools in Oklahoma. They end up hurting public education and are an attack on the ideals and purpose of public education as set forth in our State Constitution.