We are going to bring up a subject that is close to every parent and grandparent in the state these days. That's educating of our children and grandchildren. We bring this up because the citizens of Oklahoma are facing an assault on our wallets on two fronts this year. Both will be decided in the November election. The first is the penny sales tax increase for education that will be a state question on the ballot. It is being challenged at the Supreme Court however if it passes it will make Oklahoma the highest taxed state in the nation. That tax will eliminate the potential for job growth in Oklahoma.
The second is the attempt to form an education caucus in the legislature by electing current or former teachers who feel they are being short changed by the education dollars in the state. Sadly to a point we must agree with them. Over the last two decades the growth of the administrative staff of most school districts in the state has grown at the rate of four times the rate of the number of students while the growth of the teachers has remained steady or in some districts actually declined.
What brought our attention to this story was this article Oklahoma teachers fight education cuts by winning elections - The Washington Post. This article concentrates on one candidate for office, Mickey Dollens. Right off the bat we noticed several errors in this report. It indicated that we ranked 48th in teachers' pay and 49th in spending per student. These are numbers cranked out by the propaganda machine known as the lame stream media and the National Education Association. They are in it for the money. Our own study which included every state that shared a common border with the State of Oklahoma indicated that we were only a little better. It indicated that for the seven state areas we were 4th in teachers' pay and 4th in per student spending. We still believe that the legislature is out of touch with the citizens and has their priorities wrong.
The next article of interest we found was this Could Oklahoma be on the verge of a teacher takeover? | Oklahoma City - OKC - KOCO.com. This is a legitimate question. It is painfully obvious that the demonstration and protest conducted by teachers and students alike have fallen on deaf ears. The legislators are more interested in maintaining their sources of political contributions than they are about the education of our children.
The next article of interest we found was this Primary Election Whittles Down 'Teacher Caucus' | Oklahoma Watch. There were at least forty individuals running for office that had a background in education. The primary election cut that number down to twenty. Five of those candidates must win a runoff election to continue on to the general election in November. Still a fifteen member education caucus would be formidable.
The next article of interest we found was this Oklahoma: Teachers Fight Back! 40 Run for Office! | Diane Ravitch's blog. This is a blog post by the ultra-liberal National Public Radio group. This would indicate that there are outside forces at work behind the election of some of these teachers. We are still investigating that aspect.
The next article we found was this Oklahoma City teacher running for office laid off by school district | KFOR.com. We understand that the last to hire is the first to be fired when there is a financial hard times, we truly hope that the Oklahoma City Public Schools didn't use Mr. Dollens running for office as an excuse to fire him. At the same time it was totally inappropriate for Mr. Dollens to use his personal problems as a teaching aide in the classroom. This was his first year there. He should have familiarized himself with all the rules not just the ones he liked.
We next went to this site to obtain the election results State Election Results, Statewide Primary Election, June 28, 2016. He won the nomination for the Democratic Party handily. This is where the questions arise.
We next went to the Oklahoma Ethics Commission to see what they had available on his campaign finance reports. We found that he filed his original Statement of Organization on June 3, 2015. We have no problem with that. He did modify it on three different occasions.
We next looked at his first campaign finance report which covered the period of second quarter of 2015. Here we found donations made to his campaign made in April of 2015. This was prior to his filing a Statement of Organization and are therefore illegal contributions. This is a question for the Oklahoma State Ethics Commission to investigate and take appropriate action on.
In closing we can say that the teachers and parents have a legitimate point. They also fail to hold their legislators feet to the fire by not asking the serious questions that need to be asked. Our citizens don't even bother to research the candidates to see where they get their money from. They see a name on a ballot that they recognize and vote for them. That is just plain idiotic. Most of our current legislators receive a bulk of their campaign finances from the Oklahoma State Chamber of Commerce and those that support the Chamber. That is why they raise your taxes instead of cutting the tax handouts that they aren't even allowed to give anyway. Wake up people and open your eyes. Learn about the people that are running for office in your District.