Conservative Index Add

Friday, February 15th, 2019Last Update: Thursday, January 31st, 2019 08:02:19 PM

Nearly 4 in 10 Oklahoma Teachers Would Choose Private or Home Schooling for Their Own Children

By: Brandon Dutcher

When asked what’s the best educational choice for their own children, one might expect near unanimity from Oklahoma public school teachers. Teachers might favor their own schools not just for reasons of loyalty to one’s employer (Thunder employees don’t cheer for the Warriors), but because they have firsthand knowledge of school quality and safety.

So it’s surprising – and perhaps somewhat telling – that nearly 4 in 10 teachers would choose a private school or homeschooling for their own children, according to a recent SoonerPoll survey. (The survey of Oklahoma teachers, conducted from September 29 to October 10, has a margin of error of +/- 4.56 percent.)

When Oklahoma lawmakers convene for the 2017 legislative session, they should do what eight other states have done: enact an individual tax credit or deduction for approved educational expenses (including private school tuition and homeschooling). This would empower teachers – and indeed all Oklahoma parents – to make whatever choice they think is best for their own children.

Passing educational choice legislation is never easy – the battles to secure Oklahoma’s special-needs voucher law in 2010 and tax-credit scholarship law in 2011 were intense – but reformers appear to have some wind at their back.

As the American Federation for Children (AFC) noted in a press release on election night, “the momentum for giving parents robust school-choice options continued to grow in Oklahoma today” with the election and re-election of several school-choice supporters to the Oklahoma Legislature. Several candidates backed by AFC even won head-to-head matchups with members of the public-education community who were staunchly opposed to parental choice. Among those victors: state Rep. Elise Hall (R-Oklahoma City), state Sen. Dan Newberry (R-Tulsa), new state Sen. Joe Newhouse (R-Tulsa), new state Sen. Julie Daniels (R-Bartlesville), state Sen. Rob Standridge (R-Norman), and state Sen. Kyle Loveless (R-Oklahoma City).

AFC’s in-state committee, the Oklahoma Federation for Children Action Fund, spent more than $210,000 in this year's legislative races. This is sometimes referred to as “dark money,” an ominous-sounding phrase used (usually by people who disagree with the donors’ electoral preferences) to describe healthy and important First Amendment activities.

The phrase “dark money” is especially beloved of liberal journalists and members of Oklahoma's public education community, though I suspect enthusiasm for its usage has dampened of late. You may have seen in the news that several friends of education’s failed status quo – state Superintendent Joy Hofmeister, GOP campaign consultant Fount Holland, and a pair of former teacher-union and administrator-group officials – have been charged with felony counts for inappropriate use of so-called dark money (in contrast to AFC, which played by the rules).

Rather than continuing to penalize parents financially for raising their children in accordance with their consciences, it’s time for Oklahoma policymakers to enact and expand policies – vouchers, tax credits, ESAs, and more – which secure parental rights.

As Oklahoma's GOP-controlled government considers education funding and teacher pay raises in 2017, let’s hope they insist that the price for more public-school funding is increased parental choice.

Other Stories From Winter 2017 Issue

The Federal Page for Winter 2017

Theodore King
Buchanan's TriumphOn December 5, 1980, National Review held its 25th anniversary dinner a...

Civil Asset Forfeiture and Oklahoma's State Constitution

Steve Byas
It is remarkable how when one challenges the practice of government agents taking private property,...

U.S. Department of Education - Its Time to Kill it

Linda Murphy
If we have ever had the opportunity to kill the U.S. Department of Education the time is now. We...

No to Gas Tax Increase

Jason Murphey
You may have recently seen news stories describing the impending introduction of a gas tax increase....

Roe v. Wade: Comply or Defy?

John Michener
January 22 marked forty-four years since the Supreme Court of the United States (the Court)...

Hate Speech Hysteria at the University of Oklahoma

David Deming
In March of 2015, people across the US were shocked to see a video showing two members of the...

The Prudent Fix for Oklahomas Long Term Budget Problems!

Charlie Meadows
Here we go again, another year of expected budget short falls, caused mainly by the downturn in...

Nearly 4 in 10 Oklahoma Teachers Would Choose Private or Home Schooling for Their Own Children

Brandon Dutcher
When asked whats the best educational choice for their own children, one might expect near...

The Curious Case of Scott Pruitt

Andrew K. Boyle
Its always fun to revisit stories from the recent past. Part of the responsibilities incumbent on...

Tidbits for Winter 2017

Constitution Staff
Oklahoma Voter RegistrationOfficial voter registration statistics released in January showed th...

Letter to the Editor for Winter 2017

Constitution Staff
A Splash of HopeNow that the final chapter in the quest for a new President of the USA has been ...

Book Review: The Oklahomans

Steve Byas
The Oklahomans: The Story of Oklahoma and Its PeopleVolume I: Ancient-Statehoodby John J. Dw...

Legislature Completes Bill Filing

Constitution Staff
At the conclusion of January 19th bill-filing deadline the last day for state legislators to...

Oklahoma Receives REAL ID Extension

Constitution Staff
Governor Mary Fallin along with legislative leaders announced on January 3 that Oklahoma has...

Special Election for State House District 28

Constitution Staff
State Rep. Tom Newell (R-Seminole) announced his resignation from the Oklahoma House of...

In The News

Constitution Staff

Voters Reject Four of Five State Questions
Six statewide ballot measures were certified for the 2018 elections in Oklahoma. One measure, the...

Constitution Staff

All Judges Survive Retention Ballot
On November 6, Oklahoma voters retained four Supreme Court justices, three Court of Criminal Appeals...

Constitution Staff

Democrats Flip Oklahoma Congressional Seat
The big news coming out of the Oklahoma congressional elections was the flipping of the Fifth...

Constitution Staff

Republicans Sweep Statewide Secondary Offices
In addition to the governors office, a host of secondary statewide offices, and one seat for the...

Constitution Staff

Governor Kevin Stitt
On January 14, J. Kevin Stitt was inaugurated as the 28th governor of the State of Oklahoma. He...

Constitution Columnists

David Deming

A Tale of Two Professors
In the Fall 2018 issue of the Oklahoma Constitution, I related the persecution of OU law professor...

Jason Murphey

Stopping the Revolving Door
It was quite the surreal moment in the Oklahoma House of Representatives! As the 2018 legislative...

Julie Wilkinson

How I Got In. How I Left.
Back in 1984, left a dysfunctional relationship with my boyfriend in Florida, and decided to move...

© 2001 - 2009 The Oklahoma Constitution, all rights reserved.
Contact the Oklahoma Constitution by calling 405-366-1125 or emailing
Content Management System (CMS) provided by WebTeks CMS.