The Not-So-Wild West in Oklahoma

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(Guest post by Greg Forster)

While we’re on the subject of the Arizonan wild west, here’s my latest for OCPA’s Perspective on some very non-wild-west Oklahoma school overregulation:

The more prominent strategy, the one that got the most attention and funding, was toward greater centralized control. If schools are given more inputs and they fail to use them to produce better outcomes, then the schools are clearly working to enrich themselves. They can’t be trusted to carry the ball for fixing education.

Who could be trusted? Why, the reformers, of course.

Some interesting information from a state think tank:

The 1889 Institute’s database of public school regulations is the cumulative legacy of these earlier forces and the dramatic increase of regulations in the last generation. It runs to 610 entries. Schools are required to track every individual student’s progress in financial literacy education and every individual teacher’s professional development “points,” spend at least a certain minimum amount on their libraries, and meet test score targets or be subject to sanctions. They must also master obscure laws governing everything from inter-district transfers to the nutritional value of diet soda…

Very few of the regulations in the 1889 Institute’s database deal with issues that really need to be handled at the district level, never mind the state. I honestly think that the nutritional value of diet soda might not even need to be managed by schools at all. But if it does, why not let the principal hire lunchroom staff who are up to the job?

If you want to let me know what you think, the comment section below is not overregulated!

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