How Many Employees Does a DOE Need?

(Guest post by Greg Forster)

My latest for OCPA asks why Oklahoma needs one state DOE employee for every four schools:

What do Oklahoma schools get in exchange for all this? Not funding. The state legislature appropriates funds for public schools according to formulas written into the law. Indeed, state funding for education is one of the very few places left in American governance where legislatures still make their own decisions instead of delegating all the hard choices to the administrative state. Oklahoma could fund its public schools with no more than a handful of state employees involved, to gather data and program the check-writing machines.

And before you ask, no, they didn’t make life easier for schools during Coronavirus. They made it harder.

My favorite bit:

It’s not 100% clear to me that schools ought to expend any portion of their scarce labor and budget bandwidth on the vital task of monitoring how many calories are in the diet soda their students drink. But it is clear to me that if there is any question—any question whatsoever—that ought to be settled at the local level in our constitutional order, this is it. If states can control this, we should give up on pretending we still have a constitutional division of powers; it’s diet soda all the way down.

Let me know what you think!

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