POSTED ON SEPTEMBER 29, 2010:
Love Letters/Hate Mail
Out of the Question
I am writing in response to a letter written by Susannah Henson in the Sept. 16-22 issue. I agree with her if we lived in a perfect world but since we do not I cannot agree. Oklahoma does a pretty good job with what we have. Is there room for improvement -- Yes. Is State Question 744 the answer -- NO!
If we pass State Question 744 and the advertising on television is correct and $1,600 per student would be added to the spending of the state this would impose an additional tax burden per household of about $757. This calculation was based upon the latest census data that shows Oklahoma having 1,650,455 households with 15.7 percent at or below the poverty level and would not pay tax. I doubt very many people in Oklahoma want to give the state an additional $757 to give to teachers with no guarantee that the kids will be smarter in the end.
According to the website Datamasher.org, Oklahoma has an average SAT score of 1149 with an average spending of $6,610 per student. Of the five states surrounding Oklahoma only Missouri and Kansas have higher average scores and they spend $1,200 to $1,300 per student more and only get a 24 or 39 point increase for their money. The State of Oklahoma beats Texas by 150 points and Texas spends $636 per student more. Just spending more per student does not insure the students will do better. The State of Utah (lowest per student spending in country) spends $1,394 per student less than Oklahoma and their average score is only 35 points less than ours. The District of Columbia has the highest spending per student ($13,348) and their average score is 209 points lower than Oklahoma.
Since the people behind State Question 744 do not try to show a source of the increased money, one has to assume one of two things: a tax increase or shift money from another program to education. Using data from the Oklahoma Policy Institute, the average student population for Oklahoma this physical is expected to be 658,242 with an average of $7,638 per student being spent. With the $1,600 per student increase, we would need an additional $1,053,187,200.
Oklahoma's budget for FY 2011 for a few of the departments are:
Secondary Education: $5,057,273,286
Higher Education: $1,003,000,000
Health Care Authority: $963,000,000
Dept. of Corrections: $462,000,000
Ms. Henson please make the choice how the addition billion dollars will be funded. I guess we could (tongue in cheek) close all the institutions of higher learning (colleges and universities) and DHS and we would almost have the money to fund this increase. I think you see that this increase is ridiculous.
Spending more per student does will not make our education system better. We need to spend what money we spend smarter. The state needs to investigate creating fewer school districts which would release money to be spent in the classroom.
(In response to "Growing Gardens" in the Sept. 23-29 issue of Urban Tulsa Weekly.)
This is a wonderful story...happy to see the community working together. A report oversight is lack of inclusion of another non-profit, Tulsa Community Garden Association, who loans their tilling equipment, purchased with grant dollars, to folks starting-up the gardens. TCGA volunteers are responsible for starting a garden at Sam Houston Elementary, and they financially supported repairs of plumbing and electrical at the McClain High School greenhouse. Every organization and person who helps - collaboration - is what sustains any project for the long haul. Love this story.
(In response to "When the Moon Hits Your Eye" in the Sept. 16-22 issue of Urban Tulsa Weekly.)
Which "upholding quality American principles" does establishing plants in China fall under? Just another CEO who puts profits ahead of patriotism and justifies it by claiming America is becomming more anti business. America isnt anti business we just take into consideration social costs (safe workplace standards and a living wage) and enviornmental costs (pollution standards) which countries like China pay lip service but ignore in practice.
The time has come to take these CEO's to task with home country trade rules that say if you want to sell your product here make it here. BAMA pies from China huh? Well that is a far cry from the days of the walk up window where we used to buy the pies that didnt make it off the assembly line intact.
Typical business model championed by the Great disappointment generation thinkers that sells this country out on a daily basis by offshoring jobs while still expecting to sell their products value added tax free in the largest consumer market in the world. How very sad.
Big Brown Blob
I picked up a copy of the UTW 'Annual Manual 2010' today. At first glance I thought the drawn map looked pretty cool. At a closer look I was appalled ... really disappointed and can't stop shaking my head. What on earth was the artist thinking, why on earth did the editor not notice and disapprove!?? North Tulsa in a Dark ugly Brown cloud in the middle of green grass, fresh looking buildings, clean streets. Okay, this may be a realistic view of our city's most challenged area. But it should NOT have looked this way unless there was a story in the manual on the challenges of North Tulsa's reputation and a community effort to elevate this.
Stunning, as ignorant I find you.
[Editor's Note: Brown splotch? What brown splotch? You mean the one that our elected officials have been able to ignore for the past 50 years and more? Come on! Would one of our readers please explain to CJ why we drew this beautiful piece of art the way we did? (with fond regards to The New Yorker, for those who need to read more widely). And, there is only one thing the Editor noticed was "missing," since we are on the subject. If some astute thinker knows what it might be, speak up and win a prize.]
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