Our Educational System Must Be Reformed
The government’s solution in the past has been to throw more money into education. But that hasn’t equated to any improvement in graduation rates or the ability of our kids to be able to read & write.
Senate Pro Tem Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City, has called on House Speaker Charles McCall to end the political games and rhetoric surrounding the Senate and House education plans. McCall is also the point person behind the harassment and attempt to remove OK Superintendent Ryan Walters. His motives are questionable even as he has worked to block the Senate’s plan for helping our teachers.
McCall seems to be working to block the best plan for raises for teachers as well. Amendments and passage of HB 1935 and HB 2775 would include:
- Every teacher in Oklahoma would receive a raise of $3,000 (for 0-4 years of service), $4,000 (for 5-9 years of service), $5,000 (for 10-14 years of service) and $6,000 (for 15+ years of service).
- Merit pay for teachers who deserve to be rewarded by high classroom performance.
- Raises for educators with Office of Juvenile Affairs, the Department of Corrections and Career Tech.
- $2,500 pay raise for classroom teachers only.
- Leaves out pay raises for certified personnel.
- Does not include mental health counselors, reading coaches and specialists, or other instructional support staff necessary for effective classroom learning.
Additional Education Measures that Came out of the Senate include:
- Over $700 million for Education
Senate amendments to House Bill 1935 will give parents additional options and control over their children’s education by providing a $100 million investment in school choice. This bill provides a $7,500 tax credit per eligible student each tax year if the eligible student attends a private school and the family has an income of less than $250,000. The bill also provides for a $1,000 tax credit per family, for certain qualified expenditures, each tax year if one or more eligible students is homeschooled. Valid receipts must be provided to OTC to receive the $1,000 tax credit.
- Senate amendments to House Bill 2775 appropriates $500,000,000 to the State Board of Education for the purpose of providing Oklahoma teachers a pay raise as well as substantially increasing the State Aid Formula.
- Senate amendments to House Bill 2775 will also appropriate $30 million for the creation of the Rewarding Excellent Educators Grant Program. This program will provide grant funds to school districts to implement qualitative bonus pay plans for eligible teachers and eligible support employees.
Other Senate education measures sent to the House include:
- $16.5 million for eight weeks of paid maternity leave for teachers who become new mothers;
- $41 million for the Oklahoma Teacher Corps Program which will aid schools by paying for tuition and fees for students who agree to teach for four years in a Title I School;
- $1.6 million for a teacher mentorship program, providing mentor teachers with a $500 annual stipend;
- A pilot program to provide on-site childcare services to specific districts, contracted childcare to the district, or to provide stipends to employees to help cover childcare costs;
- $20 million for school safety and security. Schools will be able to undergo a risk and vulnerability assessment to enable schools to have the best plan in place to protect their children; and
- $1.5M of additional funding to school districts dedicated to pay for additional certifications and credentials for teachers.