By March 7, 2017 Uncategorized 1 Comment

Go ahead. I’ll give you just a minute to wipe the drool from your mouth.

I don’t know about you but this image induces immediate hunger pangs for me. I do LOVE donuts!

One of my fellow #oklaed bloggers, Meghan Loyd, posted this image on Facebook yesterday. I believe she was gloating over recently winning a free dozen of these delicious confections from Hurts Donuts in a Facebook contest.

Meghan, I am going to hold you to your offer of a maple bar. Unlike some of our lawmakers, I am confident you will follow through with your promises. I’ll get the coffee.

That said, when I first saw Meghan’s posted image – the bacon-encrusted maple bar on the left in particular – I actually responded with four words I didn’t think I would ever say: That’s too much bacon!”

I won’t quibble with the relatively new practice of sprinkling a few bacon bits on top of maple donuts. It does seem a match made in heaven. At the same time, this could be overkill.

One of the challenges public education in Oklahoma has faced over the years is the false perception of some lawmakers that we also have too much bacon.

Not only do they think we have too much bacon; a few lawmakers honestly believe our schools are covered in sprinkles, candy bits, cookies chunks, fancy frosting, and even have a few fruit loops in the mix.

Conversely, this is how public school educators picture ourselves.

After years of budget struggles, we feel like the toppings have all been licked off. Yeah, we may still be a donut, but all of the glaze and sprinkles are now gone.

Our of fiscal necessity, many schools are down to just a plain cake donut with no frills.

Quite a few legislators have also argued that we simply have too many donuts to begin with. As a result, they promote the premise that none of the “donuts” should get any sprinkles until the state makes a concerted effort to consolidate school districts.

Honestly, there is some merit to that argument, particularly related to small dependent K-8 districts located near larger independent school districts with high schools.

As I have said before, this might be a worthwhile effort but it would require strong leadership from the top, to include the Governor.

In most cases, small districts are not going to voluntarily shutter their schools or combine administration because their local communities are often vehemently opposed to the idea. In short, the mindset of people in many small rural communities is, “Hands OFF, you’re not getting OUR donut!

Another area where some lawmakers believe districts are excessive with our sprinkles is superintendent pay and associated administrative costs.

However, in the past few years, Oklahoma Watch and the Oklahoma Policy Institute have both punched holes in the argument that “bloated administration” is a major part of Oklahoma’s financial problem. They have shown that the reduction of Oklahoma’s administrative costs through consolidation to the lowest level in the nation would reduce spending from its current level, 3.2 percent, and if all of the savings went to the classroom, “Oklahoma would move up only one spot, to fourth from last, in classroom spending per student.”

Christy Watson, communication director for the Oklahoma State School Boards Association (OSSBA), recently published an article entitled, “How Much is Enough.” Christy provides several strong arguments on why current education funding is not enough and closes with this question:

How much is enough?

Isn’t the answer clear?

  • When the best possible teacher is leading every classroom.
  • When teachers have the resources they need to create engaging learning experiences for every child.
  • When schools have the resources to support children who have special needs and those who have fallen (and even started) behind.
  • When teachers aren’t begging for basic classroom supplies.
  • When Oklahoma parents like me can stop wondering why state leaders have decided my children are worth less than those in other states.

I’d really like an answer to this question: Why aren’t my children — and yours — worth more?

I don’t know of a single school superintendent who is claiming to have too much money to run their school district. At the same time, none of us are asking for a frosted donut with nuts, Oreo pieces, miniature M&Ms, Fruit Loops, Fruity Pebbles, crumbled Heath Bars, or even a half cup of bacon, either.

Which donut does your child deserve? If a few sprinkles and frosting (quality teachers and programs) helps keep our kids engaged and interested in the product (an education), doesn’t that help us all in the long-term?

The truth is Oklahoma schools do not have too much bacon. We are struggling to meet the varied needs of a diverse student population in a rapidly changing world. And it seems to get tougher every year.

As such, we are simply asking for adequate funding and resources to provide the best product we can for the children we serve. Nothing more, nothing less.

It would be negligent for us to do otherwise.

Now, where did I put that donut?

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