Three Questions for the A & B Committee to Ask
February 19, 2014
The House Appropriations and Budget Committee will hear HB 3398, creating Oklahoma Education Savings Accounts (ESAs) today. Here are three questions I hope they ask.
- How many Oklahoma students currently attend public school on a transfer outside of the school district in which they reside? One of the big talking points of the bill’s sponsors is that children should not be limited by their zip code. I’ve even heard Jeb Bush say this on multiple occasions. The committee should do a little fact-finding. To what extent are transfers allowed, and to what extent are they denied? Ask the bill’s sponsors what their personal experience is with transferring children to a district other than the one in which they pay property taxes.
- Why does the bill preclude the state from extending assessment and accountability to any private schools receiving students on a voucher? Our state superintendent loves to say that measuring is caring – or something like that. The bill’s sponsors vote for every test and accountability system that comes before them, no matter what experiences other states have tried with them. Why can’t the state – if it’s going to spend money in private schools – determine the quality of the investment?
- If this measure is about parental choice, why not just listen to parents who are furious over the reforms the state is handing down to public schools? Whether it’s the Common Core, Reading Sufficiency, A-F Report Cards, or increasing the time, cost, and importance of testing, parents’ opinions have not been heard. Overall, people tend to like the schools their children attend. This would probably be more true if the policy makers would listen to parents and educators.