Monday, March 17, 2014

Time to Oust Oklahoma Republicans from Control Over Higher Education and Public Schools

Happy St Patrick's Day -- Rivers across America are being turned green today from the San Antonio River on the Riverwalk to the Chicago River as everyone becomes Irish for the day!  Little corned beef, potatoes, carrots  and cabbage on the menu at many households and restaurants with some soda bread and mint brownies for dessert with loads of whipped creme.  Today is the day that green alcohol becomes extremely popular with a lot of people needing to park their car and take advantage of a ride home.  This is Spring Break for The University of Oklahoma but it has not stopped the OU President from having his say on cuts to high education:
“It’s almost hostility to higher education,” University of Oklahoma President David Boren said. “We’ve gotten out of whack.”  
That is probably the understatement of the day, month or year!  Can only imagine what is being said behind closed doors when I know what I am saying about this Republican run state that is being run into the ground following the lead of Kansas.  The Kansas State Supreme Court had to restore some funding for Kansas public schools.  Republican members of the legislature and the Governor's offices across America have no right to take public tax dollars for private religious schools -- guess separation of church and state are not on their radar? My tax dollars going for any private school goes against what I believe because private schools are not subject to rules or regulations like public schools are in order to keep their accreditation.  The religious schools are free to teach their own version of science and thus have a generation of illiterate children who believe the earth is 6,000 years old and dinosaurs roamed the earth with man just like in the Flintstones.    

In Oklahoma today, would say we have two happy college Presidents because University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University made the NCAA Basketball Tournament but at the same time they are are as disgusted with this Republican Governor as you can be especially President Boren who was the Governor at one time and also a US Senator before becoming President of the University of Oklahoma. What is mind boggling is Governor Fallin wants to cut higher education more while giving the wealthy a tax cut -- typical Republican Koch/ALEC puppet.  Just don't understand what Republicans have against public education including higher education -- makes no sense to me unless they don't want an educated populace.

This Republican Governor has been a disaster for education at all levels and her good friend the State School Superintendent, Janet Barrisi, is the absolute worst and most detested State School Superintendent by both sides of the aisle -- total arrogance from someone with no recent background in public education since she sat on the school board for a charter school and was a dentist.  Barrisi was the first Republican State School Superintendent and hopefully the last.  Republicans are showing that education means nothing to them unless they can use charter schools to help their donors plus be able to teach what they want with no regulations or oversight. This anti-public education movement on the right has many long time supporters of public schools up in arms -- I am one of them.  Have volunteered countless hours over the years to public education from tutoring reading to being head of the PTO and everything in between.  There is no way I am sitting on the sidelines and allowing Republicans to destroy public education without a fight.

Oklahoma leads the Country in cuts to public education since 2008 when Republicans took over complete control of the legislature.  Maybe if they quit wasting so much of our tax dollars on social issues, they would have money left for educating our students.  Republicans received my last dollar along with my last vote in 2010 after their attacks on education in Oklahoma after Republicans took full control of state government.  All children deserve a very good education but you don't get there with the draconian cuts by the Republicans in the Legislature and Governor's Office since 2008/2010. Asking higher ed to take a $50M cut while handing out tax cuts is stupid and irresponsible.  The very fact these Republicans refuse to increase the taxes on horizontal drilling that were cut in the early 90's says all you need to know about these bought and paid for Republicans in Oklahoma.
Oklahoma higher education leaders hope to avoid budget cut 
The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education requested an increase of 7.7 percent — or an additional $76.3 million — for the next fiscal year, but the governor has called for a cut of nearly $50 million. 
By Kathryn McNutt Published: March 16, 2014

Higher education leaders are optimistic they can avoid the cut in state funding Gov. Mary Fallin proposed in her fiscal year 2015 budget. 
The governor’s budget includes a 5 percent reduction for most agencies because estimates show the state will have about $188 million less to appropriate for FY15.

“I’m pushing to at least make up the 5 percent cut,” Rep. Harold Wright, R-Weatherford, said last week. 
Wright, chairman of the House Higher Education and CareerTech Committee, said he thinks lawmakers can keep the funding level and keep tuition as low as possible. 
The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education requested an increase of 7.7 percent — or an additional $76.3 million — from the current fiscal year, but the governor has called for a cut of nearly $50 million. 
Higher Education Chancellor Glen Johnson said the state appropriation makes up about 38 percent of the total higher education budget, down from half in 2007. 
The state has cut the higher education budget an average of 8.4 percent each year since 2008 at a time when enrollment is increasing and costs have gone up, Johnson said. 
“It’s kind of an unsustainable crunch. The governor has Complete College America and wants to graduate more students,” Oklahoma State University President Burns Hargis said.
“Meanwhile, we’re cutting the dollars and, therefore, how do you make that up?” 
“It’s almost hostility to higher education,” University of Oklahoma President David Boren said. “We’ve gotten out of whack.” 
Revenue sources 
Boren and Hargis both support reducing the gross production tax exemption for horizontal wells to increase the available dollars for state appropriations. 
Estimates of the money that would produce are pretty dramatic, Hargis said. 
“I think there’s going to be a little more money (in the state budget) than they currently are working on,” he said. 
Another step that would put more money in the budget is delaying an income tax cut, Boren said.
Read More on Education by Kathryn McNutt at The Oklahoman

Now we will see if OSU President Hargis sticks with his Party, the Republicans, or stands up for higher education and the OSU college students.  The jury is out on that one as we wait to see which side major OSU donor Boone Pickens falls.

With President Boren we have no doubt -- he would be saying and doing the same thing no matter who the Party in charge was who wanted to cut higher education.

Time for Oklahomans to get a clue and return this state to common sense by getting rid of the anti-education faction in this state.   That means electing Democrat Rep Joe Dorman for Governor who values public education for all of Oklahoma's children.  Rep Dorman is willing to work across the aisle for the betterment of all Oklahomans versus the Republican 'my way or no way' attitude of some members of the Legislature and State Government.  Rep Dorman has my support and my vote in November -- time for a change in Oklahoma!

Disclaimer:  Opinions are my own on this blog.  I do not receive compensation from any candidate, organization, or group. 


  1. We're having the same problem in New Mexico. I could start with Martinez' fact-finding group she set up, when she became governor. They were to see how to better spend funds. So they spend funds that were to go to the schools. None of them were from New Mexico.

  2. Bet we find the same thing in other Red States with Governors who are beholding to the Koch's and ALEC!