Saturday, July 24, 2010

Honey, let's buy a house in the Oklahoma City school district

When's the last time you heard someone say they're moving into the Oklahoma City school district so they can send their children to the Oklahoma City Public Schools?

Dumb question, I realize. "Most parents don't have a path through the [Oklahoma City Public Schools] system like they'd like to see for their children,” former Oklahoma City mayor Kirk Humphreys said a couple of weeks ago in The Oklahoman. "Parents say they are happy with the elementary school experience for their children, but if they live in Oklahoma City after fifth grade ... they send their children to private school or homeschool." (Which is altogether terrific, I hasten to add.)

In any case, this came to mind today when I read a blog post by Gary Wolfram, an economist at Hillsdale College in Michigan. Dr. Wolfram, who has written for OCPA before, asks an even more outlandish question: "When was the last time you heard someone say that they wished they could move to Detroit in order to enroll their child in Detroit Public Schools?"

If we want to improve public education -- in Michigan, in Oklahoma, or anywhere else -- we're going to have to change the incentives.

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