Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Liberal PLAC devoted to the failed status quo

"Unionized government monopolies: the way of the future!"

"The Oklahoma Central Parent Legislative Action Committee (PLAC) bills itself as 'a nonpartisan group,' but it has a thoroughly liberal-leaning agenda," The Oklahoman correctly observed in a recent editorial. "The organization supports tax increases, opposes tax cuts and demands increased government spending with minimal state oversight. The group also opposes introducing market forces into public education and supports legislation to restrict parents’ educational choices for their children."

In the Oklahoma House, 32 lawmakers — 23 Democrats and nine Republicans — sided with PLAC’s agenda on 100 percent of rated votes. Missed votes didn’t count against legislators, so those getting 100 percent scores didn’t necessarily vote the liberal line advocated by PLAC on every single issue. But some did, including Reps. Dennis Casey, R-Morrison; Tommy Hardin, R-Madill; Jadine Nollan, R-Sand Springs; Dustin Roberts, R-Durant, and Pat Ownbey, R-Ardmore. Another Republican, Rep. Skye McNiel of Bristow, missed one vote. Otherwise, she also marched to the beat of PLAC’s drum.

PLAC's report card claims to measure lawmakers' "support of public education," but because it uses a hopelessly outdated definition of public education, it misses the mark.

Many of our status-quo friends stuck in the 20th (or even the 19th) century don’t seem to realize that "public education" is an end, not a means. The end goal is an educated public — and it doesn’t matter if that education takes place in a traditional public school, a charter school, or in a private school with help from a state-backed scholarship or a tax-credit scholarship.

Those truly committed to an educated public will not continue to support a demonstrably ineffective method of getting there — namely, dumping more money into a heavily unionized government monopoly. Rather, Oklahomans who want to see an educated public will embrace educational choice — the one reform which the empirical evidence consistently shows improves student performance for school-choice participants and for government-run schools.

Indeed, I’m eager to raise per-pupil funding to whatever level OK Central PLAC deems best — so long as the money is given to parents, not to the bureaucracy.

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