The era of forced public schooling is over. The behemoth system which dominates the spending of our state taxes, will soon have to earn the continued patronage of Oklahoma families.
Currently, public schools spend about $10,000 per year, per child enrolled in a school district.
The Oklahoma legislature is now poised to return the common education choices back to parents, by allowing them to direct thousands of dollars of their child's portion of state education spending toward a private education institution.
Even homeschool expenses will qualify for modest reimbursement, in a timely manner.
The net result will be a massive competition between private sector educating, and the statewide network of 500+ public school districts.
- the Oklahoma Tax Commission to swiftly reimburse $5000 annually, to residents when they contractually enroll their dependent child in a primary or secondary school. The school would have to be accredited by one of the six recognized associations of privates schools, or by the Dept. of Education.
- Homeschool students will be reimbursed up to $2500 for actual annual expenses in core curriculum and tutoring services.
- The reimbursements are made in two parts, for each semester of instruction.
- Private schools which have not yet been accredited will not qualify for any state reimbursement.
The senate, made several amendments to HB1935, under the leadership of Education Chair Adam Pugh. They passed their substitute of HB1935 and sent it back to the House. It provides for:
- The Oklahoma Tax Commission to swiftly reimburse $7500 annually toward parents, for each child enrolled in an accredited private school.
- Homeschool reimbursements are capped at $1000 annually per family, regardless of how many qualifying children are in that household. Actual detailed receipts are required.
- The reimbursements are made in each semester of instruction.
- Private schools which are not yet accredited by one of the six private associations, are not qualified for this program.
- Household incomes over $250,000 will be disqualified from any reimbursement of actual tuitions paid, for their children's mandated common education.
If the House rejects the senate amendments, the two houses will appoint delegates to a conference committee, to work out a compromise.
If the conference can agree to language, a re-written HB1935 will be produced and sent to each house for a simple vote. No further amendments will be allowed.
If both parts of the legislature approve the conference language, it goes to the governor's desk for executive enactment or veto.
If vetoed, the legislature could hold a vote to override the veto by a supermajority of the rollcall vote.
An emergency clause has been attached to all forms of the bill, making it law, once it is signed by the governor or a veto is successfully overridden by the legislature. Oklahoma Parental Choice Tax Credit Act would be a part of the 2023-24 school year.
Problems with the Oklahoma Parental Choice Tax Credit Act
- The current associations may not be motivated to quickly grant accreditation. This will effectively kill the fiscal viability of the startup private school. The legislature's current language (in both the senate & house versions) could create a structure where new & unassociated private schools would cost families several thousands more per year than the establish & accredited schools.
- We went to the legislature on Tuesday and asked dozens of lawmakers why students enrolled at unaccredited schools are not eligible for the tax credit, while homeschooled kids are given a tax credit. we could not find a single lawmaker who would support this decision. Even The Senate Education Chair, Adam Pugh; expressed an openness to give the matter more thought. We are confident that a conference committee will find a solution to fix 'coverage craters' like this.
- The Senate version of the proposal seems much more biased toward these private associations than the House version.
- The senate language largely guts any tax credit for homeschooling families. Neither version provides teacher funding for a parent who daily tutors a child, But the Senate language limits even textbook expenses. A family with 4 homeschooled kids would only receive $250 per kid to cover all expenses.
- Unaccredited schools are currently left out, yet unaccredited homeschoolers are granted some tax credits. Several faith-based organizations provide common education as a part of their ministry. Some of the most established faith-based schools philosophically oppose submitting to the state for approval of their ministry. Accelerated Christian Education(ACE) is one such national education system. This journalist served as principal of an ACE school, in the early 1980s. ACE's founder, Dr. Donald R. Howard; also points out that Harvard University has never submitted to accreditation and never will. Harvard's reasoning is, "Why would we ask our lessers to stand in judgment of the education we provide?"
- It seems clear to this journalist that current private school associations played a key role to help the legislature bring this school reform. That's a good thing. But legislative vigilance requires that we don't create a private-sector obstacle.
- A Clear system needs to include statutory language for new accrediting associations to have equal standing with the Oklahoma Tax Commission.
In 2018, Oklahoma led the nation in funding increases for public common education. State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Joy Hofmeister; sat by silently while 1/3 of the state's school districts conducted an illegal 'wildcat strike' School boards in leftest-led districts covered for those strikes by closing the schools to support the walkouts. the state's leading teachers' union defied the law and the state. the legislators capitulated and passed several rounds of new funding bills.
Several legislators now express deep frustration with the poor results what this funding increase failed to deliver. It's five years later and test scores not only didn't improve; they dropped further, at an even stepper descent into student failure such as we're not seen since before WW2.
In 2018, politicians groveled for the endorsement of political groups associated with public school advocates. Little apples were used as an official seal of support. Now those apples have disappeared from political graphics. Moderate Republican lawmakers are now openly condemning the public school systems of the Joy Hofmeister's era.
Many public schools began buying pornographic books for school libraries. Teachers stepped up new teachings in 'Critical Race' propaganda. Gender changing became a new teaching in grade schools. School lavatories for girls and boys became interchangeable. Teachers started demanding all students to memorize the declared pronouns for each student, on any given day, then update their pronouns any time a classmate felt differently about their personal masculinity or femininity.
Last October, major corporate media outlets published opinion polls that showed Republican Ryan Walters trailing the leftist candidate by a wide margin in the race for our next statewide Superintendent. But the official election results were actually the opposite. Walters swept into office with a mandate to clean up the state's largest agency.
Walters believes that healthy competition is needed. While HB1935 gives most of the oversight to the Oklahoma Tax Commission, the Department of Education will be able to accredit private schools, so they qualify for the HB1935 tax credit.