"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Friday, April 25, 2008

Corporate Welfare Voucher Bill Dead in Oklahoma

From the Alva Review-Courier:

OKLAHOMA CITY (April 23rd, 2008) A bipartisan coalition of Legislators, through spirited debate, prevented taxpayer dollars from funding private schools through a private voucher scholarship program by defeating a bill on the House Floor today.

“I opposed a $2.5 million tax credit program that took taxpayers dollars to support private schools,” said Representative Jeannie McDaniel, D- Tulsa. “We cannot strengthen public education by taking money away from our schools. We need to work to address the challenges that face our education system instead of diverting money from public schools to private entities. It is our responsibility to provide the best opportunity for our kids to learn.”

Senate bill 2093 would give a 50% tax credit to individuals who donate to a fund providing private school scholarships. This tax credit would be on top of any charitable tax deductions donors already receive. It essentially creates a voucher system that would take public dollars and transfer them through the use of tax credits to private schools. The end result is still fewer resources left for those students who remain in public schools.

“School vouchers may be a good thing for a select few in Oklahoma City or Tulsa,” said Representative Ray McCarter, D- Marlow. “However, they destroy our rural communities, which revolve around our public schools. By cherry-picking students out of public schools and using taxpayer dollars to fund their education at private charter schools, you would leave students behind. I am glad that we were able to take a stand for public education in Oklahoma today.”

“If I went to a business owner in my district and told him that I was going to take the top ten percent of his employees and some of his capital and then send them to work at one of his competitor’s business and somehow he is supposed to grow his business, he would just laugh,” said Representative Scott Inman, D- Del City. “This is what the proponents of Senate Bill 2093 wanted to do with our public schools today. It doesn’t make sense and it is wrong for the children of Oklahoma.”

District 58 Representative Jeff Hickman was among the 40 representatives voting in favor of the bill which many school superintendents in this district opposed.

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