Keeping 'corporate' interests from implementing government policy not a cure-all

The Oklahoman Editorial Published: February 20, 2013

In comparison, current limitations on online learning reduce competition for students and impede opportunity. If the goal is for Oklahoma children to get a quality education, who cares if achieving it means a vendor's bottom line improves? Under the current system, superintendents may be paid over $200,000 and provided a district-purchased vehicle worth more than $50,000 — regardless of student learning. Does that really serve children better?

Jenks Superintendent Kirby Lehman, who has criticized funding virtual education in Oklahoma, recently said he was concerned about corporate sway in state education policy. But in recent months, Jenks has approved millions of dollars in contracts with private businesses, including multiple construction bids. Does this mean Lehman's support for bond issues is merely a scheme to enrich favored companies? Of course not!

Local school officials don't construct their own facilities. They don't write and print their own textbooks or grow all food for student lunches in a garden, or develop their own software for homemade computers. Private businesses supply all these goods and services. In the cited instances, market competition drives down costs, prevents price-gouging and provides greater benefit to taxpayers.

Eliminating “corporate” interests from government policy implementation might make liberals feel good, but its practical effect would be to force Oklahomans to pay higher prices for lower-quality government services.

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