Gov. Mary Fallin wants to encourage schools to consolidate or share administrative services. Since Oklahoma has 522 districts, we've long thought too much money is wasted on duplication, and appreciate Fallin's stance.
However, Fallin stressed that no one would be forced to consolidate, which raises the question: What exactly is she proposing? Some districts already combine services, and a voter-approved consolidation is scheduled. Although it would benefit their students, districts resistant to sharing resources aren't likely to change course because of a speech.
Furthermore, districts with 200 students or fewer already teeter on the verge of consolidation or annexation because of economic reality. Roughly 100 districts are at or below that tipping point and their survival can't be assured.
Fallin's announcement comes just weeks after the end of the legislative session. If she plans to spend the next half-year building support for true structural change in our school system, good. The idea will require buy-in from the public and thoughtful planning by proponents. Similar efforts haven't fared well in the past.