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School administrators' midyear adjustment griping mostly unwarranted

by The Oklahoman Editorial Board Modified: January 20, 2013 at 1:18 am •  Published: January 20, 2013
/articleid/3747046/1/pictures/1931992">Photo - Trish Williams, chief financial officer at Tulsa Public Schools
Trish Williams, chief financial officer at Tulsa Public Schools

More importantly, for-profit entities must please customers to survive — in this case, students and parents. Virtual charter schools can be closed if they fail to generate academic results. The same can't be said for traditional schools. Williams works for a Tulsa school system where more than half the district's schools got a D or an F on their state report card. None faces closure as a result.

Administrators are correct when they note total student enrollment has increased while total state funding remained the same, reducing the amount spent per-student. But midyear adjustments and the long-established state funding formula are unrelated to that discussion.

The administrators' complaints suggest they think some public school students deserve equitable funding but others don't. That's a recipe for unjust discrimination against some public school students that would have no public benefit while generating (likely successful) lawsuits.

Oklahoma families are drawn to online learning for many legitimate reasons, ranging from problems with bullying at local schools to the need for greater course selection and customization of learning. We shouldn't deny those public school students educational opportunities because some administrators are upset at the idea of competition or the realities of life in the 21st century.

If traditional public schools worry about losing students to virtual schools (or at least losing the associated state funding), there's a solution: Provide an educational product just as good so families don't feel the need to seek alternatives.

by The Oklahoman Editorial Board
The Oklahoman Editorial Board consists of Gary Pierson, President and CEO of The Oklahoma Publishing Company; Christopher P. Reen, president and publisher of The Oklahoman; Kelly Dyer Fry, editor and vice president of news; Christy Gaylord...
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