Brandon Dutcher (Point of View, Sept. 20) claims that without parental choice one can expect Oklahoma's public schools to continue to be an abysmal failure and that public schools can only be saved through vouchers, tax credits and Arizona-style education savings accounts. Oklahoma already offers parental choice. From January through March, students can apply for an open transfer to any district. Only the receiving district has to approve.
Dutcher extols the virtues of public education in Arizona, namely education saving accounts. Oklahoma students outperform Arizona students on both the ACT and SAT exams. Arizona's average ACT score is 19.7 and its average SAT score is 1539. Oklahoma's average ACT score is 20.7 and its average SAT score is 1683. When combining both scores, Arizona ranks 46th nationally (well below the national average) and Oklahoma ranks No. 18 (above the national average).
Dutcher cites a 2011 poll indicating that only one in four Oklahomans thinks taxpayers are getting a good return on their per-pupil investment. Yet every year, a majority of districts pass bond issues that require a supermajority vote of 60 percent.
Yes, the 2008 budget cuts hurt. Imagine trying to support a family or run a business with 2008 dollars and 2013 expenses.
Kent Mathers, Yukon