Wednesday, January 08, 2020

1889 Institute calls for significant institutional reforms to Oklahoma education

Only major institutional reforms will make a difference.

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK (January 8, 2020) – The 1889 Institute has published a new paper, “Education Reforms to Make a Difference.” It argues for the following reforms to be enacted:

  • Allow for Teacher Charters – schools established by one or more experienced Oklahoma-certified teachers, automatically chartered based mainly on financial criteria.
  • Move School Board Elections to November – end obscure, shifting election dates where the main voters who show have a financial stake in the system.
  • Make Moving into Teaching Seamless – remove logistical obstacles to obtaining the training necessary to enter the classroom where doing so means changing careers.
  • Provide State-funded Teacher Professional Liability Insurance – teachers who just want liability protection should not have to pay extra dues to radicalized organizations to get it.
  • Promote the Conversion School Option – inform school board members of this option where schools are failing; allow the State Board of Education to sponsor conversions of certain failing schools.
  • Reform the State’s Funding Formula – remove perverse incentives in the funding formula and require auditable contact-hour funding for students needing extra help.
  • Stop Requiring Superintendent Education Certification – they’re business administrators, so emphasis should be on hiring people with business administration skills.

The paper asserts that decades of education reform up to this point have accomplished little more than the expenditure of money and the growing of education bureaucracy. Academic results have basically been flat with relative improvement by the U.S. compared to the rest of the world due mainly to decline in other countries. Meanwhile, Chinese students perform four grade levels above U.S. students and Oklahoma’s performance cannot even match that of the nation as a whole.

“As I argue in the paper, we’ve tried reforms that reach into the minutiae of teaching, testing, curriculum content, spending, and personnel and they have not worked,” said Dr. Byron Schlomach, author of the report and 1889 Institute Director. “It’s long past time to make fundamental institutional changes, so the public education system’s reactionary forces cannot continue to just take our money and quash efforts to make them improve,” he said.

About the 1889 Institute
The 1889 Institute is an Oklahoma think tank committed to independent, principled state policy fostering limited and responsible government, free enterprise and a robust civil society. The publication, “Education Reforms to Make a Difference” can be found on the nonprofit’s website at


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