Charter Smarter

Capitol Building in Jefferson City, MO.  ID’d by Dave Hansel

Having served as attorney for over a decade for two of Tulsa’s original charter schools (Deborah Brown and Dove Science Academy) and as CFO for a decade with the Sand Springs Public Schools, naturally the Tulsa World article last week announcing that the Oklahoma Charter Schools Association had filed suit against the Oklahoma State Department of Education to secure more equitable financing for charter schools caught my attention.  Here is the Charter Schools Lawsuit petition.  Additionally, my son Ethan and I were plaintiffs, he as a student and me as a school board member and taxpayer in Fair School Finance Council v State of Oklahoma, decided in 1987, which unsuccessfully challenged the then inequitable system used to finance Oklahoma’s school districts.  Even though the litigation was unsuccessful the legislature, beginning in the 1980s and culminating with House Bill 1017 25th Anniversary, see also Once Upon A Time, put in place our current State Aid Formula that I think works pretty well in equalizing state support for our school districts.  What follows is my attempt to provide information that will be helpful in any reconsideration of how Oklahoma’s public charter schools are financed.

The basic framework is in Title 70, specifically the Charter School Act, Section 3-142, which provides that the state revenue for charter schools is calculated the same way as it is for school districts, subject to as much as 5% being kept by a charter school sponsor for its services.  Additionally, charter schools can apply for all the same state and federal grant revenues that are available to school districts.  So what’s the lawsuit about?  Actually I don’t want to comment on the legal arguments set forth, but rather focus on financial facts.  The numerical examples given in opening paragraphs 11 and 12 are the only factual demonstration of inequality cited in the petition so most of this post focuses on that.  What is alluded to, but not demonstrated in the petition, is the fact that the State Aid Formula only seeks to address inequality among the General Fund revenues of school districts; it does not address inequality among school districts with respect to their Building Fund and Sinking Fund capacities and charter schools do not have access to these significant revenue sources that are provided for by the Oklahoma Constitution.  

Look at my Charter Smarter Chart way below.  The petition uses the State Department of Education’s Annual Report as its data source, which is shown in top section of the chart, for its allegation that for the 2013-2014 school year “the total revenues received by the Oklahoma City Public School District (OKCPS) less federal funds was $242,502,928.  The revenue per Capita by weighted ADM was $3,588 (e.g., per pupil funding).  Whereas, ASTEC charter school located within the boundaries of OKCPS has a total revenue received less federal funds of $661,095.  The revenue per Capita by weighted ADM was $501 (e.g., per pupil funding).  The charter school received approximately $3,087 less per student.”  It then goes on to state that the Tulsa Public Schools revenue per Capita that year was $3,827 whereas the per Capita revenue for Deborah Brown charter school in Tulsa was $3,126 which is $701 less.  The Annual Report numbers are clearly for only school districts’ and charter schools’ General Funds, not Building, Bond, Child Nutrition or Sinking Funds.

The TPS to Brown comparison is believable on its face but the OKCPS to ASTEC comparison doesn’t pass any test of believability so I went to the OCAS data for each of the four entities to compare with the Annual Audit data.  My Charter Smarter Chart below shows what I found.  OCAS reporting is done by code numbers for revenue sources.  1000s are local sources, 2000s are county sources, 3000s are state sources, 4000s are federal, 5000s are essentially in/out correcting entries, i.e. bookkeeping offsets that don’t represent actual new revenue, and 6000s for funds carried forward from prior years.  OKCPS, TPS and Brown all had two entries for 3200s, namely 3210 for state aid (the Formula) and 3250 for employee health insurance (revbrown, revtul, revokc); ASTEC had only the 3250 entry for health insurance and nothing for state aid, 3210 (revastec).  I looked at the ASTEC Formula state aid allocation sheet and it clearly shows they were to receive $4,000,693 that year.  So what happened to it?  Look at their entry for OCAS revenue code 5800 (defined in OCAS manual as “5800* CHARTER  SCHOOLS.  Revenue received for per capita costs as provided by the district.”) which is $3,974,411.41.  It doesn’t equal their prescribed allocation but is 99.3% and remember the school district may keep up to 5%; note that Brown’s 3210 entry is exactly 95% of their Brown Formulastate aid allocation which means their sponsor Langston University is retaining the full 5%.  After this adjustment is made the ASTEC per Capita amount becomes $3,513 and the difference with OKCPS melts away.

Now that we have apples to apples and believable numbers for all four we can proceed.  I fully agree with the lawsuit plaintiffs’ decision to exclude federal funds from the calculations since the state can’t control their allocation.  In my opinion there are other sources that should be excluded as well.  In the 1000s, local sources, I think it only makes sense to include local property taxes.  The other sources are categories like contributions (nice people giving money), sales of assets (old desks, buses, etc.), rental payments (private dance recital in the auditorium), interest earnings and much more that rise and fall year to year, are often associated with offsets, i.e. greater custodial expense to clean the auditorium after rental, and vary widely from district to district.  Including these in a discussion about inequality is very problematic.

In the 3000s, the 3300s are for child nutrition; some school districts and most charter schools report their school nutrition financials in their General Funds, but most school districts do not.  Every student has the same entitlement to federal and state support for the school nutrition programs so including anything related to it will distort the comparison the plaintiffs are seeking.  The 3500s to 3800s are for programs like Alternative Education, high school remediation (ACE) programs and Career Tech which have specific requirements and are almost all secondary level programs.  Secondary charter schools can avail their students of these services; comparing a TPS that includes these secondary programs to a Brown that is an elementary school is not apples to apples.  Therefore, my next section (subtractions) recalculates the per Capita or per WADM amounts using only the remaining revenue sources.

Finally, under “true state aid”, I remove all revenue sources for which both school districts and charter schools are either already entitled to receive based on some fair measure, like student population (3433 text books) and number of employees (3250 employee health insurance) or for which they can apply on an equal basis.  What is left are the revenue sources, property taxes and state dedicated revenues (1100s, 75% of 2100, 3110, 3120, 3130 and 3140) that are expressly accounted for in the formula, and a handful 2200 (county mortgage tax), 2300 (county repurchase fund) and 3150 (vehicle tax stamps) that are paid to school districts with no strings, or entitlement other than statute, attached.  Including only those revenue sources brings us to my final grouping a bottom line calculation that a more apples to apples comparison among the four entities listed in the Petition is OKCPS  , ASTEC  , TPS  , and Brown  .

This last part may make little sense if you have not learned how the state aid formula works, and if you haven’t you are not alone.  One statement I’ve run across on the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs website, or in a publication referenced there, is by Martin Lueken of EdChoice   in his paper “Tax Credit Scholarship Audit” where he opines, “ These funding formulas are highly complex. In the school finance world there is an adage about individuals in each state who understand these formulas: You can count them on one hand.”

My experience with the House Bill 2244 fiasco which you can read about in these posts, A Turkish de Fright  and ‘Twas the Night Before Sine Die  , convinces me there are few if any in the legislature, or even their staffs, who understand it.  Otherwise why would they remain clueless for over a year and a half while some $20 million was shifted from over half the state’s school districts to the remaining 150 or so?  Then they completed the folly, wholly fixable and avoidable, this last session by changing motor vehicle collections allocations going forward without any compensating offset in the formula, assuring that “loser” districts will again fall way short next April while “winner” districts pocket a final month of gain.  You see those revenue sources that are included/charged in the formula are calculated not in actual collection amounts but by current valuation for property taxes and by prior year collections for the rest.  If there is a disconnect then school districts bear the win, more collected than predicted, or the loss, less collected than predicted.  Charter schools do not get to play this game, a fact that prevents them from being winners, but also protects them from losses like the motor vehicle collections fiasco which has cost TPS over $3 million. 

The revenues, 25% of 2100, and all of 2200, 2300 and 3150 source codes, that are without strings attached and available for any general fund purpose, are not available to charter schools.  Likewise, charter schools bear an up to 5% loss in state aid for their sponsor’s services.  The gap between TPS and Brown per WADM amounts largely disappears if the 5% is restored (it becomes $3032).

I doubt these discrepancies are sufficient to gain much interest regarding equity within the state aid formula among school districts and charter schools.  The real discrepancy in funding has to do with the lack of access by charter schools to financing like what school districts have through their Building and Sinking funds.  In effect most school districts can finance the costs of having and operating their schoolhouses without significant impact on their general funds, though those capacities vary widely among districts.  Charter schools on the other hand start with at least 5% less in operational funding through the formula and other sources and the first expense they bear is to rent or otherwise acquire a schoolhouse.  I think most charter schools do not have significant transportation costs which offsets some of the discrepancy caused by not having a building or sinking fund, but it doesn’t make up for all of it.  Those funds are established in our Constitution and are not really within the purview of the State Department of Education, the only defendant in the litigation, to affect.  Perhaps more about that in a later post.

As always lunch is on me for the first to ID the photo location.  ID’d by Dave Hansel

Mooching A Spoonful of Sugar

Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer in Hannibal, MO.  ID’d first by Shannon Meeks.

Much of the confusion surrounding what to do about financing our health care system in the United States results from not understanding how our health care markets differ from others.  Would you purchase insurance to protect you against the expense of having to purchase an airline ticket unexpectedly?  I hope not, but hope you have purchased insurance to protect you against the expenses of having an unexpected serious illness.  The former would be an irrational use of your money both because the cost of an airline ticket is affordable and it is hard to imagine being forced to purchase one in any case.  Contrast that with having an unexpected serious illness which you now cannot avoid and can cost tens of thousands of dollars to treat; it is irrational not to have insurance in place to protect against this loss.

In selecting a voice/data transmission provider for your home and mobile devices, do you need the assistance of a professional who has received eight years of post-secondary education and charges $400 per hour to recommend the right provider?  It might help but it really doesn’t make sense to expend that kind of money for advice making a decision that most people are comfortable making on their own after a little comparison shopping.  Contrast that with having an unexpected serious illness and your life depends on the right choices being made about your medical treatments going forward; likely the rational way to proceed is to rely on the recommendations of a trained physician whom you trust—if you even get to choose your physician.  Dennis Not The Menace.

Our health care markets are radically different from other markets in our economy, like airline transportation and voice/data transmission services, in that parties other than the consumer, such as insurance companies and physicians, are often the actual deciders about both the services provided and their cost, and often the consumer doesn’t have a real choice about the services provided.

To this point in my March 3, 2017 post A Spoonful of Sugar I attempted to explain why Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs Limited Thinker Mark Perry is misguided if he thinks relying on competitive markets alone, without public or collective intervention in health care insurance and services markets, is going to curb health care inflation and assure that we have a healthy workforce so our economy remains internationally competitive.  Simply stated there is a fundamental disconnect between individual consumers and the health care market place due to the respective roles of insurance companies and health care providers which are the true price setters, not consumers.  He tried to generalize from the beneficial results of market forces on pricing for elective cosmetic surgery procedures where individual consumers are the sole deciders about how much they are willing to pay for what quantities of these services, i.e. I don’t have to have a tummy tuck at all so I have the time to shop around for the best deal without any consideration of insurance since most elective procedures are not covered by major medical insurance. 

By contrast, if I am transported to the hospital while experiencing a stroke or heart attack, or even in the event of a less urgent illness, I do not have the practical opportunity to shop around, nor the ability to second guess the procedures and devices ordered on my behalf by the medical team working to save my life.  In any event the bulk of the costs will be borne by my insurer so it has the immediate motivation to control costs/negotiate prices, not me.  Anyhow you can read my post which reflects the kind of analysis most economists would say is a starting point to understanding health care price inflation and why health care markets do not follow the same dynamics that more competitive markets where consumers are informed buyers and insurers are not dominant.

All this went through my head on Wednesday morning this last week, July 26, listening to CNN host Chris Cuomo interview Anthony Scaramucci, a/k/a “the Mooch” and the new White House Communications Director, about the efforts by the President and Congress to repeal and replace Obamacare.  Mr. Scaramucci, referring to himself as trained in economics, argued that what will fix our health care system and control its inflation, is taking action like was done by the federal government in the airline and telecommunications industries.  In the early years of the airline industry the numbers and pricing of flights was regulated by the Civil Aeronautics Board.  Perhaps initially this regulation made sense in developing this new industry in an orderly way.  In 1978, with President Carter’s leadership, the industry was deregulated and most observers believe this resulted in more choices for consumers and lower prices about which the Mooch and I would agree.  But to believe the same can easily be accomplished with market forces in our health care system simply ignores the reality of the role played by health insurance companies and fact that consumers too often are not the real deciders. 

In the early years of the development of voice communications in the United States, AT&T became a regulated monopoly.  Like airline transportation perhaps this was initially necessary for the orderly development of nationwide communications.  In 1974 the U. S. Department of Justice filed anti-trust litigation to end AT&T’s national monopoly which led to its break-up in 1984.  Now we have a more competitive voice/data communications market with amazing technological innovation and many consumer choices, a market where consumers are the actual deciders without third-party intermediaries such as insurance companies and the health care providers.  A consumer can walk into any mobile phone service store and learn what services will be provided and for what price.   Try doing the same at a hospital, especially when you are under anesthesia. 

The Mooch may have the charm, but he’s no economist and doesn’t have the answers.  Comparing our health care markets to airlines or voice/data communications markets is not like comparing apples to oranges, it’s like comparing apples to baseballs.

As always lunch is on me to the first to ID the photo location.         

Are You Smarter Than a Bed Bug?

State Capitol of Illinois in Springfield, ID’d by Bruce Niemi

The short answer is that I am smarter than a bed bug and the Limited Thinkers at the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs and their echo tank, the 1889 Institute, are not.  It is the confluence of recent occurrences that have led to this post.  First, we are in San Diego where a little over a year ago I posted my first blog while we were enjoying respite from our first month of battling bed bugs in our house.  Second, Roger Federer just won his ninth Wimbledon title.  And third, the Tulsa World reported recently that, as we do for reductions in state funding for K-12 education, Oklahoma now leads the nation in reductions in state funding for higher education.  These three seemingly unconnected happenings I will now connect.

Around 2004 I developed a fascination with tennis pro Roger Federer that I think remained within the bounds of normalcy, but will let you judge.  In addition to subscribing to more channels than the number of used tennis balls in my garage to get The Tennis Channel, I learned the time zone differences for each major, i.e. add 7 or subtract 17 for the Australian Open, subtract 6 for Wimbledon and 7 for the French Open, so I could faithfully watch as many of his matches as possible in real time.  In 2006 spring vacation timing allowed us watch him win the title at Indian Wells, defeating James Blake who, the night before, we cheered on to defeat Rafael Nadal.  We returned in 2007 but he had been knocked out in the first round so settled for a Nadal/Djokovic final.  In 2008 we traveled to the US Open and saw him defeat Gilles Muller in the quarterfinals en route to winning the title.  We were fortunate to again see him play, this time in the 2009 Montreal quarterfinals being his first tournament after the birth of his twin girls, but he was defeated by Jo Wilfred Tsonga.  In 2010 we traveled to Cincinnati and witnessed two victories, though the first was an early walkover due to injury by Isotomin and the second an outright default before the match began, also due to injury, by Kohlschreiber.  We returned to Indian Wells seeing him defeat both Nadal and John Isner for the title in 2012 and win a match in 2015.  He was there but not in action for our sessions at Wimbledon in 2006 and at Miami in 2013; we even held tickets to the men’s championship final at Wimbledon in 2005 when he defeated Andy Roddick, but could not make the trip.

The Cincinnati tournament was our only road trip and I remember hearing on National Public Radio while driving there that August that the United States was experiencing an explosion of bed bugs and Cincinnati was the epicenter of the infestation.  When we checked into our tournament motel and saw bugs climbing the walls inexplicably I did not think “bed bugs”, only that we were moving first thing the next morning, which we did and enjoyed sleeping without bugs and another day of tennis, though no more Federer due to the default.  We drove back home and gave no thought to bed bugs for almost six years till discovering that our bedroom was very infested.  With hindsight I realize I had seen one from time to time but disposed of each and thought each was just a small bug that had come in from the cold, until in May, 2016 I killed one close to our bed, saw the resulting bloodstain, and made a tentative internet identification.

After a thorough search of our room we found they were nesting in our mattresses and in multiple crevices near our bed, particularly those created by a built-in wardrobe (the bane of older homes is limited closet space).  I read all I could find until I thought I understood the critters with whom we had been sharing our bedroom.   The best information was a brochure Bed Bugs by the Illinois Department of Health.  Bed bugs, unlike other parasitic critters, thrive by keeping their hosts alive, near and unaware.  They operate in the dead of night; they inject an anesthetic when biting to avoid detection; many humans, including us, do not exhibit bite marks; and they do not transmit disease.   All of those characteristics made it possible that our bugs came from Cincinnati almost six years earlier, though I suspect they were more recent travelers from some other destination.  It’s just that the Cincinnati room was the only one where I’m sure we had bugs.

There are two main methods of extermination, one is to hire a professional exterminator and the other is a do it yourself “mechanical disruption” which involves intense cleaning, repeated vacuuming and removing the hosts.  I decided on the latter because we could easily relocate to a different bedroom in our house and we have hardwood floors which makes the cleaning and disruption much easier than with carpets.  Of course we disposed of the mattresses and bedding, and purchased mattress covers for all others in our house.  I taped off the many crevices and removed all items from areas where I knew they hid out.  I sprayed the known areas with a retail product and vacuumed daily for several days and then only when a bug was detected. 

Working against me was the fact that bed bugs have been known to survive up to six months without feeding; working for me was the fact that they generally will not travel more than twenty feet in search of a host, being more inclined to stay put for a host to return.  We never found evidence of bugs spreading outside our bedroom so we remained secure in the bedroom where we relocated.  At two months I decided to try sleeping on an air mattress, easy to vacuum, in our infested bedroom.  Unfortunately, I detected a presence.  At about five months we purchased a new bed and mattress that could be placed on bug traps (they’re like a round plastic maze) and away from previously infested areas.  We successfully slept in our own bedroom, with the bed backwards, for three months with no sign of bugs.  We then were able to restore and use our bedroom as we had seven months earlier, sans bugs, our battle ending in total victory for the humans, proving I am smarter than a bed bug.

Now enter the limited thinkers at the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, and their echo tank the 1889 Institute.  They have mindlessly argued for cutting Oklahoma’s public education expenditures for twenty-five years and it looks like their advocacy has succeeded as described in these posts from the Oklahoma Policy Institute:  OK Policy K12 Cuts  and  OK Policy Higher Ed Cuts.  The OCPA has never met a tax cut or service reduction they don’t like.  Their mission, based on the whims of their donors, is to always advocate for less government spending and taxation regardless of the facts, sound policy or common sense.  One has to wonder if they have ever pondered the economic success stories of places that have little in natural resources to extract and sell, like Silicon Valley, the Boston/Cambridge metro area, Hong Kong, London and the list can go on.  What distinguishes these economic engines is not low taxes and skimpy public services, but rather a coming together of a highly educated workforce coupled with access to world-class research institutions and smart public services, like public transportation, airports, harbors, schools, etc., that facilitate their economic success. 

Like bed bugs, leaders of these successful economic engines understand that for them to thrive their hosts, i.e. public education and infrastructure, must maintain vitality.  Unfortunately, the Limited Thinkers at the OCPA and 1889 Institute are not as smart as bed bugs.  They view taxes and government spending as a zero sum game and prefer to starve their host communities of essential collective services failing to recognize that smart investments can be made by public, as well as private, entities.  If they had their way there would be no Cal Berkley, no interstate highway system, no public health research (like that produced by Illinois that I used to defeat bed bugs), and no “Greatest Generation” educated through the G. I. Bill.  Where they do want to direct public funds is to their private donor companies promoting virtual charter schools without accountability and individualized retirement savings for public employees with higher fees and lower returns.

Enough of that; you get the point.  It’s my birthday (I’m a 70 year old Geezer, Not An Old Geezer Yet) and I’m taking a break from doing real research to brag about my success conquering bed bugs and vent a little–like the OCPA/1889 limited thinkers regularly do.  As always lunch on me to the first to ID the photo location.   




Declaration of Intelligence



Oklahoma’s Capitol Building (taken by a kind construction worker)

It’s been about a year since I began this Blog for my own mental exercise and to engage in the public dialog afforded by our democracy.  I intended to do a kind of year in review and decided, after listening to the reading of our Declaration of Independence on National Public Radio as I have on many past Independence Days, to do so in the style of that most sacred document of our collective journey in democracy.   So here it is.

Declaration of Intelligence

When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for one Thinker to dissolve any respect which may have connected him with others and to assume going forward an expectation that such other thinkers will consistently fail to meet even minimal standards of research and reasoning,  losing respect among the populace of Oklahoma, the better and higher station to which the Laws of Economics and of Fact-Based Research entitle him, a decent respect to the opinion of his fellow Okies requires that he should declare the causes which impel him to the separation.

I hold these truths to be self-evident, that all thinkers are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable intellectual abilities, that among these are Empathy, Reasoning and the pursuit of Knowledge. That to develop these abilities, Governmental and other schools are instituted to educate thinkers, deriving their purpose from the consent of the governed.

That whenever any thinkers about Government become destructive of its just ends, it is the Right of the People to ignore or to ridicule them, and to support new thinkers about Government, laying their foundation on such reason and understanding about its function in the economy and state, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Prosperity and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that thinkers about Government long established should not be challenged for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that people are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by ignoring the thinkers to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and willful neglect of reason, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to seduce them under a spell of false Economics and Public Policy, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such limited thinkers about Government, and to support new Guides for their future prosperity. Such has been the patient sufferance of these Okies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to discard their former Limited Thinkers about Government. The history of the present Tanks of Limited Thinkers, the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs and its echo tank The 1889 Institute, is a history of repeated injuries, shoddy research and fallacious reasoning, all having in direct object the establishment of false Economics and Policy over our State. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

They have distorted facts and logic to deprive state and education workers of a dependable retirement income at greater expense to taxpayers (Hello World, A Turkish de Fright, Fouling Our Nest….Egg, What’s Up Doc? or Should Teachers Eat A Carrot? and When Two Wrongs Make A Right);

They disparage our children’s teachers, publish inconsistent and exaggerated per pupil expenditure data and, while advocating accessing the public purse for private school education, do not ascertain the number of pupils to be so financed and their cost, thus demonstrating their inability to do even the most basic research (This is too much fun, In A Flash);

They advocate the abrogation of contracts, fiscal profligacy and violation of state law in order to deceive the public about the financial status of its various school districts, demonstrating their utter void of understanding about the constitutional and statutory framework by which said school districts must abide (Where to begin);

They fail to understand and apply simple concepts of economic logic presented to introductory students for decades such as the avoidance of double counting and the Paradox of Thrift (Paradox, Double, Double, Toil and Trouble);

They use baseless assumptions and misleading calculations to misinform taxpayers about the true cost of public pensions, all in a likely effort to increase the fee and management income of their benefactors while damaging the financial security of state and education employees (Lies, Damn lies);

They have denied the adverse impact on the State’s revenues and services caused by their advocacy of demonstrably false “Supply Side” tax cuts for the wealthy using distorted and uninformed financial data (Waiting for Dave);

They have falsely represented on statewide television inconsequential legislation as a source of “$100 million in savings on employee health insurance” that could be used to finance pay raises for Oklahoma teachers when in fact health insurance costs have increased (WaitingSomething Special, Done Waiting for Mr. Bond);

They advocate the wasteful and nonsensical imposition of sales taxes on purchases by the state and its political subdivisions, demonstrating their maniacal commitment to the reduction of all publicly financed activities and improvements (lighthouses, The 64 Million Dollar Question);

They consistently advocate the use of one-time funding for recurring expenses of our state’s school districts, thus encouraging fiscally irresponsible action (done waiting);

They advocate increasing teacher compensation by laying off other school employees, deceptively labeled as administrators, without making any reasonable inquiry or conducting any meaningful research about the purpose and necessity of the work they perform for the children of our state, demonstrating their disregard for informed public policy (A dirge for a surge; Purging the Surge, The Ugly Step-Thinker);

They have falsely and relentlessly peddled misinformation assuring the public that school districts have sufficient funding to increase their teachers’ compensation (the glib, the bad, and the ugly);

They have advocated the removal of regulations to permit private companies to pollute the air we breathe, spoil our sources of drinking water, damage the health and safety of our children, and monopolize the provision of essential products and services without constraint of price, by selectively citing only the costs of implementing said regulations without citing the offsetting and exceeding benefits to our state and its people (o regulation, Onward to the Past);

They hypocritically extol the virtues of a national electoral system that can anoint the choice of a minority of voters as the winner while bemoaning the results of local school elections because only a minority exercise their right to vote (crybabies);

They employ simplistic and deceptive graphing techniques to obscure the underlying data relationships and to provide false support for their preconceived conclusions, demonstrating either their inability to analyze data or their intent to mislead the public (short and not the point);

They use selective and elective medical procedures market outcomes to generalize the impact their unrealistic, short-sighted and parsimonious policies would have on the provision of and payment for essential health care services needed to maintain the health and productivity of our nation’s workforce (Spoonful, Dennis Not The Menace, Not An Old Geezer Yet, Looking for Mr. James);

They consistently present ill-researched, glib and incomplete analyses of the effectiveness of governmental services at all levels to further their agenda of delivering tax reduction for their benefactors (they made it look, Shooting Fish in a Tank, Who Wants to be a Billionaire?, Freedom From Want, There’s No Such Thing as a Free Lunch);

They present data and policy recommendations concerning Oklahoma teachers’ compensation that are bereft of reason, accuracy and understanding of fundamental school district finance and public pension actuarial analysis (miserable);

When their rantings are challenged based on facts and reason they resort to baseless threats and name-calling (you’re not in);

They claim intelligent thought based on their doctoral credentials but produce clearly erroneous data grossly exaggerating the level of teacher compensation in Oklahoma, inflated calculations to support their fantasy of diseconomies of scale among school districts and an incorrect description of the growth in per pupil expenditures, demonstrating either ignorance of economics and statistics or an intent to deceive (double, A Rise By Any Other Name); and

 They copy and present graphic data that is clearly erroneous, in excess of one billion dollars, in support of their conclusions, and show no curiosity, or perhaps ability, to understand a billion dollar deviation (unbelievable, There You Go Again).

In every stage of these Transgressions I have Posted my Correction in the simplest terms: My repeated Posts have been answered only by repeated injury. A Tank, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Limited Thinker, is unfit to be an advisor to a free people.

Nor have I been wanting in attentions to our Policy-Makers. I have warned them from time to time of attempts by these Tanks to extend an unwarrantable influence over them. I have reminded them of the circumstances of our progress and improvement here. I have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and I have conjured them by the ties of common sense to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our progress as a state. They too often have been deaf to the voice of justice and of reason. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity of our improvement as a state, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, accountable for their intentional and glib acts, but still as Friends.

I, therefore, the Oklahoma Councilor for Public Accountability, a Thinker, appealing to the Readers of this Blog for the rectitude of my intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good reason and fact-based research, solemnly publish and declare, That all Oklahomans of Right ought to be Free and Independent of the unreasoned and harmful Tank-based Limited Thinkers of the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs and its echo tank The 1889 Institute; and that as Free and Independent Thinkers, we have full Power to ignore their Limited Thinking which Independent Thinkers may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of rational thought and sound research, do pledge to hold them accountable for another year—though maybe not as often.

Oklahoma Councilor for Public Accountability

As always lunch is on me for the first to ID the introductory photo location.  ID’d by Peg Gotthold.