Let’s Be Frank About It

White Sands Nat. Mon., N. M.; ID’d by Linda Ford Murphy

Since my last post this Thinker has been traveling and mastering QuickBooks so I have had little time to check up on the Limited Thinkers at the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs and their echo tank the 1889 Institute.  However, I have new thinker photos to share and I saw the announcement this week that five former Oklahoma governors, including Frank Keating, are endorsing the Step Up Oklahoma initiative to address our state’s budget crisis and to fund teacher pay raises.  Here it is:

State’s five living former governors proclaim support for Step Up Oklahoma plan…Former Gov. Keating described Step Up Oklahoma’s proposal as a “lifeline.”

You see Frank Keating is on the Board of Directors of the OCPA which, for the almost two years I’ve been following their “research”, has tirelessly pushed the narrative that there is plenty of funding available for teacher pay raises and anything else essential for state government to do if we’d just cut out the waste, fraud and abuse and prioritize services using markets, freedom and liberty to guide us.  So it is quite funny, to this Thinker anyhow, to see the OCPA’s highest profile board member come out in favor of raising more revenue, yes increasing taxes, to right our state’s structural budget deficit and fund teacher pay raises.

Thus motivated I tore myself away from the intrigues of QuickBooks to check out the OCPA’s latest “Education Freedom” blog posts and was rewarded with The Truth About Education Spending, Relax School Regulations, Expand Parental Choice in Education, Give School Districts Flexibility to Raise Teacher Pay, and a couple of anti-OEA (the big, bad teachers union) posts thrown in for good measure.  They seem to be on a tear pushing their conclusions without, as usual, any real research, just a biased survey here, one bad apple school district there, and a regurgitation of stuff educators are required to do (see Accountability at a Glance from the State Department of Education website).  But all together it is more “sound and fury, signifying nothing” that will fund teacher pay raises or right our state’s budget.

A year ago, after the failure of the Boren led penny sales tax initiative (State Question 779), I wrote The Glib, The Bad and The Ugly  , summarizing my earlier critiques of how the OCPA has advocated funding teacher pay raises:  with a made up $100 million (the Glib), by imprudently using one-time fund balances to finance recurring salaries (the Bad), and by laying off teacher assistants, bus drivers, cooks and custodians in sufficient numbers to free up the money (the Ugly).  I’ve addressed their other feeble efforts in posts such as  Shooting Fish in a Tank  .

So now when the chips are down at the Capitol, why isn’t Frank advocating one or more of the “fellows” proposals?  More to the point why does Frank lend his name to the OCPA’s ongoing silliness so bereft of actual thought, research and understanding?

It must be a nice gig to be an OCPA fellow–just show up each day, hammer out a few hundred words of text, interspersed with a few buzz words like “markets”, “choice”, “freedom”, “entrepreneurial”, etc. and get paid for it.  But now when the highest profile member of your Board ain’t buying your drivel and instead is advocating tax increases, perhaps the limited thinkers are getting a little nervous.  At least they should be embarrassed because, Frankly, the real thinkers in our state aren’t catching what they’re pitching.

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

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