Saturday, April 26, 2008

by Steve Fair
The Office of Accountability published a report on Oklahoma education 18 months ago called Profiles 2006. This report is available at your local library. It provides a detailed report on all 540 school districts in the state. It compares the demographics and performance of each district against the state average.
Some interesting stats that Oklahoma citizens should know are listed below:
  • The educational attainment of the state's population over age 25 in the year 2000 was as follows: College degree- 26%, High School Diploma/Some College- 55%, Less than a High School Diploma- 19%.
  • The Oklahoma college completion rate for college students who graduated from an Oklahoma public high school is 42.7%.
  • The average population of an Oklahoma school district is 6.390.
  • In 2000, public school enrollment in Oklahoma by race was: 59%- Caucasian, 2%- Asian, 9%-Hispanic, 11%- African American, 19%-Native American.
  • In the 2005-06 school year, 55.5% of all students in Oklahoma public schools qualified for the reduced price lunch program. Eligibility has increased over 10% in the past ten years in the Sooner state.
  • 13% of all students in the state qualify for the gifted/talented program. This has not increased over the past decade.
  • 15% of all Oklahoma students qualify to Special Education Programs- up from 12% in past 10 years.
  • 27% of regular classroom teachers in Oklahoma hold advanced degrees- down in the past 20 years by 14%
  • "Like classroom teachers, administrators is another key ingredient of education." "The 2005-2006 school year saw a 4% increase in the number of administrators from the previous year." In 2005-06, there were 3,418 administers in the 540 districts statewide. That is an average of 6.3 administers per district. On average, each administer supervised 12.2 teachers in the 2005-06 year. The average experience that each possessed was 22 years.
  • The State Funding Formula for Education uses several factors including- WEIGHTED AVERAGE DAILY MEMBERSHIP. WADM takes into account the factors of students and teachers. In WADM, students and teachers are given values based on experience, education, age, grade, mental and physical condition.
  • The funding formula includes three types of state aid- Foundation Aid which is reduced by the amount available locally. Transportation Aid uses a per capita formula on how many students are being hauled. Teacher Salary Incentive is an incentive amount multiplied by the WADM and adjust by local district factors and then multiplied by 20 mils.
  • The 38,505 classroom teachers in Oklahoma average salary in 2005-06 was $37,103. The average teacher has 16.8 students per class.
  • There were a total of 625,030 students in Oklahoma public schools in 2005-06.
  • Oklahoma spends $6,520 per student annually on public education. The national average is $8,600.

Before you panic, please understand Oklahoma's per capita income is about 75-80% of the national average, so Oklahoma is funding education at a rate consistent with our per capita income. The problem is we have too many districts and too many administrators. When we have an average of seven(7) districts per county, consolidation is something we have to thinking about. Infrastructure and administration sharing should be a no-brainer, but the powerful education lobby will not hear of something so practical, logical and forward thinking. I would encourage you to find Profiles 2006 and study this report. While not openly critical of Oklahoma's public education system, the report does point out glaring gaps that Oklahoma taxpayers have to address.


Brandon Dutcher said...

The most important school reform we could enact in Oklahoma is some sort of school choice. See

Steve Fair is a Jelly Salesman. said...


I agree wholeheartedly, but at some point we have to bring up the "C" word. Thanks for your comment.


Lawton_Anime said...

Thank goodness for the institutions such as The Office of Accountability, which at the national level bring us concise information regarding the status of education at the state level across the nation. If a few out there had their way they would have these institutions as well as the Department of education removed strictly since it violates their senses of constitutionality. I do believe your take on the report is correct; while not being openly critical of the state of Oklahoma as you said, it does provide to us, a critical assessment of a situation that is not too good especially when you see that meanwhile we do have an extensive rural population, we do have more districts and administrators than would be advised... we even have more than California.

Kyle (sorry for the longwinded comment)