News of Oklahoma’s struggling public education system has now reached London, where the legendary news magazine The Economist published an analysis this week of the state’s pervasive and seemingly insurmountable school funding issues.
The article noted that many districts have reconciled to four-day school weeks, while teachers in the Sooner State haven’t received a raise in a decade. Many teachers have moved across state lines to Texas or Arkansas, where a relocation of a few miles can mean a pay raise of $10,000.
The Economist traces many of the state’s education woes to the shale boom of 2008 when, in a sweetheart deal, state legislators lowered the tax on horizontal drilling to as little as 1%, rather than raising taxes and diverting funds to schools. As a result, oil producers got rich while Oklahoma’s students continue to pay the price.