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Oklahoma Education Spending Continues to Rise

July 10, 2017 - 11:35am CDT

By Byron Schlomach

In a recent policy brief published by the 1889 Institute (“Public Education Spending in a Historical Context”), I made the case that Americans have lavished more resources on public education than even the National Education Association would have dreamed of a hundred years ago.

The idea that public schools in the United States in 2017 are being starved of what they need to fulfill their task, given the history of public education funding, is more than a stretch. Given the facts, it is more than reasonable to ask: (1) Where are all the resources going? and (2) Why can’t the schools do more with what they have?

Based on the evidence I compiled, it can definitely be said that new resources are not flowing to the classroom, either in the form of more teachers or better teacher pay. The answer to the second question has many potential answers, but the evidence is that it should certainly be possible.

And what about Oklahoma? As the table and figures below make clear, Oklahoma shows the same basic pattern as the nation.

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Byron Schlomach (Ph.D. in economics, Texas A&M University) is state policy director for the 1889 Institute, an independent research organization. He is a scholar-in-residence at the Institute for the Study of Free Enterprise at Oklahoma State University. He previously served as director of the Center for Economic Prosperity at the Goldwater Institute, and prior to that was chief economist for the Texas Public Policy Foundation.