1889 Institute and Goldwater Institute (Phoenix, AZ) Jointly Publish an Alternative to Occupational Licensing - November 15, 2018 - coauthored by Byron Schlomach (1889 Institute), Christina Sandefur (Goldwater Institute) and Murray Feldstein (Goldwater Institute) and published jointly with the Goldwater Institute in Phoenix, AZ, this plan provides model bill language for states to create a more competitive and open system of professional credentialing. Private certification, as outlined and described, would provide for competitive credentialing that would lower prices of services for consumers and provide them better information, as well as create more opportunity for potential service providers, as compared to licensing.
To download a copy of the press release, click here. To read the paper in pdf format, click on the title: A Win-Win for Consumers and Professionals Alike: An Alternative to Occupational Licensing.
1889 Institute Adds Research Fellow to Staff - November 5, 2018 - The 1889 Institute welcomes Michael R. Davis to its team. He will serve as the Institute's Legal Fellow, a position designed to expand the Institute's impact devising policies that benefit all Oklahomans and help to make the state more prosperous. Mike will work in a variety of policy areas, including using his skills as an attorney to assist the Institute's Legal Fellow.
For more on Michael Davis's background and the Research Fellow position, click here for a copy of the press release.
1889 Institute adds Legal Fellow to Staff - October 1, 2018 - The 1889 Institute welcomes Benjamin Lepak to its team. He will serve as the Institute's Legal Fellow, a position designed to move the policy conversation in the state increasingly toward fidelity to the rule of law. There are no plans for the 1889 Institute’s Legal Fellow to litigate. Lepak’s responsibilities include research into whether state and local policy practices are fully consistent with the state constitution and have a true basis in written law.
For more on Benjamin Lepak's background and the Legal Fellow position, click here for a copy of the press release.
1889 Institute publishes "Straight Talk on Public Education"- July 25, 2018 - a compilation of historical and current Oklahoma and national public education statistics as well as a short history of public education in the United States, in an effort to counter some of the mythology that has arisen around public education. It looks at statistics and history objectively, leading to basic, inevitable conclusions. For example: from 1950 to 2000, real spending per student rose 200 percent; real teacher salaries rose 33 percent; in 2017, only 16 percent of Oklahoma’s high school seniors were college-ready on all four of ACT’s benchmarks while 42 percent of seniors did not meet a single college-ready benchmark; and the system has been shamed, prodded, threatened, begged, encouraged, asked, sued, pandered to, and bribed.
1889 Institute calls for restructuring boards and commissions- May 29, 2018 - Legislatures give too little thought to the institutional structures of boards and commissions. Special interests are given outsize representation on bodies intended to regulate those very interests. The result is that the regulated become the regulators. Legislatures must stop creating governance structures where conflicts of interest, self-dealing, and groupthink are to be expected
1889 Institute calls for end to most social worker licensing - April 25, 2018 - There is no public interest justification for continued licensure of most social workers. Most states do not require social workers with a bachelor's degree to be licensed, with Oklahoma being an exception. Only clinical social workers practice independently and since their scope of practice overlaps that of licensed psychologists, we do not call for an end licensing clinical social workers. Otherwise, neither of two conditions that must simultaneously exist to justify occupational licensing are present for social workers. These are, first, that there must be real, significant risk for patrons, and, second, there must be little or no market and legal incentives for service providers to take proper precautions.
1889 Institute points out that school districts control their destiny - March 29, 2018 - School districts now have the power to free themselves of many of the rules and regulations imposed by the state. Local school boards can unilaterally designate all, or any part, of a school that they oversee as a conversion school, which subject to the same laws as a charter school, but does not have an independent board. Unlike a charter, the district maintains full control and funding is unaffected. The conversion school law opens up many opportunities for innovation, one being teacher managed micro-schools. A district could designate rooms in existing schools as part of a conversion school and allow qualified teachers to create their own one-room micro-schools with reimbursement by the district on a per-student basis.
To download a copy of the press release, click here. To read the paper in pdf format, click on the title: Conversion Schools: Local Districts Have No Excuse. Click here for a summary.
1889 Institute calls for end to pedorthist licensing - February 23, 2018 - There is no public interest justification for continued licensure of pedorthists (customized orthotics, shoes, and ankle supports). Thirty-five states do not license pedorthic services and Oklahoma only requires it where doctors write prescriptions for custom foot devices. This short study, or Policy Suggestion, explains that neither of two conditions that must simultaneously exist to justify occupational licensing are present for pedorthic services. These are, first, that there must be real, significant risk for patrons, and, second, there must be little or no market and legal incentives for service providers to take proper precautions.
To download a copy of the press release, click here. To read the paper in pdf format, click on the title: Pedorthist (Custom Orthotics, etc.) Licensure in Oklahoma.
1889 Institute calls for end to electrology licensing - January 3, 2018 - There is no public interest justification for continued licensure of electrologists (permanent hair removal using electricity). Eighteen states do not license electrology and Oklahoma has the most onerous licensing requirements of the 32 that do. This short study, or Policy Prescription, explains that neither of two conditions that must simultaneously exist to justify occupational licensing are present for electrology. These are, first, that there must be real, significant risk for patrons, and, second, there must be little or no market and legal incentives for service providers to take proper precautions.
To download a copy of the press release, click here. To read the paper in pdf format, click on the title: Electrologist (Hair Removal) Licensure in Oklahoma.
Paper published suggesting how Oklahoma's school finance system can be simplified - December 11, 2017 - The paper proposes reducing the number of categories by which students are classified and counted since Oklahoma’s funding system inflates student counts in each school district according to student characteristics for funding purposes. It proposes the elimination of several categories and restructuring of others. Three reform scenarios are modeled for 10 sample districts based on the 2016-17 school year, leaving total funding unchanged. Insights from this exercise include that Oklahoma overfunds early childhood and gifted education, and the number of economically disadvantaged students is greatly overstated in the funding system.
To download a copy of the press release, click here. To read the paper in pdf format, click on the title: Making Oklahoma's School Funding More Rational: Simplifying the WADM Calculation.
1889 Institute publishes database of public school mandates imposed in Oklahoma - October 8, 2017 - The database, made available to the public as a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet file, documents approximately 640 mandates imposed on Oklahoma's public schools by statute and rule. They are listed in seven sections, including: administration/organization, attendance/placement, facilities, curriculum/instruction, personnel, non-instructional services, and non-public school mandates. By far, the bulk are in the administration/organization category. They include a requirement that school libraries have "adequate lighting" and another that a committee meet to determine if a child with AIDS can attend school. For a brief introduction to the database, see "School Mandates: So What?" Download a copy of the press release by clicking here.
1889 Institute publishes paper documenting nonprofit hospitals' riches - September 28, 2017 - The paper documents the financial truth regarding Oklahoma’s nonprofit hospitals from their publicly available Form 990 tax filings. The authors expose the falsehood that nonprofit hospitals are near financial ruin and must have more taxpayer money to survive. Facts the study highlights include
To read the paper in pdf format, click on the title: The Profitability of Nonprofit Hospitals: Do They Really Need More Money?
1889 Institute calls for end to funeral director and embalmer licensing - June 12, 2017 - There is no public interest justification for the continued licensure of the occupations regulated under the Oklahoma Funeral Services Licensing Act. Colorado does not license funeral services. This short study, or Policy Prescription, explains that neither of two conditions that must simultaneously exist to justify occupational licensing are present for funeral services. These are, first, that there must be real, significant risk for patrons, and, second, there must be little or no market and legal incentives for service providers to take proper precautions. To download a copy of the press release, click here.
To read the paper in pdf format, click on the title: Funeral Director and Embalmer Licensure in Oklahoma.
1889 Institute publishes National Center for Education Statistics and Census data showing large 16 and 20-fold increases in inflation-adjusted per student spending in public education in the last 100 years in the U.S. and Oklahoma, respectively - May 8, 2017.At the same time, the pupil/teacher ratio has halved, and inflation-adjusted teacher pay has increased by a factor of 5 times at the national level. Oklahoma exhibits a similar pattern. From 1960 to 2013, national per-student spending had increased $9,350 in 2015 dollars, but less than half of that increase, $4,200, can be explained by the lower pupil/teacher ratio and the rise in teacher salaries during that time.
1889 Institute publishes paper suggesting large school districts should be broken up – April 24, 2017. The paper presents data from the Oklahoma Department of Education regarding the state’s 500 school districts. Those with fewer than 500 students, numbering 300, make up a large proportion of the state’s districts, but they spend only a third of what is spent by the 12 school districts with more than 10,000 students. Very small districts and very large districts spend similar amounts of money per student, but large districts have a lot more kids. The study shows that while there are potential savings from consolidating some small districts, there are much greater potential savings from dividing the state’s very large districts.
To read the paper in pdf format, click on the title:Saving Money: School District Consolidation vs. Breaking Up Big Districts. For a copy of the press release, clickhere.
1889 Institute publishes wind power study that dispute's wind generation's effectiveness - April 11, 2017. Wind generation fails to provide environmental or fiscal benefits according to a paper authored by Professor of Economics and energy expert, Robert Michaels, of California State University, Fullerton. The study thoroughly looks at Oklahoma’s electrical transmission and wind generation situation. The analysis strongly suggests that “the utility-scale wind industry will not survive in competitive power markets unless it is subsidized.” Dr. Michaels makes it clear that the real-world tradeoffs involved with wind power make it neither the cleanest or cheapest alternative right now, because wind power’s necessary back-up is dirty, fossil-fuel generation. Along with Dr. Michaels’ thorough discussion of wind power’s economics, Dr. Schlomach authors a concluding section exploring wind power’s surprisingly small contribution to school revenues . Oklahoma State University entrepreneurship professor, Per Bylund, authors a short discussion of the negatives that result from tax credit subsidies. And, CATO Institute climate expert, Paul C. Knappenberger, discusses the modest, but expensive, impact of wind power in reducing CO2 emissions.
Press Release.To read the paper in pdf format, click on the title: Wind Energy in Oklahoma: A Costly Solution in Search of a Problem. For a summary of the paper, click here.
1889 Institute recommends block-granting money for teacher raises - March 24, 2017- The 1889 Institute has called for the legislature to grant any funds for the purpose of increasing the state’s average teacher salary to school districts on a student-count, pro-rata basis, leaving districts to decide which specific teachers receive raises and by how much. This recommendation is contained in the second of two studies, “Teacher Pay: Facts to Consider”which presents facts regarding teacher pay, and “Raising Teacher Pay: Things to Consider and Do”which looks at cost and policy issues involved in providing for a teacher pay raise. Neither report takes a position on whether the state should fund a pay raise or how much a raise should be. The Institute found that Oklahoma’s average teacher salary is $1,000 higher now than in 2000, even after adjusting for inflation, average teacher salaries peaked in 2010, when federal money insulated education from the national recession, and were Oklahoma’s non-teaching personnel reduced so teachers comprised 55 percent of school staff, as in 2000, enough money could be freed for a nearly $10,000 average teacher pay raise.
To read the papers in pdf format, click on the titles above. A summary of both papers in Word is providedhere.
1889 Institute says "Abolish the Incentive Evaluation Commission" - March 15, 2017 - The 1889 Institute has issued a study critical of the Incentive Evaluation Commission's first tax incentive report. The IEC was created to review Oklahoma's many tax incentives for industry over a period of years. In their first round of recommendations, they suggest repealing only four of eleven reviewed incentives. The Institute suggests repealing nine. Apparently, the IEC is more interested in the status quo than real reform, having made unique recommendations with only $3 million in financial impact. Therefore, the author of the 1889 Institute's report suggests that the IEC should be abolished. To download a copy of the press release, click here.
To read the paper in pdf format, click on the title: Critique of the Incentive Evaluation Commission’s
Tax Incentive Evaluation Report: 2016.For a copy of the summary, click here.
1889 Institute calls for end to cosmetology/barbering licensing - March 9, 2017 - There is no public interest justification for the continued licensure of the occupations regulated by the Oklahoma Cosmetology and Barbering Act. Under the Act, Oklahoma even licenses hair braiding, an occupation that has proven safe in other states where it is not licensed. Great Britain does not license barbering. This short study, or Policy Prescription, from the 1889 Institute explains that neither of two conditions that must simultaneously exist to justify occupational licensing are present for barbering and cosmetology. These are, first, that there must be real, significant risk for patrons, and, second, there must be little or no market and legal incentives for service providers to take proper precautions. To download a copy of the press release, click here.
To read the paper in pdf format, click on the title: Barbering and Cosmetology Licensure in Oklahoma.
1889 Institute publishes a proposal for universal school choice - January 18, 2017- The state would offer every public-school-age child an Education Savings Account (ESA). ESAs are state-funded and administered accounts that pay for educational services for children as directed by their parents. Funds can be used for educational purposes such as private school tuition, tutoring, books, and online materials. Leftover ESA funds may be spent on college and career education. The amount of the proposed ESA is $4,500 per child per year, which parents are free to supplement. This amount produces savings when compared to about $7,500 in variable cost savings that would result from a child leaving public school in favor of an ESA. At maturity, an ESA program of the proposed design could save the state over $500 million per year. Children currently in private schools would be eligible for ESAs under this proposal. To download a copy of the press release, clickhere.
To read the paper in pdf format, click on the title: A Truly Universal Education Savings Account Proposal, Including Fiscal Implications.For a summary of the paper, click here.
Evidence for a teacher shortage in Oklahoma is found wanting according to newly released paper - October 26, 2016 - The one professional-quality study that looked at hard numbers estimates a demand/supply imbalance for teachers of 0.62 percent. Such a very small shortage can be eliminated by moving the student/teacher ratio from its current 16.3 to 16.4. If Oklahoma's student/teacher ratio equaled Indiana’s (17.5), roughly $127 million would be freed up to be redistributed within public education. Oklahoma’s student/teacher ratio in 1975 was 19.8 and even the Brookings Institute has acknowledged that the costly experiment with smaller class sizes has failed to benefit students. We found that 41 percent of emergency certifications in 2015 and 2016 were for elementary education and early childhood. Most of the candidates for such emergency certifications were clearly subject-qualified judging by their undergraduate majors. Oklahoma has, at worst, a trivial teacher shortage, and might have a surplus. To download a copy of the press release, click here.