Analysis of Teacher Pay taking cost of living into account released - August 8, 2016 - Since the main argument for a teacher pay increase appears to be that Oklahoma’s average teacher salary is 48th in the nation, it is imperative that such a statistic be put in its fullest economic context. As the analysis demonstrates, Oklahoma can pay competitively with a 48th ranking in teacher pay because Oklahoma is 49th in cost of living. The 2-page analysis shows that when cost of living is taken into account, Oklahoma ranks 30th in teacher pay. A $5,000 pay raise would raise the state’s teacher pay ranking, accounting for cost of living, to 15th, just behind Texas. A mere $2,100 raise would move Oklahoma to 24th, outranking California, Massachusetts, Maryland, and Missouri, with cost of living taken into account. To download a copy of the press release, click here.
To read the analysis in pdf format, click on the title: Oklahoma's Teacher Pay: 30th, Not 48th.
Paper critical of occupational licensing released - September 29, 2016 - Occupational licensing limits work opportunity, redistributes income from lower to higher income individuals, increases the cost of living, limits innovation, and leads to more licenTo read the paper in pdf, format, click on the title: sing. There is little evidence that occupational licensing effectively protects the public, yet where only 5 percent of the workforce was subject to licensing in 1950, now it is 29 percent. Oklahoma has the 11th most burdensome licensing laws in the nation according to the Institute for Justice. This paper makes recommendations for reforms to reduce dependence on occupational licensing. To download a copy of the press release, click here.
To read the paper in pdf format, click on the title: The Need to Review and Reform Occupational Licensing in Oklahoma. For a summary of the paper, click here.
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, click here.
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 provided here.
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, click here.
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.
Paper recommending reform or even repeal of Oklahoma's Tax Increment Finance district (TIF) law released - August 22, 2016 - TIFs redirect increased in sales and/or property taxes that occur within a district after the TIF is created to the TIF and away from the wider city, town, or county that created it. While TIF spending is often legitimate public spending, TIFs are the wrong mechanism for that spending. Some TIF spending directly transfers tax dollars to private real estate developers and businesses with no real positive economic impact in a state or community. TIF districts like those in Oklahoma City spend money that would otherwise go to schools while the rest of the state picks up the financial slack for schools. Several reforms to Oklahoma’s TIF law are suggested. To download a copy of the press release, click here.
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