Budget & Tax , Higher Education

Let’s prioritize Oklahoma workforce needs

Brandon Dutcher | October 26, 2023

Browse the classes being offered next semester at the University of Central Oklahoma (UCO) and you will find “Intersectionality and Feminism,” a course which “explores how and why feminist scholars and activists have applied the insights of intersectionality, and analytical perspective that explains how overlapping categories of identity (including, but not limited to, class, race, ethnicity, and sexual orientation) intersect with gender and gender identity to perpetuate social hierarchies.”

Other UCO courses available next semester include “Feminist and Queer Theory,” “Sociology of Gender,” and “Marginalization, Identities, and Social Justice.”

It’s not just UCO, of course. Whether it’s OU paying men thousands of dollars to dress up as hypersexualized caricatures of women, or OSU advertising a Drag Queen Story Hour “geared towards ages 2-8,” the rot in Oklahoma’s higher-education system is widespread.

It’s time for state lawmakers and Gov. Kevin Stitt to redirect funding to more productive uses. Testifying at a Senate Education Committee interim study on Oct. 18 (go to the 10:53 AM mark), OCPA president Jonathan Small recommended reducing higher-ed appropriations and using that money to create an “Oklahoma Workforce Needs” fund within the Oklahoma Department of Commerce.

This program “could provide students with $10,000 a year towards tuition and fees if they enroll in a science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) program. Those degrees provide significant ROI for students and Oklahoma has a shortage of STEM-degree holders,” Small explained in a recent article. “The ‘Oklahoma Workforce Needs’ fund could pay for students to attend not just public universities [OU, OSU, UCO, et al.], but also for-profit and private colleges, expanding opportunity for Oklahoma youth and boosting the number of potential graduates in high-need fields.”

That makes a lot more sense than spending taxpayer dollars on curricula and programs that are frivolous or (worse yet) downright destructive.

Brandon Dutcher Senior Vice President

Brandon Dutcher

Senior Vice President

Brandon Dutcher is OCPA’s senior vice president. Originally an OCPA board member, he joined the staff in 1995. Dutcher received his bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Oklahoma. He received a master’s degree in journalism and a master’s degree in public policy from Regent University. Dutcher is listed in the Heritage Foundation Guide to Public Policy Experts, and is editor of the book Oklahoma Policy Blueprint, which was praised by Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman as “thorough, well-informed, and highly sophisticated.” His award-winning articles have appeared in Investor’s Business Daily, WORLD magazine,,, The Oklahoman, the Tulsa World, and 200 newspapers throughout Oklahoma and the U.S. He and his wife, Susie, have six children and live in Edmond.

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