End duplicative teacher-preparation funds
February 17, 2012
Oklahoma government spending is at an all-time-high.
One of the areas of duplicative spending in state government is funding for the Oklahoma Commission for Teacher Preparation (OCTP). According to the commission’s website, the OCTP’s mission is “to develop, implement, and facilitate competency-based teacher preparation, candidate assessment, and professional development systems.” Since its creation, taxpayers have provided appropriations of more than $29 million to the OCTP, including the $1,526,179 appropriated to the agency for FY-2012.
Despite poor results, total state spending on education has grown from $3.53 billion in FY-2005 to $4.57 billion in FY-2011—an increase of 29.4 percent in six years. Excluding funds for OCTP, taxpayers already spend billions of dollars on other state agencies, such as the State Department of Education, Career Tech, state aid for common education, the OETA, and (most relevant to this discussion) billions of taxpayer funds for subsidized colleges and universities. These government entities should already “implement and facilitate competency-based teacher preparation, candidate assessment, and professional development systems”—particularly the institutions granting bachelor’s degrees and higher. Why should Oklahoma taxpayers have to pay for this twice?
Teachers are professionals. Once they enter the workforce, they, like many other professionals, are now providing a service to their particular employer and their local community. Locally benefiting employers, communities, and teachers should bear the costs for any licensing, credentialing, and additional training or development—just as is the case with many other professions that do not receive taxpayer funds.
Just like the NACEA and the OSIDA, OCTP is ripe for non-appropriation. Let’s hope that in 2012 lawmakers keep their focus on taxpayer relief and on funding only core functions of government. This will be accomplished by eliminating waste, inefficiency, and non-core spending. Putting an end to taxpayer funding for the OCTP, and freeing it to succeed based on private support, is a great place to start.