Michael Carnuccio | September 11, 2015

Free Market Friday: Children are suffering

Michael Carnuccio

When I saw #InternationalLiteracyDay trending on Tuesday, I was reminded of Oklahoma’s serious educational woes.

Last month, The Oklahoman reported on an Oklahoma City woman’s “journey through school, when, despite her inability to read, she was promoted year after year, eventually graduating from Douglass High School.”

“We’ve got kids in 11th and 12th grade who can’t read at a third-grade level,” said Eddie Evans of Youth Services of Tulsa. “How’d they get there?”

State Sen. Earl Garrison, D-Muskogee, who holds a doctorate in education, reminded us in 2008 that more than 20 percent of our state’s population can’t read.

The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education said nearly 40 percent of Oklahoma high school graduates require remedial courses just to prepare for college-level courses. One college English course, Spelling and Phonics, aims to help students master basic spelling, principles of phonics, and decoding skills.

As I think about this sad reality, I am deeply concerned about the thousands of children who are being stifled in the current union-dominated, government monopoly education system.

Mike Neal, president of the Tulsa Regional Chamber, said last year: “We, in this state right now, waste outrageous amounts of money on remediation for students that come out of high school with good grades but they’re not ready for higher education.”

Former Enid superintendent Shawn Hime once remarked on how heartbreaking it is “when I see a student who is valedictorian from a school and they made a 14 on the ACT.”

Students, their families and teachers deserve an educational system that better uses resources so that students master reading, writing and arithmetic – the foundation for all learning and opportunity.

As lawmakers work during the interim and the legislative session to best allocate resources, the faces and lives of children who are suffering because of an inefficient, uncoordinated resources should be foremost on their minds.

What is it that is distracting from teaching well the core foundations of reading, writing and arithmetic? How can common education, higher education and lawmakers better align resources and incentives so students and teachers have the best opportunity to succeed? If we really care about children, their families and teachers, then we will answer the tough questions.

Michael Carnuccio

Former OCPA President

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