Suited Up! It Was Time!

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Standing in the shadows or watching from a distance is so much easier to do.  Reading blogs from some of our Super Bloggers (you all know who you are), liking tweets and re-tweeting  has been pretty much the bulk of my social media contribution.  I have paid close attention to the past few years how blogs, facebook and twitter have been a much needed tool to get information out that is vital to every student, in every school district, in the State of Oklahoma; information that is, or can be, life transforming for the youngest among us.  Everyone who has taken up their pen, phone, computer, I-pad, tablet, or has worked tirelessly, face to face with those who have a voice in education,  I commend you!  You have done well! Don’t let up! The stakes are too high and they grow higher everyday.  The latest announcements of revenue shortfalls and the possibility of lower mid-year adjustments  should only strengthen our resolve to ensure that the children are taken care of.  This is why “Marvel Agents of Education” has officially stepped into this (blog) arena. There is so much that has already been said many times and in many different ways (and yes, will need to be said many times more) that a majority of my future posts will be from a different angle, but at the same time addressing the same issues.

I think I should start with a little introduction first….. Why not have my name as part of my Twitter account or blog?  I think Rick said it best during okeducationtuths coming out party.  And by the way…that was pretty cool as I watched from the shadows.  If you want to know why…well, you’ll have to go back and revisit the past and read his blog 🙂  Chances are you already have, as well as many of the other bloggers out there and as you know there are many Great Ones! As a matter of fact, that night, with all the fellow supporters of education changing their avatars to superheroes…Marvels Agents of Education was born. As my bio states, “You know who we are, We are You.” You, You created, You are our children’s hope and You are the Agents of Education. It may very well rest with all of us. United as ONE to engage on behalf of those who look up to us! That’s who we are. Between all of us, their is enough passion, knowledge, wisdom and (super) power to encourage, assist, and if needed redirect the future for our students’ education.  We are needed. Now back to that introduction.

First of all, many of you already know me.  You may or may not be followers on Twitter or I may not be a follower of you, but nonetheless many of us are friends in the general sense.  I am in education, which will become obvious from some of the facts and figures and other points that will be made in later posts.  Education has not been my only avenue of providing for my family.  I spent many years in the business world working for two of the largest oil field related companies in their respective field.  I count my time spent with those companies as a blessing and appreciate the wisdom gleaned from that experience. Through contacts made during those times and after I entered the education realm, I was honored and humbled by two separate phone calls from two different sitting Governors’ offices. Both times I was asked if I would sit on a certain committee that met every month at the Capitol to help guide and direct one of the State Intenties. I accepted the second request (Gov. Henry) and was appointed to the committee where I remained for five years.  I left to take my current position.  During the early 2000’s, I was fortunate enough to have written/co-written three books utilized in education that are still being used today and have been translated into other languages to be used in other parts of the world.  I have truly been blessed and humbled by these experiences.  I never take lightly what has been placed in front of me and I realize it’s time to take the wisdom gained from those experiences and the knowledge gained from my current positions and put it to use in this way in an attempt to help stop the madness that is depleating our students funding and eroding away our educational principles.

My blanket statement of many of the issues before us today is this…..(1)ESAs are not good for Public Education Funding.  In no way is it better for any current student sitting in our classrooms, period! Rob has a great piece on this as well.  It will take its toll on many sources of funding (not just the ADM calculation). More on this in a later post. I was told by a Rep at the Capitol that they are not smart enough to see all the potential damage that can be done by a stroke of a pen.  But We can help educate them! (2)Funding for Public Ed must increase. Our students deserve  better and our teachers deserve better pay.  A one cent sales tax for education can be a good start.  It’s not a fix all but it is a step in the right direction. (3) Stop cutting taxes and taking money away from our kids!  You can not keep taking pie filling out of the pie! It simply will not feed as a many people like it once did! Lower taxes will not create more revenue for Education. Oh BlueCereal….I am fixing to go SuperMarvel if I’m not careful so I will stop for now.  I have so MUCH more to say…..and I intend on doing just that!  One more thing……..If you have ever been in a classroom or stood up for your children (our children), You are One of Us! You are an Agent of Education!  United as ONE for those who look up to us! And remember, no matter the need when it comes to our young ones, we have a choice! Set back and let them destroy the education of our students or you can dawn the suit of an Agent and fight! It wont be easy but it is worth it! We have ramped up our efforts to protect our students funding and schools. We callout the unwise and demand they do what is right. We will not stop! Our goal is greater than anyone of us to take on by ourselves. But if asked to go it alone we would. Join us. Put on the suit. Its not just any suit….. its the suit of an Agent of Education. A suit that you can wear with your head held high because YOU stood up for what is right! Our students need you.. End of transmission. ….

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Looking for the “WMD”

Today oil hit a 12 year low! 1.1 billion in overall tax credits. Rollback!
#oklaed Great Job Supreme Court ruling and SDE! You are Agens of Ed.

Marvels Agents Of Ed

Revenue Failure is the new dirty word that we are all talking about. But for some it seems an opportunity… Those of us that know better are thinking, for who? Oh yes yes yes, its an opportunity for those in education to contemplate how they (we) are going to continue to give our students the best we have. We will teach, serve hot meals, transport and meet many other needs they have not because we have more revenue than ever “legislators” but because we took an “OATH”… Did you???
Now back to that opportunity you talked about… Admitting one has messed up is hard at times and I understand that ideology on the surface is a very intriguing thing. However, wisdom must trump ideology when the facts are presented as they were many times in the past that support taking a different path. So here are 4 ways to get…

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Fight the Arrogance #GiveItBack #oklaed

okeducationtruths

This may not be a surprise to those who know me, but apparently I’m arrogant. That’s what Oklahoma Finance Secretary Preston Doerflinger thinks of those of us who believe that continuing to cut taxes in the face of massive state revenue failures is bad public policy. I guess that’s why he went after new Tulsa Regional Chamber chairman Jeff Dunn in two separate Facebook posts yesterday. Here’s how the Tulsa World covered it:

Finance Secretary Preston Doerflinger, a Tulsa resident, was responding to Chairman Jeff Dunn’s blunt criticism of “a senior Cabinet official” for defending the 0.25 percent reduction in the state income-tax rate that went into effect last week, even as state agencies were told to trim spending by 3 percent because of a general revenue failure.

Although Dunn did not name the official when he made the comments during a speech to the chamber Thursday, it was understood to…

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The Undoing!

 

Right, as the world goes, is only in question between equals in power, while the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must.” ― Thucydides,

They worked all day in what some would call the most brutal of working conditions. Sweat poured off their bodies as if a water hose had been fastened to the tops of their heads and left on at a steady trickle. Heat so intense that the parched earth split open as if to say, anything, anything at all.  I just need a little water.  The ones that were in charge of making sure that the load would safely make it to its destination came pulling in just before the loading was finished.  They were fresh and full of confidence. They knew they could secure the load and that the profits at the end would for sure deliver another paycheck to the company and maybe a bonus of another job when it came time.  Little did they realize that due to the extreme dry conditions, it had caused the ground to be shaky and unstable therefore making the securing of the load even that more crucial.  Not just extra tight, but tied in such a way that allowed for the load to shift from one side to the other just enough to make up for any deviations in the ground.  With little thought to the circumstances (after all they were hand selected) of the day they fastened the load to their liking just like every other day. But this wasn’t like any other day nor was the day before or the day before that.  Slowing things had been drying up across the land.  Their yields were dropping at a steady pace and things were starting to get tight.  The equipment had done its job all year but was in much need of repair.  Everyone who worked with the equipment knew the shape it was in and knew that it was being pushed too hard and stretched too thin. Concerned citizens voiced their worries for the company and for their fellow neighbor whose only means of providing for their family was at that job. When the revenue dropped during the preceding months, the board of directors decided to decrease the maintenance budget that serviced the equipment; which in-turn, in their way of thinking, would raise the profit margin back to a more promising dividend. Little did they realize that in reality they were dooming the company.  With the laborers looking on with hope in their eyes and their fingers crossed for good luck the truck pulled through the field. It appeared that the load was going to ride it out. However, that wouldn’t be the case…..it happened……..

Like in business a State cannot continue to cut in areas where the revenue is generated and still expect to maintain the same amount of output. Eventually it will catch up with you and may very well be “The Undoing.”

In a report by okpolicy.org

(What the horizontal drilling tax break is costing your kids’ school. by David Blatt  April 22nd, 2014)

2014 lawmakers extended a tax break for horizontal drilling that cost 3.6 times more  $250 million more than the lottery collects for education. The year before, they approved income tax cuts projected to cost 3.4 times more than the lottery brings in.

okpolicy.org

” Last summer, Finance Secretary Preston Doerflinger said, “Any fiscally responsible policymaker needs to seriously consider at what level government should incentivize something that is now standard practice. It’s not responsible for government to give money away as an incentive if no incentive is needed.” Oilman John Brock has stated, “It’s hard to give up an incentive tax break after 20 years, but it’s time to give the taxpayers a break and restore the gross production tax to the same as normal oil and gas wells.”

 

A 2013 report found that Oklahoma’s taxes on unconventional production of oil and gas, or horizontal drilling, are among the nation’s lowest and would remain relatively low even if the state eliminated the tax breaks currently benefiting horizontal drilling. Oklahoma’s effective tax rate on oil is 3.3 percent, compared to 11.5 percent in North Dakota and 6.7 percent in Texas.

*You can read the full article here in its entirety http://okpolicy.org/cost-horizontal-drilling-tax-break-oklahoma-school-districts

Wait! What did Mr. Doerflinger say?  He said, “Any fiscally responsible policymaker needs to seriously consider at what level government should incentivize something that is now standard practice. It’s not responsible for government to give money away as an incentive if no incentive is needed.”

Fast forward to the present day 2015. In the past three weeks Mr. Doerflinger stated “It’s going to be the biggest fiscal challenge since the years following the 2008 recession, and we’ll need to meet it head on with all hands on deck.” What is???? A $900.8 million shortfall is what….Who could have seen in 2014 the irresponsibility of these actions by the legislature? HMMMMMM! It’s just a 3% cut across the board!! Geez, we have already absorbed a 24% cut…what is 3 more percent?

Senator Ford of Bartlesville recently stated that he was aware that many tax credits and incentives were handed out every year by the state ($1.1 Billion) but that he did not see that being the solution. No…….. Instead he blames schools. He even went onto say that he has a bill that will consolidate schools less than 500WADM. You are to blame…It’s your fault….Not his. He, along with his fellow leaders, are only looking out for the little man (wink to the camera please) with their income tax reductions……but not you little schools. No sir, like Senator Loveless and his consolidation bill to combine school admin with less than 250 WADM Sen. Ford believes you are too wasteful…… Only at the state level is local control ever worth the air time it’s spoken on. Sen. Loveless consolidation bill takes the local control out of the hands of 800 plus board members that were elected by the parents of the school district because…..He knows best. NOT the 800!

Have you had enough Oklaed??????????

Agents of Education…..United as One! #UAO

Engaged on behalf of those who look up to us!