Thursday, May 19, 2011

What's going on here?

Oklahoma Watchdog reported about an hour ago on Twitter @WatchdogOK that SB264 was signed out of committee AGAIN! this morning - which means there will be another floor vote soon.

The big question is - were changes made? If so, what were they & what impact do they have on our concerns?

One thing I've seen that may be new is a time limit on "opting out" of regulations: local school boards can do this for 3 years.

My concern is that "deregulation" is great for private industry but terrible for the government: a government NOT constrained by regulations is a government that has carte-blanche to do whatever it wants, regardless of anyone's rights or freedoms - which is the whole point of having written laws in the first place, a point which seems to be lost on those pushing this "local control" idea.

Does SB264 have a mechanism for subjecting local administrators to the rule of law or does it allow them to autocratically make things up as they go along? Are local school districts required to submit a local plan or set of rules to local voters before administrators can act? What happens to local students who disagree with the majority?

I wouldn't have a problem if this only applied to private schools which should be completely free to set their own rules, anyway, but when the government is running things, that's a whole different animal.

So, what impact will this bill have on private schools? Perhaps school choice advocates should be as concerned about this as supporters of government schools.

I think the presense of Speaker Steele at these committee meetings could be significant - is SB264 a pet project of his? If so, maybe we need to start contacting him as well as our own legislators. I don't think it would be a bad idea to add Bingman to that list, either.

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