About Author

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Carly Hoilman is a columnist at CatholicVote.org, and a freelance culture writer and editor based in the greater Philadelphia area. She is a wife, mother, Catholic convert, and alumna of The King's College in New York City. You can find her writings at CatholicVote, TheBlaze, Conservative Review, and Faithwire. Follow her work on Twitter @carlyhoilman.

8 Comments

  1. Rob Schroeder on

    Apparently the author has her own taboo against facts. This is a tiresome conservative hit piece that has no place at a Catholic website, in my opinion.
    – It’s mighty interesting the author laments students missing four days of instruction due to the walkout, considering that 96 of Oklahoma’s 513 school districts are currently operating on four day weeks due to lack of funding. Somehow, this fact wasn’t worthy of being mentioned in the article? The author is concerned about students missing class time but not concerned about a four day school week? Huh?
    – At the start of the 2016-17 school year, more than 800 teacher positions remained unfilled. There was no one to hire. As has been illustrated far and wide, starting teacher salaries in Oklahoma bottom out at about $31,000. Naturally, people are choosing not to pay for four years of college to work in a job that won’t even pay off their college debts, let alone their ability to live. Will a salary of $37,100 suddenly attract people to the profession?
    – I’ll be honest, I’m no conservative, so I’ll ask openly: why is our education best served by operating at salaries levels that don’t attract the best and brightest?
    – At the start of the 2017-18 school year, the state issued 1,429 emergency teacher licenses. I.E. people who didn’t meet the normal requirements for being a teacher, but someone’s gotta teach, right? About 1 in 12 students in Oklahoma are currently taught by a teacher who does not meet normal licensure requirements.
    – Oklahoma’s standards for class sizes have not been revised since 1990, because the legislature refuses to fund the schools. Its standards for up-to-date textbooks have been repeatedly suspended by the legislature, because who needs up to date textbooks?
    I realize that conservative hit pieces aren’t meant to actually address facts but simply stir up anger at abstract groups like public school teachers. But perhaps a Catholic website would be well-served to have a larger philosophical discussion about the role of education in our society. We have mountains of research from this country and others that indicate the utter importance of early education, early literacy, etc. We know that by the third grade, deficits can often be irreversible.
    If the author is actually interested in having an intellectual debate about this subject, she should provide evidence why an injection of $50 million, a per-pupil spending increase of $74 (!!!!!), is going to dramatically change the abysmal situation in Oklahoma. Especially since Education Week, the source you cited in your article, ranks Oklahoma 47th of 50 for educational quality and opportunity.
    One final question for the author: is the author comfortable sending her own children to four-day-per-week schools?

    • Missing four days was mentioned as a bad thing-the author could have accentuated her point by saying it made up a whole school week for 96 districts in OK. I got the message. 4 days off of school isn’t good.

      “I’ll be honest, I’m no conservative, so I’ll ask openly: why is our education best served by operating at salaries levels that don’t attract the best and brightest?”

      Simple. The “best and brightest” don’t matriculate through teachers’ colleges.

      “But perhaps a Catholic website would be well-served to have a larger philosophical discussion about the role of education in our society.” I think that the Church has met this issue-they run their own schools at a much lower cost per pupil with better outcomes.

      Where should OK take the money from to put into the schools? I think they have a money problem. That problems is that its a finite amount.

      I have a idea on this-if Teachers Unions would absolve the state of the customary pension obligations, that frees up money on the front-end to pay the teachers more and possibly to funnel into the districts. What do you think? That, and cut school transportation, meal service, etc. None of those things are classroom teaching and they take a lot of money from district coffers.

      • Rob Schroeder on

        Your argument suffers from the same flaws as the author’s. You simply make random claims that have no basis in reality.
        – The argument that teachers deserve low salaries because teachers simply can’t be the best and brightest is refuted by…every other developed country in the world. Other countries have figured out that by making teaching a highly paid profession, with very selective college admissions requirements, they produce strong teachers who run strong schools. Unless there’s something fundamentally flawed with American citizens, you are apparently going to ignore the public school systems in South Korea, Finland, Sweden, etc. They must not exist! Or is it the old canard of socialism? But again, it’s easier to simply demean an entire group of people than actually address facts. I get it.
        – If we made every school in the country at Catholic school, do you really believe that per pupil spending would not rise? Catholic schools do great work, no doubt. They also keep costs down because the students they accept, in many cases, come from middle and high-income families, i.e. people who can afford the tuition. Schools with students from predominantly low-income populations face drastically higher expenses. Why? Low-income students have traditionally lacked access to both early education and special education. Again, research has detailed this over…and over…and over again. Likewise, low-income students are much more likely to be exposed to trauma. Educating the whole child gets a lot more expensive when kids come to school with emotional and mental hurdles. Again, research.
        The thing is, we actually know what happens when you get rid of public schools entirely. New Orleans has already done it – the district is 100% charter school. Shockingly, the challenges associated with poverty has just transferred over to the all-charter district. Why is that?
        – Your claims about the pension system in Oklahoma is just as much of a canard as the author’s claim that $50 million is adequate funding, because she said so. Sorry. I’m not just going to accept the traditional conservative hit pieces that getting rid of pensions are the answer to all problems. Without a shred of data or evidence.
        The pension liability in Oklahoma is $14 billion. This is a product of underfunding from 20, 30, 40 years ago. This isn’t hard to figure out. The idea that the state’s financial problems should not be borne by the people of the state, but just employees of the state, makes no sense.
        Teachers in Oklahoma are required to participate in the pension system. Their annual contribution is 9%. This is no different than the majority of 401 (k) or 403 (b) plans. Why should the teachers of today, who didn’t make the financial decisions of three decades ago, be the ones to suffer the consequences? Because no one else wants to deal with it?
        Under your scheme, teachers essentially will have been required to contribute 9% of their salary to fund the public schools in Oklahoma, in addition to their normal state tax contributions. How is it logical that teachers, those who actually do the teaching in the schools, should be more financially responsible for funding schools than the rest of the citizens in the state?
        – Why would anyone pursue a profession, for life, that offers no retirement benefits? Again, we have a fundamental question of convincing people to be teachers, because it’s an incredibly important profession. A system that offers both low salaries and no retirement benefit would be appealing why?

        • Rob Schroeder on

          Oh, and obviously, teachers aren’t getting a raise if the 9% of money they put aside for retirement is just given back to them as a “raise.” That would be a false equivalency. Math.

          • Of course, if OK did not administer a pension, no 9% contribution would be required.,

            Math indeed.

        • We have not made teaching a matter of highly selective admission requirements for teachers colleges. Other countries may have, but we have not. I didn’t say they “can’t” be the best and the brightest. I just said that in the US, they are not.

          “you are apparently going to ignore the public school systems in South Korea, Finland, Sweden, etc”

          Why would I pay attention to it here? I did not think we were discussing those places. Are we?

          I hope you aren’t of the opinion that pensions are funded by fairy dust in OK and other states. It’s real money. $14 billion is real money. That, as you say, is a “liability”. OK has a funding problem largely due to property tax receipts.

          Teachers cannot have both if the resources are finite-which they are. I’m simply saying that releasing the state’s pension liability would free money up for other expenditures-i,e, salaries. That’s incontrovertibly true.

          Most people today in the private sector fund their own retirement.

  2. Evidently this author does not live in Oklahoma nor have her children attending school here. As I read this I knew this is a woman biased to her own beliefs and not bare honest facts of a critical situation.
    When the press cannot report above the garbage if this authors report they should simple keep shut up!
    Furthermore the educators needed a raise! They are grateful for that. What is the pressing issue is continuing support of the education system. They need basic supplies to do their work. Parents and communities have to buy much of needed supplies for their children.
    Lastly Ms Hoilman you are in dire need of some continuing education regarding Oklahoma teachers as you DO NOT have a clue what’s actually going on!

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