House kills New Hope

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Incredible: The Republican-controlled State House of Representatives voted today to kill SB 2093, the New Hope Scholarship Act, by a vote of 40 to 57.

Fred Jordan, who represents Jenks, Glenpool, and south Tulsa, and Weldon Watson were the only Republican s representing Tulsa who voted no. (Earl Sears, who represents a small piece of north Tulsa County along with much of Washington County, and Skye McNiel, who represents Creek County, plus a small piece of southwest Tulsa County, also voted no.) I can only speculate about the motivation of Fred Jordan, a suburban homebuilder. The lack of adequate educational options in the Tulsa Public Schools district creates outward pressure that would help him sell new homes in far south Tulsa County.

A glance at the names of other naysaying Republicans reveals a number from rural and suburban areas. Perhaps they have the attitude, "What's in it for the schools in my district?" Perhaps their school board members and superintendents pressured them into voting no.

North Tulsa Democrat Jabar Shumate was a leading advocate for the bill, which would have been a great benefit to students in his district, which is plagued with underperforming public schools, but his Democratic colleagues in neighboring districts -- Lucky Lamons, Jeannie McDaniel, Darrell Gilbert, and Scott BigHorse -- abandoned him. It's hard to understand why the first three, who represent parts of the Tulsa Public School district, would oppose a measure that would provide educational choice and thus incentive for families with children to remain in the older parts of central and north Tulsa. I suppose pressure from the OEA, the most influential interest group in the Democratic Party, was a factor. Their votes may have been good for their political careers, but they were bad for their districts.

David Derby (R-Owasso) and Eric Proctor (D-northeast Tulsa) did not vote -- they are listed under "Constitutional Privilege."

This was a very modest bill that would have created a tax credit for donations to scholarship funds. These scholarship funds would be designated for students in underperforming schools. It was too limited -- capped at a certain dollar amount each year -- but it would have provided more school choice than we currently have for the students who need it most. Shame, shame on the House members, particularly the Republicans and those who represent inner-city districts, who voted against this bill.

Meanwhile, Oklahoma continues to languish at the bottom of the school choice charts with a failing grade.

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2 Comments

Michelle said:

I'm not surprised about Fred Jordan. If you'll recall, (http://www.mshellb.com/?s=fred+jordan)he's not the most honest person in the world. I think he is in that office for personal gain and that is it. His wife divorced him right after his campaign had ended too. We need to get him out of there. I have a very low opinion of him for sure.

Matthew said:

Good job Republicans!
Now, can we push for vouchers for everyone who wants to escape the government school system without paying double tuition.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on April 23, 2008 5:47 PM.

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