Conservative politicians here have broken the Oklahoma public school system through intentional and careless massive funding cuts. Now it looks like their punitive actions will lead to a massive reduction of health care providers in the state’s rural areas and the possible shut down of nursing homes.

Welcome to the great reddest of red state of Oklahoma, soon to reach Third-World status in desperate need of federal intervention in all aspects of its government and finances. (Is this even hyperbole, anymore?) Conservatives got us here by pushing income tax cuts for the wealthy, passing tax breaks for big corporations and by cheerleading the “drill, baby, drill” mantra that has led to a worldwide fossil fuel cut now taking its toll on the Oklahoma economy in a sinister, soul-destroying manner. This has led to two revenue failures and a growing $1.3 billion budget shortfall for next fiscal year, which begins in July.

Here’s the most recent depressing news: The Oklahoma Health Care Authority has announced it’s cutting the Medicaid reimbursement rate by 25 percent effective June 1 because of conservative budget cuts.

According to the authority’s news release on the issue, “The OHCA currently contracts with 46,129 providers. In addition to the 25 percent provider rate cut, the agency will also propose to eliminate payments for coinsurance and deductibles on crossover claims.”

Here’s another telling sentence in the release: “It is also possible that if the agency’s appropriation is reduced more, additional provider rate cuts will be required.” How low can we go? Well, apparently lower than this. Our conservative politicians don’t care about the elderly or school children. They believe smirkingly and arrogantly in magical theories embedded in widely outlandish conservative ideology and mythology.

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Legislature Right To Stop Micromanaging Education Standards

There are two major arguments The Oklahoman editorial board idea didn’t address in a recent editorial critiquing the process of getting the new Oklahoma school standards implemented.

The first argument is that the Oklahoma Legislature and, as any rational person knows, The Oklahoman editorial board members of all people should not micromanage educational standards. The standards should be left up to the educators and the experts in the field. While there’s nothing necessarily wrong with some legislators with education experience and without extreme ideological agendas reviewing standards at some level it should only be in the spirit of cooperation, not in the spirit of antagonism and political fighting. The reason the state had to develop new standards in the first place is because the GOP-dominated legislature repealed the Common Core standards in 2014 based on the dubious reason that they were really some secret plot by President Barack Obama to do something nefarious never quite stated but, rest assured you state Trump and Cruz supporters, it was, indeed, nefarious.

It’s this type of GOP conspiracy theory-driven politics that makes many Republican legislators lose credibility, especially when it comes to micromanaging education standards no matter how many experts they trot out to argue the standards aren’t tough enough or that we need to flunk more students here. Education is a lifelong, holistic process that needs the insight and philosophical approach of community-based educators with doctorates, other degrees and experience, and that’s just what happened in the recent standards process.

The fact outside evaluators—one from Arkansas and one from Minnesota—found things to criticize in the new standards is not some huge red flag. That’s what they were tasked to do, and their ideas and criticisms I’m sure will be considered as the standards get tweaked and improved. Education standards can never be monolithic. They must change over time. I won’t question the motivations of the two outside evaluators The Oklahoman mentions in its editorial, but what we do know is they don’t live here or have deep and current experience with the state’s student body. I’m not trying to be pedestrian, but Oklahoma does have enough educational experts to put together math and English educational standards, experts just as supposedly brilliant as the two people from Arkansas and Minnesota.

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Conservatives Broke The Great State Of Oklahoma

So the bankruptcies and the layoffs continue in the oil and gas industry in Oklahoma, and what the local corporate power brokers and the GOP state leadership aren’t telling you is that it’s only going to get much worse and it’s going to be devastating for all of us, except the wealthiest here.

It’s an election year, after all, and I sense even a lot of Republican voters are now waking up to the dismal aftermath of the GOP-dominated government that has allowed oil and gas companies to set the political terms and real-life reality for all of us here. The GOP politicians up for reelection want to hide their carnage and lack of leadership as much as possible.

I think, too, about many prominent state self-described “liberals,” who if they’re reading this, are thinking something like, Kurt, Kurt, that’s all hyperbole. You’re a professor. You should know better as a professor than to engage is such vitriolic rhetoric. It’s not that bad. We know best. Just hang on for another 15 or 20 years, Kurt, and we can get this right. Spare me, please. I’m not going to name these people because there’s too much rancor among the left as it is right now, but, please, step aside and let people speak the truth for once.

So, right, it’s going to all work out fine, just like Tulsa’s billionaire George Kaiser is going to get things right here in Oklahoma and just like Aubrey McClendon’s lavish lifestyle made things so great for teachers, state employees, school children, the sick, the vulnerable here.

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