SOMETHING TO PONDER: Oklahoma’s State Constitution employs the words “unless other means of education are provided” in Article 13, Section 4. So, what does the word “means” actually mean? The dictionary defines “means” as: 1. An action or system by which a result is brought about; a method or the way. 2. Money; financial resources; income; capital.
To put this in perspective, let’s consider the U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means. This is a powerful committee that has jurisdiction over all taxation, tariffs and any other revenue streams that fund the Federal government. Outside of the Internal Revenue Service, it is the most authoritative and commanding financial institution of the U.S. Congress. “Ways and Means” means methods and money. It’s that simple. Therefore, we understand how the word “means” is used in the construction of government language, and we comprehend that it is fundamentally a financial term.
"Education by “other means” is the utilization of other methods to educate, and other money to fund those methods, which originate in the private sector and do not come from public (government tax) funding."
Logically, “unless other means of education are provided” means other methods and money being provided. The writers of the Oklahoma State Constitution used the specific language “other means of education” by strict interpretation and did not use some generic clause to identify something indistinct. Education by “other means” is the utilization of other methods to educate, and other money to fund those methods, which originate in the private sector and do not come from public (government tax) funding.
The CONSTITUTIONAL HOME EDUCATORS ALLIANCE realizes the clear distinction between privately-funded education and publicly-funded education. We must always be on guard concerning any bill’s language which would make that distinction unclear. We are striving to keep the relationship between the two education entities as separate as is legislatively possible, and to assist in preserving that difference within our legislature.
Private sector education by other means is direct parent-funded which divests itself of any government regulation (excepting the requirements to meet minimum educational standards delineated in the Oklahoma State Constitution). Public sector education is directly government-funded and is under immediate government regulation and execution (Article 13, Section 1a). Please be assured of this: “means” is a very critical and dynamic word. Its use is explicit and unambiguous in the legislative sector and must be so understood by the private sector.