Friday, September 30, 2016

Fed Ed failure

Federal involvement in education has been a multi-faceted failure. It’s time to devolve power to state and local governments and, better still, to take “local control” all the way to the kitchen table by giving more choices to parents. Dr. Vicki Alger, author of the new book Failure: The Federal Miseducation of America's Children, discussed the matter this morning on The Trent England Show.

Mother of autistic boy grateful for school choice

You can hear the emotion in this mama grizzly’s voice as she talks about doing whatever it takes to ensure her autistic son could attend Trinity School in Oklahoma City. Thanks to Oklahoma’s voucher program and tax-credit scholarship program, he can.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

School district runs school choice program mostly for district employees

Over at the Education Intelligence Agency, Mike Antonucci is amused that one school district, "which has a residency enforcement investigator, also runs a school choice program that mostly benefits the children of its own employees who live outside of the district’s borders."

Education bureaucrat: 'I will question parents as I see fit'

"Ohio has hundreds of school districts, several regional education support organizations, many local and state school boards, tens of thousands of homeschooling families—and one especially supercilious public school superintendent," the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) notes in a recent dispatch.
David Hile, who heads the Licking Valley Local School District, wrote HSLDA recently to say he did not appreciate our request that he limit his oversight of homeschooling students to what the law permits. 
“It is my responsibility under the law,” he insisted, “to ensure that children in my district are receiving an adequate education [and] I take that responsibility very seriously, whether those children are in our schools or homeschooled. I will continue to question parents as I see fit.” 
This exchange, ironically, arose from Hile’s excessive inquisitiveness regarding a homeschooled student’s test score. The student had scored in the 30th percentile on a standardized test taken to fulfill end-of-year assessment requirements. Hile felt the score was too low and asked to see the student’s subtest scores. 
At that point the student’s mother contacted HSLDA. 
Staff Attorney Mike Donnelly, who assists members in Ohio, wrote to Hile, explaining that his request went beyond what he was entitled to ask for by law. Donnelly cited the Ohio Administrative Code, which says, “Any child that has a composite score at or above the twenty-fifth percentile shall be deemed to be performing at a level of reasonable proficiency.” 
Though our member’s issue was resolved soon afterward, Hile still saw fit to fire off his bristling reply. His response further demonstrated a lack of understanding regarding how to interpret a nationally norm-referenced assessment as well as a disconcerting attitude with respect to who is responsible for the education of the child. Hile wrote that he considered a child who scored in the 30th percentile on a standardized test “2–3 years below grade level (as 50th percentile is on grade level on NNRA).” 
As a professional educator, Hile should know percentile scores on a norm-referenced assessment that is standardized nationally, as required by Ohio regulations, reflect how many students performed at or above that level—not what grade level the child is. Perhaps Hile is thinking of the state public tests, which are criterion-referenced rather than nationally normed standardized achievement tests, and which simply show how a child scores compared to others on the same test. A score of the 30th percentile simply means that 30% of the students scored below a particular result on that test. 
“Hile’s response was an over-the-top and overbearing reaction to a simple point of clarification,” Donnelly said. “His attitude reflects an arrogance that implies homeschoolers are not up to the task of educating their children. The facts show that the reverse is true, and I will happily defend our members when they encounter problems with similar public school officials.” 
He added: “Superintendent Hiles’ unnecessarily bristling response to my short letter shows why homeschooling families need HSLDA—who wants to have to deal with someone like this?”

Audit shows financial mismanagement in Crooked Oak school district

"State inspectors found tens of thousands of dollars in financial mismanagement at a small local school district," KFOR reports. Among State Auditor Gary Jones's findings:
  • A district support employee was paid more than $105,000 over three fiscal years—about $60,000 more than authorized—documented on false time sheets.
  • Superintendent Bradley Richards received an increase of more than $19,000 and $600 stipends that were not outlined in his contract.
  • The superintendent incurred a $25,500 debt against the district that the board did not approve.
  • The Clerk destroyed credit card statements and logs, which were essential to documenting expenditure activity.
  • The district provided a school board member with cell phone service for 18 months after the individual stopped serving on the board.
  • The district paid $2,513 for a phone that was not used.
  • The district sold surplus property, without approval from the school board, and did not maintain records.
UPDATE: The Oklahoman has more details and an excellent house editorial.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Arrest warrant issued for former Oklahoma teacher

FOX 25 has the story.

School choice makes teachers free to teach

"Our whole education system is designed to treat teachers like factory line workers, not responsible professionals," Greg Forster writes in Perspective. "School choice breaks the government monopoly by putting parents in charge—getting politicians out of the classroom."

'Oklahoma is something of a hotbed of teacher-sex stories'

More national attention, this time from The Daily Caller.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Oklahoma Library Association pushing transgender propaganda at 10-year-old students

From Trent England's weekly recap:
The Oklahoma Library Association is pushing transgender propaganda at 10-year-old students, and The Trent England Show is the only media talking about it. 
A school administrator admitted to me this is in most public schools, but says he’s “not sure” whether it is appropriate. He tells me he needs more information.... 
School choice is the only strategic defense against social engineering in public schools. And you know what? It’s not because many people would leave the schools. It’s about power—the power to make a choice would put parents in charge instead of politicians and other elites.