Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Teachers don’t live by bread alone

"Public school teachers are paid more than other teachers and have better benefits and job protection," Greg Forster writes. "Yet private school teachers report higher job satisfaction on a variety of metrics."

Only a third of Tulsa Public Schools juniors ready for college or career

The Tulsa World has the story.

Teens arrested after threatening to shoot up OKC school, kill principal

FOX 25 has the story.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Missouri district starts four-day school week

"Teachers were in favor of the change," Jared Leone reports.
Students see the benefits from it, too. "It’s definitely been a big change, but I think most of the students like it better," student Heather Weaver told the Sedalia Democrat. "We have time to do our homework and projects, and it’s nice to have the extra day to work on them."

Student found with loaded gun at Owasso High School

KRMG has the story.

Voucher regulation reduces quality of private school options

Corey DeAngelis discusses his new study here.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

School with security officers and cameras adds guard shack

Other than that, it doesn't resemble a prison whatsoever. The News on 6 has the story.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Oklahoma lawmaker holds interim study on school bullying

"The Oklahoma Youth Risk Behavior Survey found 40,000 high school students said they were bullied at school—although only around 4,700 cases of bullying by a student were reported to the State Department of Education," KFOR reports. "Thousands of students said they've planned suicide."

Monday, September 10, 2018

OKC charter school drawing families downtown

"Located in the heart of the city's downtown, [John Rex charter] school is viewed as a catalyst for convincing families to move into the growing number of apartments and condos being built in the area," The Oklahoman reports. "Last year, 28 percent of John Rex students came from the downtown attendance boundary. This year, John Rex will serve more than 600 students with another 500 on a waiting list, according to school officials. Students living inside the school's downtown attendance boundary are offered automatic enrollment, and while that includes some low-income neighborhoods beyond downtown, it also includes residential developments that can cost as much as half a million dollars."

Oklahoma senator says bullying is a problem

"You don’t have to look past Facebook to understand what a massive problem bullying is in our culture and within our schools," says state Sen. Rob Standridge (R-Norman). "We must not sit by and let another child take their life because we failed to adopt policies that could have prevented such a desperate act."

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Police investigate after video shows Weatherford student making threats

News 9 has the story.

Oklahoma pre-K—spending a lot for less

"Oklahoma’s education funding is spread more thinly over more students, as compared to most states, because of our large prekindergarten program," economist Byron Schlomach writes in The Journal Record.
In 2015, 75 percent of Oklahoma’s 4-year-olds were enrolled in public school prekindergarten. Only two states, Vermont and Florida, enrolled a higher percentage. Meanwhile, 26 states enrolled fewer than 20 percent of their 4-year-olds. Another 14 states enrolled fewer than 40 percent. You would think that if large prekindergarten programs led to success, Oklahoma would provide the evidence. Unfortunately, Oklahoma’s outsized public prekindergarten program likely accomplishes little more than enlarging the state’s school bureaucracy and providing free child care.

Oklahoma’s prekindergarten program has been around long enough that if it really makes a difference, Oklahoma should have seen some gains relative to the rest of the country. In fact, Oklahoma’s fourth-graders consistently score below the national average on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, despite a much celebrated blip in 2015 that was completely erased by 2017. It’s not as if the country-wide results are rocketing skyward and we are just lagging a little. NAEP results nationwide are flat.

Despite the less-than-stellar results, Oklahoma formula-funds prekindergarten at an extraordinary level, and has for more than 20 years. A prekindergarten student’s formula-funding is 30 percent higher than a fourth-grader’s and more than 8 percent higher than a middle or high school child’s. Private school pricing in Oklahoma, not determined by politics, charges a slight premium for preschool ages compared to other low grades, but nothing like the funding premium in public school formulas.

It makes sense to charge more for schooling 4-year-olds than for fourth-graders. Fourth-graders respond more predictably to rules and discipline, are far less likely to have restroom issues, and they can sit still longer. But private school pricing suggests only a 5 percent bump in prekindergarten funding over fourth grade.

Why is public school funding for prekindergarten so high? One reason might be that there is a college-educated individual who qualifies for the minimum teacher salary schedule (at lowest, $37K this year) in every classroom. Prekindergarten classes are held to 20 or fewer students, and more than 10 students require a teaching assistant, according to a law that has been relaxed but is still largely adhered to. Though subject to regulation, private schools still find it less necessary to have college graduates work with 4-year-olds and have greater flexibility with what they pay.

The political pressure for universal prekindergarten programs has been bolstered by research on early-age brain development and its seeming implications for lifetime intelligence, indicating urgency for getting children into learning environments. Recently, an ongoing study of Tulsa’s prekindergarten results indicated tangible benefits for prekindergarten participants, that they are more ready for kindergarten.

For those of us who didn’t attend kindergarten, much less prekindergarten, but still managed a Ph.D. in economics or, in the case of my brother, helped to engineer the Joint Strike Fighter, prekindergarten’s benefits seem mighty sparse. The fact is, prekindergarten’s positive effects on standardized test scores have long proven temporary. But recently, the Arnold Foundation’s Straight Talk on Evidence website reviewed results of a large randomized trial from Tennessee that shows prekindergarten has mostly negative long-term effects kicking in by third grade.

Scaling back Oklahoma’s prekindergarten system to half its current size would save $140 million and the program would still be larger than those of most states. It might be time to rethink and limit our state’s prekindergarten to the truly disadvantaged, hopefully without hurting their future academic success.