Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Active shooter drills are traumatizing students, experts say

SWAT members enter Norman North High School during an active-shooter
exercise on Wednesday, July 18, 2018. [Jim Beckel/The Oklahoman]

The Oklahoman has the story.

Oklahoma teachers want help dealing with violent students

FOX 25 has the story.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Oologah students in custody after caught with explosive materials

"Two Oologah High School students are in custody after officers said they used explosive materials outside of the school and were planning to use them to do damage inside as well," the News on 6 reports.

Student brings handgun to Union High School; second incident in three weeks

The Tulsa World has the story.

Friday, November 8, 2019

OKC mother outraged at school officials after son found covered in feces

"An Oklahoma City mother is outraged after walking into the nurse's office at her child's school and finding her son naked and covered in his own feces," News 9 reports.

Academic results show why families voting with their feet

[Guest post by Jonathan Small]

Government officials often refer to government spending as an “investment” to suggest a business approach is being applied to public policy. But if spending equals investment, then Oklahomans must ask, “What are the results?”

When it comes to our school system, results are now worse than they were before the “investment” of the past two years.

On the National Assessment of Educational Progress, often called the nation’s report card, Oklahoma student scores declined in fourth and eighth-grade reading, were stagnant in fourth-grade math, and improved slightly in eight grade math (by a margin considered statistically insignificant). Oklahoma students remain below the national average in all NAEP subjects.

On the ACT exam, Oklahoma students’ scores declined in every subject this year. In fact, 46 percent of students failed to meet ACT college-readiness benchmarks in any of the subjects tested.

When Oklahoma state test results were released months ago, they showed academic achievement was lower in 2019 than in 2017. In every subject and grade tested, a majority performed below grade level.

Those declining results have occurred even though lawmakers increased K-12 school appropriations by 20 percent over the last two sessions.

Some will object it’s unrealistic to expect a dramatic turnaround in just over a year. I don’t disagree. But is it unrealistic to think academic results should at least stop declining after such huge spending increases?

If “investment” alone is failing to stem the bleeding, let alone generate improvement, then more is needed. Policy changes must also be adopted. And parents in one of the state’s worst school systems have highlighted one solution.

Tulsa Public Schools faces a $20 million shortfall. The district’s leadership blames its financial problems on state funding cuts. But, as noted, the state has not been tightfisted over the last two years. Instead, Tulsa’s true problem is that students are leaving the district in droves and state funding is following them out the exits.

Where are those students going? According to the Tulsa World, 3,700 students left TPS for Epic Charter Schools, an online provider, from summer 2013 to June 2019, while another 3,300 students left for brick-and-mortar charter schools.

Parents are taking stock of the results of state “investment” in districts like Tulsa, and are responding by voting with their feet and moving children to schools that produce better outcomes. The greatest challenge for those families is not a lack of state “investment” in schools; it’s a limited array of school choices when their geographically assigned school fails to deliver results.

Combining school choice with greater education funding is policymakers’ best path to improving Oklahoma’s education system and student outcomes. Otherwise, next year may end the same as this year—with policymakers baffled that schools not only failed to improve after tax-and-spending increases, but actually got worse.

Student, school resource officer brawl in Midwest City

"Police and a Midwest City High School parent are speaking out about a series of Snapchat videos showing a brawl between a student and a school resource officer," KFOR reports.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

A beautiful tapestry

WovenLife is an intergenerational program in Oklahoma City that puts seniors and young children (including special-needs students) in the same environment. “There’s a lot of love here,” says one teacher, “and you feel it when you walk in the door.”

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Covington-Douglas teacher’s aide pleads guilty to sex crimes

A teacher's aide in the Covington-Douglas school district "has pleaded guilty to sodomy and giving alcohol to minors after being arrested in 2018 for giving students alcohol and having sex with one of them," KFOR reports.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

School choice, funding increases can coexist

Oklahomans are strongly supportive of public education, Ray Carter reports. And they also support educational choice.

The two are not mutually exclusive.

Bullied Locust Grove sixth-grader says grown-ups didn't help

"Cellphone video shows a Locust Grove student allegedly bullying another student on a bus," KTUL reports. The bullied sixth-grader "says the bully had been tormenting him and his classmates for weeks, and he was getting no help from the school. 'I got to where I finally quit telling 'cause nothing was getting done,'" he said.

Monday, November 4, 2019

Happy 100th birthday, Oklahoma teacher shortage!

Oklahoma's education special interests (and incurious journalists) have been singing the same tune for a century, Greg Forster writes.