Sunday, November 11, 2018

Has support for Oklahoma teacher causes waned?

Dylan Goforth and Kassie McClung have an insightful story at The Frontier.

Putnam City Schools investigating altercation that left student concussed; mother says bullying is to blame

"A metro mother said her son has been left concussed and in the hospital after an altercation at a local middle school," KFOR reports. "Now, she said she's fed up with what she said has been repeated bullying and is considering homeschooling her son."

Tulsa Public Schools security guard no longer at McLain after pushing girl against the wall

"He got in my ear and started yelling, and yelling and yelling and yelling," the 15-year-old student tells KTUL, "so I pushed his face away from me. Then afterwards he grabbed my shirt and hoodie and pushed me up against the wall and kept pushing and pushing and pushing, and he was trying to open up the door and then pushed me down on the floor."

Thursday, November 8, 2018

SoonerPoll: Oklahoma teachers favored Edmondson over Stitt three to one

"In a scientific online survey of Oklahoma teachers, chosen at random throughout the state, 63.7 percent would be voting for Edmondson and 21.6 percent for Stitt," SoonerPoll reports.

In the actual election, all voters (not just teachers) got to have their say. Kevin Stitt won 73 of 77 counties, racking up 54 percent of the statewide vote compared to Edmondson's 42 percent.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Actions in two districts hurt schools’ cause

"Government waste and questionable expenditures are bad in times of budget stability but they're especially vexing when finances are strained," The Oklahoman's editorial board points out.
In Tishomingo, an independent audit indicates former Superintendent Kevin Duncan, who left that job in June, used $78,000 in school funds for personal purchases, according to a report from television station KXII. The audit found Duncan misspent school funds on items like cellphones, an iPad, Beats speakers, a laptop, pool salt, a 55-inch TV, lamp shades and barbed wire, and submitted $1,400 in travel reimbursements for a hotel that didn't appear to be a job-related trip. 
Some misspending came to light earlier this year when Duncan's replacement found documents related to the purchases and Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation officials searched Duncan's home. The reported findings of the audit, however, suggest the misuse of funds was even greater than initially believed. 
While Duncan is responsible for his own actions, $78,000 in misspent funds represents systemic failure that includes the district's school board. Was anybody minding the store? And if school officials failed to keep track of that much money, one wonders how they can claim recent state funding increases will be better spent?

In 2016, Duncan was one of 20 administrators named District Superintendents of the Year by the Oklahoma Association of School Administrators. OASA's executive director described the honorees as people who exhibited “strong leadership skills.” One hopes OASA was mistaken in declaring Duncan one of the leading lights of their profession. ...
At Nathan Hale High School in Tulsa, officials are not in legal trouble but have provided reason to question their priorities and judgment. 
Television station KTUL reports that Hale High spent $22,000 to send 12 employees, including Principal Sheila Riley, to a four-day conference in Las Vegas that overlapped with the statewide teacher strike. Then the school spent another $15,000 in June to send Riley and three other administrators to another conference in Napa, California. Overall, the school spent $37,000 in “Title I” funds on similar professional development trips last school year.

Riley said the federal money was originally intended to pay to hire a teacher and a paraprofessional. But when the school couldn't find qualified candidates, she said officials had to find other ways to spend the money so the district would qualify for a similar amount of federal funds in future years. 
We don't doubt value can come from professional development programs, but the public is justified in doubting that these rushed expenditures were designed to provide real value to the school. 
When it comes to credibility on spending and financial oversight, the actions of officials in these two Oklahoma districts have done little to help education's cause.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Oologah-Talala fires coach for inappropriately touching female student

"The Oologah-Talala school board voted early Wednesday to fire the high school's head football coach for inappropriately touching a female student," The News on 6 reports.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Del City teacher sees possible socialist revival

"We have successfully turned the racism of right-to-work into the realism of strength-to-kick-ass," writes Aaron Baker, a middle-school teacher in Del City. "There are seeds of an Oklahoma Socialist revival germinating in the rich soil of progressive #oklaed."

Oklahoma special ed teacher arrested for trafficking meth

"Records show a special education teacher at Canadian High School has been arrested for trafficking methamphetamine in McIntosh County," KJRH reports.

Monday, October 29, 2018

'I have come from the other side of this nightmare'

Autistic student Seth Sutherlin was bullied severely in public schools. Now a student at Paths to Independence in Bartlesville, Seth says “now I know that I am worth something, my life is worth something.”

Why do religious schools teach science better?

The superintendent in Bixby once scoffed that private-school choice programs are for “a parent who wants to use the Bible as your child’s biology text.” 

A public-education advocacy group in Bartlesville, responding to a bill to protect teachers from interference in helping students understand scientific theories, called it “anti-science” legislation which is “designed to discredit evolution and climate change” and which could even (gasp!) “open the door to creationism.” 

But as Greg Forster reminds us in an excellent new article, "we should be skeptical when a self-protective educational monopoly tries to scare us out of allowing alternatives."

Is white privilege a problem?

Is white privilege a problem in education? Reporters for the state's largest newspaper (newsroom pictured here) recently examined the makeup of the state board of education and the board of regents, as well as three other statewide boards. They determined that "most members are white."

These sorts of diversity stories are nothing new. Liberal activists with bylines take great pride in writing them. Indeed, in another story yesterday ("Reflecting OKC? Boards, commissions don't show much diversity"), The Oklahoman reported: "In a city that is becoming increasingly diverse, the boards, commissions, and trusts that shape almost all municipal policy in Oklahoma City have a glaring lack of diversity. Nearly 90 percent of the members who serve on these boards are white."
Photo credit: Doug Hoke