Saturday, April 21, 2018

Yukon school plan raises questions

"Yukon school officials recently announced they will close school for November's general election," The Oklahoman's editorial board notes today.
Said Superintendent Jason Simeroth, “Educators have spoken at the Capitol and now we will make it much easier for our advocates to express their concerns for those that do not support education, and to support those that do support education by voting.”

So Yukon officials think inconveniencing and disrupting the schedules of parents will increase voting? Or is the message that teachers, unlike other adults who also work on Tuesdays, are unable to vote before or after work or take advantage of Oklahoma's simple absentee voting process? The implied message underlying this announcement is muddled, at best.

It also ignores the fact that, in many instances, primary elections on June 26 and subsequent runoffs on Aug. 28 will be more consequential than the November elections, since many legislative seats have a strong partisan tilt. While the June elections will occur during the summer break, Yukon is scheduled to start the 2018-19 school year on Aug. 16, so the runoff elections will be conducted after school starts. In many instances, the large number of candidates in districts means more runoffs are likely this year. Why not cancel school on Aug. 28 to “boost” turnout?

And if Yukon officials really think school interferes with voting, then why is the district not canceling school to “boost” turnout in the spring elections that decide school board races and bond proposals? Aren't those elections even more important to education?

Friday, April 20, 2018

Deer Creek teacher charged

Bullying has 'life-changing consequences'

"Quite frankly, in my role here at the school, I see a lot of this leading to increased mental health issues for our kids," says Jenks High School student assistance program coordinator Paula Lau. "Things like depression, anxiety, not wanting to come to school."

Paoli High School teacher under investigation

"A high school teacher is under investigation after allegations of an inappropriate relationship with a student," The Oklahoman reports.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Does OEA have nearly 40,000 members?

"With nearly 40,000 members, the Oklahoma Education Association represents many, but not all of the state's teachers," The Oklahoman reported last week.

It's true that the OEA claims to have "nearly 40,000 members." But according to the NEA's own financial report, OEA's total membership—active members plus "other" members (staff, students, retired teachers, et al.)—was 19,843 at the end of the 2015-16 school year.

I sent the NEA financial report to The Oklahoman's reporter. Here's hoping The Oklahoman will append a correction to the online version of the story.

UPDATE: Still no correction, but The Oklahoman did report today (April 22) that "[t]he Oklahoma Education Association, which is a member of the National Education Association, had around 19,800 members in 2016, according to a NEA report."

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Oklahoma mom laments 'the constant barrage of hate spewing forth from adults in my school district'

"I will never be surprised by issues of bullying in our schools after observing the copious amounts of bullying that went on during this strike," one Oklahoma mom observes.

Why more school districts are switching to four-day weeks

"Over half of Colorado’s public school districts have permission from the state to compress their schedule," Sophie Quinton reports. "Most such districts are small and rural, but that’s changing. A suburban district near Denver and an urban district in Pueblo have recently grabbed headlines by announcing that they plan to switch to four-day weeks in the fall."

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

OEA sends fundraising email to parents

One wonders: How did they get the parents' email addresses?

The real budget story behind the teachers strike: Medicaid and public pensions

"It's worth looking to see what’s really pinching school spending," The Wall Street Journal editorializes today.
Following the nationwide trend, Medicaid has taken a growing toll on Oklahoma’s budget. In 2017 the health-care program that is supposedly for the poor consumed nearly 25% of the state’s general fund, up from 14% in 2008, as nearly 200,000 more people enrolled. Lawmakers are left with less money for everything else, not least education. 

Test scores don't align with life outcomes

"It takes a broad vision to know what education is, and qualitative human judgment to know when schools are providing it," Greg Forster writes. "The future of school accountability is the people at large—not a specialist expert class—empowered to use their full human judgment to evaluate schools that they know personally. In other words, school choice and other forms of local control."

Monday, April 16, 2018

The union behind the teacher walkout

Excellent column by Enid News & Eagle​ columnist Dave Ruthenberg, who exposes the far-left agenda of the Oklahoma Education Association (OEA) and its parent organization, the National Education Association (NEA).

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Oklahoma socialists 'unable to help guide the education strike to victory'

A century ago, Oklahoma had the strongest socialist movement in the U.S.," Eric Blanc writes. "Today, there are signs it's being reborn." I encourage you to read the whole article ("Red Oklahoma").

Anger grows over union effort to sabotage Oklahoma teachers strike

The World Socialist Web Site has the story.