Monday, January 30, 2012

Great moments in early-ed ghostwriting

Sometimes the left hand doesn't know what the far left hand is doing.

Last year Pete Delaney, one of the business leaders involved in the OKCEO (Oklahoma Champions for Early Opportunities) initiative, took to the pages of The Oklahoman to tout what's euphemistically called early-childhood education. To help make his case, he correctly pointed out that our student achievement leaves much to be desired: "In Oklahoma, the National Assessment of Educational Progress test indicates that 72 percent of fourth-graders ... are not proficient in science."

But of course someone should have known better than to drag NAEP scores into a discussion of early-childhood education. For if NAEP scores are any indication, Oklahoma's vaunted preschool system has been ineffective if not downright harmful (as researchers at The Heritage Foundation, the Cato Institute, OCPA, and elsewhere have pointed out). As Shikha Dalmia and Lisa Snell wrote in The Wall Street Journal,
Oklahoma, in fact, lost ground after it embraced universal preschool: In 1992 its fourth and eighth graders tested one point above the national average in math. Now they are several points below. Ditto for reading.

That's not the only time Oklahoma's early-education ghostwriters have goofed recently. Last month Oklahoma learned it was not awarded a Race to the TopEarly Learning Challenge grant (Oklahoma's plan scored 30th out of 37 applicants). One peer reviewer who analyzed Oklahoma's application noted that our state "included a large number of letters of support from a broad group of stakeholders," but the letters of support were talking about stuff that wasn't in the application. "The gap between the letters of support and the articulated plan raises questions about whether the letters of support reflect a genuine understanding of the state plan reforms."

Not to mention a genuine representation of Oklahomans' preferences.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Theocracy alert! Here's hoping Jenks and Union are on the case

"An online program provided at no cost by a church-run health care system in four states is helping school districts promote health education," the Associated Press reports. "The program called HealthTeacher is being provided to districts in Missouri, Kansas, Arkansas and Oklahoma—the four states in which the St. Louis-based Sisters of Mercy Health System operates."

More bullying in Broken Arrow

On the bright side, at least there were no nunchucks involved this time.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Barresi says choice 'is good for children'

As School Choice Week draws to a close in Oklahoma, state Superintendent Janet Barresi offers a hearty (and heartfelt) endorsement of school choice.
Choice is good for children, it’s good for communities, and it is good for schools. Choice spurs competition. And competition spurs excellence.

Let’s remain committed as a state to expanding choice for students and parents.

School choice: It does a body good.

Democrats for school choice

The forgotten history.

School choice possible in rural state

"Iowa is actually viewed as a state with more choices than other states," says Andrew Campanella, vice president of public affairs for National School Choice Week, a Virginia-based nonprofit advocating school choice. "People look at Iowa and see that in a rural state, school choice is popular and it's possible."

Friday, January 27, 2012

Cheating reported in Oklahoma

"It was the year of the test cheating scandal," the Associated Press reported as 2011 drew to a close ('2011 marred by test cheating scandals across US'). "From Atlanta to Philadelphia and Washington to Los Angeles, officials have accused hundreds of educators of changing answers on tests or giving answers to students."

Add Oklahoma to the list. The state's largest newspaper reports today on cheating that recently occurred in Oklahoma. And when asked if the cheating is more widespread than what is reported, an interim assistant state superintendent replied: "Of course."

OEA income plummets $1 million

CapitolBeatOK has the story.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Bullied students deserve choices

A billboard in Edmond, Okla.
National School Choice Week is upon us, and seeing this billboard in Edmond this morning reminds me that bullied students need a way of escape.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

School-choice town hall meeting set for Jan. 24

Patrick McGuigan has the story.

'End academic segregation'

"Universal online learning could be the most important reform to hit Oklahoma education in decades," Mike Brake writes in the Oklahoma Gazette. "School officials who take seriously their mission to educate kids should embrace, not obstruct, it."

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

'A paradigm is falling apart'

Even President Obama’s Department of Health and Human Services and a liberal columnist for Time magazine are acknowledging that Head Start doesn't work.

Friday, January 13, 2012

What would Reagan do?

You may have forgotten this, but Ronald Reagan was a fan of vouchers and tax credits.

Friday, January 6, 2012

More Watchdog coverage of superintendents

A majority of Oklahoma school districts with declining enrollments "are paying their superintendents more this year than last year," Peter J. Rudy reports.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Gov. Fallin proclaims School Choice Week

Recognizing the importance of traditional public schools, charter schools, and nonpublic schools (including home schools), Gov. Mary Fallin has proclaimed the week of January 23 to be School Choice Week in Oklahoma.

There are many things happening that week, including a town hall meeting in Edmond featuring J.C. Watts, Supt. Janet Barresi, John Fund of The Wall Street Journal, and more. Click here for more information, and come join us!

All-star lineup set for school choice town hall meeting in Edmond

Click HERE for details

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

'Should homeschoolers get tax credits?"

Interesting discussion over at The Pioneer Woman.

'School caters to children with autism'

KOSU's Ben Allen has the story.


The Jenks Public Schools, whose superintendent complains that scholarships for vulnerable special-needs children will erode education funding (which is already eroded to the point that he is forced to scrape by on a quarter-million dollars a year while managing to maneuver his mediocre school district onto the federal needs-improvement list), is upgrading its high-school football facilities.

Failing upward


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

'Generation Z will revolutionize education'

Says blogger Penelope Trunk.

'More pay for public-school teachers won’t increase quality'

Says Jason Richwine of The Heritage Foundation. One of the reasons: "Many of the best teaching applicants—those who graduate from more competitive colleges, earn higher GPAs, or hold degrees in specialized areas such as math or science—are turned down in favor of less qualified candidates who took the traditional route of majoring in education."

Sunday, January 1, 2012

'2011 marred by test cheating scandals across U.S.'

"It was the year of the test cheating scandal," the Associated Press reports.