Friday, June 29, 2012

What has 'doomsday' education spending wrought?

Higher graduation rates and test scores, Lisa Snell writes.

Oklahoma newspapers shine spotlight on bullying

The Shawnee News-Star is teaming up with Ardmore's Daily Ardmoreite and a Tennessee newspaper for a multi-part series on bullying.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Battle for disabled children's scholarships begins before Oklahoma Supreme Court

A group of Oklahoma parents with disabled children, represented by The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, have filed their critical brief before the Oklahoma Supreme Court defending the constitutionality of a scholarship program aimed to help disabled children succeed.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Walker's win could boost parental choice

"The most important consequence of Scott Walker's key victory," Joel Belz writes, "is likely to be its ripple effect over the next decade on the issue of educational choice."
Wisconsin has its own historic role, especially in the city of Milwaukee, as a hospitable laboratory for educational vouchers and charter schools. Now, Wisconsin has also strategically minimized the potentially hostile role of the teachers unions. More than almost anywhere in the nation, and largely because of Scott Walker's remarkable courage, genuine educational diversity may have the opportunity to flourish and thrive.

I don't mean to imply that Walker's role in public life ought to be limited to a single issue. But choice in education has been a central focus during the controversial first term of this son of a Baptist minister. If after expanding energetic voucher programs from Milwaukee to Racine, Beloit, and Green Bay, he now provides a replicable template that can be exported to the rest of the nation, I can think of no more enduring gift he could offer the rest of the nation and its desperately broken culture.

Is an Oklahoma City principal cheating?

Jerry Bohnen has the story.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Oklahoma Democrats stand up for human rights

The Oklahoma Democratic Party recently facilitated the first meeting of the Oklahoma Universal Human Rights Alliance. One fervently hopes they will take seriously the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), which declares that "parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children."

Democrats wanting to learn more about parental choice in education can learn a lot from the chairman of the Tulsa County Democratic Party, Judy Eason McIntyre, a strong supporter of this universal human right. 

Disadvantaged kids deserve choices

"In Florida and across this nation," writes the Rev. Manuel Sykes, "many die-hard Democrats and hard-core public education advocates are standing up to insist that our most disadvantaged schoolchildren are provided with every tool available. We see it as a moral imperative."

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

'Our Special-Ed system favors the rich'

It's time to come out of the shadows.

Vouchers, tax credits breathing new life into Catholic schools

"For the first time in decades, Catholic education is showing signs of life," Stephanie Banchero and Jennifer Levitz report in The Wall Street Journal. "Driven by expanding voucher programs, outreach to Hispanic Catholics and donations by business leaders, Catholic schools in several major cities are swinging back from closures and declining enrollment."

School system fails to harness skills of education workforce

"The public school monopoly is warehousing 3 million people in jobs that appear to have done nothing to improve student learning," Andrew J. Coulson writes. "Our K-12 government school system simply does not know how to harness the skills of our education workforce, and so is preventing these people from contributing to our economy while consuming massive quantities of tax dollars."

Monday, June 11, 2012

State's largest newspaper decries 'Jim Crow-era measures'

The Oklahoman recently weighed in with an excellent editorial on scholarships for special-needs children.
Jenks and Union schools actually sued the parents of children with special needs for using the scholarships. Yes, the schools sued the parents of autistic children!

They based their opposition on the “Blaine Amendment” in Oklahoma’s constitution. It forbids using state funds to support religious purposes. The measure was designed to hold back immigrant children by blocking access to Catholic schools, the kind of idea embraced by people who thought blacks should use separate restrooms — another measure enacted during the same era for the same reasons.

Government scholarships already pay for private school tuition. Medicaid pays for health care at Catholic and Baptist hospitals. Allowing a child with special needs access to specialized education benefits the child, not a church.

Tulsa school board member thinks tax cuts are insane

Tulsa school board vice president Anna America says Oklahoma policymakers may actually cut the income tax next year "if we don't start electing people who think sanely."

Henry Scholarships are changing lives

Friday, June 8, 2012

Teacher unions are unpopular

According to a new survey conducted on behalf of Harvard's Program on Education Policy and Governance and the journal Education Next, only 22 percent of Americans think teacher unions have a positive effect on schools. These findings are consistent with the results of a 2010 survey of Oklahomans.

On the bright side, teacher unions are popular with the People's World, a publication of the Communist Party USA. A delightfully fanciful article today, datelined Tulsa, quotes Oklahoma schoolteachers Clifton Ogle (American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO) and Elise Robilard (Moore Association of Classroom Teachers, NEA/OEA).

Yep, hard to believe teacher unions are losing members.

Parental choice #NarrativeFail

Over at HuffPo Education we are reminded that the emerging cry for parental choice is being driven by libertarian billionaires low-income parents.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Walker's win will boost education reform

"Voters told Walker that it was more than okay to reclaim public schools on behalf of students, parents and taxpayers," Steve Gunn writes. "It was clearly the right thing to do."
And remember, these election results come from Wisconsin, the cradle of the American labor movement, where worker rights are deeply and permanently revered. If the citizens of the Dairy State will allow their leaders to rein in the power of out-of-control public sector unions, it can happen anywhere.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Henry Scholarship lawsuit in a nutshell

Why are two Oklahoma school districts suing the parents of special-needs children? Kirk Humphreys sums it up:

I've been on school boards. School boards and school administrators always protect money. It's money, jobs, and power. And that's what's in play here.