Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Head Start doesn't work

"Head Start, the flagship federal education program for low-income preschoolers, doesn’t work," Cato Institute scholar Andrew J. Coulson writes ("U.S. Government: Our 'Head Start' Program Doesn't Work").
That is the conclusion of yet another high quality, large-scale randomized experiment commissioned by the Department of Health and Human Services, which runs the program.

Like an earlier study that found no lasting benefit to Head Start by the end of the 1st grade, this new study confirms no lasting benefit by the end of the 3rd grade—after an investment of 47 years and about $200 billion.

"If the federal government continues to fund Head Start," adds Heritage Foundation fellow Lindsey Burke, "states should be allowed to make those dollars portable, enabling students to attend an early education provider with great teachers that meets their learning needs."

Public education = Educating the public

"Public education is currently transitioning from a one-size-fits-all model of schooling to customized learning," Doug Tuthill writes. "As this shift unfolds, what constitutes public education is again changing."
Over the last several years, many reformers, including those of us at redefinED, have argued that public education is being redefined. It is no longer a closed system of neighborhood schools owned and managed by local school boards that assign students to schools by zip code. Instead, public education is evolving into an open and diverse network of structured learning environments, many of which are privately-owned and managed, that students can access using public funds.

'Lockdowns are common within Tulsa Public Schools'

Ho hum.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Oklahoma students bring guns to school

"A firearm is taken to school about once a week by Oklahoma students," The Oklahoman reports today. Anne Jacobs, a clinical child psychologist who practices in Edmond, is quoted as saying one reason students bring weapons to school is that they are afraid of being harmed.
Through her work as a clinical psychologist, Jacobs has talked to students who felt as if guns or explosives were a last resort to end bullying.

"These young people described their peers watching the bullying without intervening and adults either being unaware or ineffective to stop this pattern of behavior," Jacobs said. "Despite knowing their parents loved them, they were not well supervised and did not feel emotionally close to their parents. Their statements to me reflected isolation, fear and desperation."

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Status-quo educator wants to be 'in the driver's seat'

"Donna Anderson, a public school educator from Bennington in southeast Oklahoma, announced today that she will run for state Superintendent of Public Instruction in 2014," Patrick McGuigan reports.
A Democrat, Anderson opposes parental choice in education, specifically the Lindsey Nicole Henry Scholarships. ...

She took a shot at incumbent state Superintendent Janet Barresi's background in business and dentistry, saying, "It is vital that educators, like me, are in the driver's seat of change."

The taxpayers who put Mrs. Anderson in the Bennington driver's seat are paying her just under six figures annually. Bennington students, however, are not performing at a high level. If you picked up the Bennington school district and plopped it down in Finland, the average Bennington student would be at the 5th percentile in math achievement. In Singapore, the average Bennington student would be at the 7th percentile. In Canada, the average Bennington student would be at the 9th percentile.

Not-so-great expectations

Apparently state Sen. Earl Garrison (D-Muskogee) and several public school superintendents in his district want to allow seniors to graduate if they make a composite score of 14 on the ACT. Appalling, I realize, but should it really surprise us? After all, in Oklahoma a kid with a 14 can be not merely a high-school graduate but a high-school valedictorian.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Oklahoma high-school football coach arrested in molestation case

"The head football coach at Liberty High School was arrested Thursday on a lewd molestation allegation, as well as a complaint that he made a lewd proposal to a minor -- a student at the school," the Tulsa World reports.

School shootings spark interest in homeschooling

KOKH FOX 25 quotes one Oklahoma mother as saying: "I know so many of my friends are homeschooling their kids because of the shootings, because it's terrifying to know those can be your kids."

More schools close after threats

"Two more students have been arrested, and threats or rumors of threats have caused officials at two more northeastern Oklahoma school districts to cancel classes early," the Tulsa World reports. "Classes at the Caney Valley and Locust Grove school districts will not be held Friday, officials said."

Thursday, December 20, 2012

And on it goes

A band director at an Oklahoma City middle school has been arrested on a child pornography complaint, while a substitute teacher in Quinton has been charged with statutory rape of a student.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Bartlesville schools closed today because of credible threat

"Another report of a threat at Bartlesville High School has led administrators to close all the district's schools on Wednesday," Laura Summers reports in the Tulsa World.
The district received "credible reports of a threat at the high school," according to messages sent to parents by phone and email around 11:30 p.m. Tuesday.

The message, from Superintendent Gary Quinn, said school officials "expect the situation to be stabilized by the time students are scheduled to return to school on January 2, 2013."

Saturday, December 15, 2012

School safety woes in Oklahoma

"An 18-year-old Bartlesville High School student was arrested early Friday after police uncovered an alleged school-shooting massacre plot," the Tulsa World reports. "Sammie Eaglebear Chavez attempted to recruit students in the school cafeteria on Wednesday to help him carry out a massive school shooting and bombing plot, police allege in a court affidavit."

Meanwhile, in Edmond, "police are investigating a report of a sexual assault on an Edmond school bus," The Oklahoman reports. A spokesman for the school district says "the parents of the victim told school officials their teenager was forced to perform oral sex on another teenager while on a bus that was taking students home from the high school."

Thursday, December 13, 2012

'The fight against the total surveillance state in our schools'

"These tendrils of the corporate surveillance-state are slowly coming to control all our daily interactions," constitutional attorney John W. Whitehead writes, "and our nation’s public schools are merely the forefront of a movement to completely automate all human interaction and ensure that no one is able to escape the prying eyes of government officials and their corporate partners."

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Tax credits more popular than vouchers, charter schools

Over at the Cato blog, Andrew J. Coulson writes: "In a recent public opinion study conducted by Harvard University researchers, education tax credits were found to attract more public support (72%) than either charter schools (62%) or vouchers (50%)."

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Oklahoma cheating scandal gets national headlines

Over at HuffPo: "Oklahoma School Cheating Scandal Brings Audit Of Student Transcripts, Most Not Ready To Graduate."

Charter school choice alone will not suffice

John Kirtley, chairman of Step Up for Students, recently made the case that charter school choice without private school choice is a mistake, the Council for American Private Education reports.
His first objection to a “charter only” strategy is on moral grounds. Students in substandard public schools have high-performing private schools available right now in their neighborhoods and should not have to postpone a quality education hoping that someday a charter school might appear. The need is now, and parents don’t have time to
wait lest their children be lost. “It’s just morally wrong,” said Kirtley.

A second reason that “charters alone” is a poor strategy is that “the competition effect is much more robust if you have more schools in the mix, including private schools.”

Monday, December 10, 2012

Rubio promotes school choice

"Our tax code should reward investment in education," Marco Rubio said in a recent speech.
If you invest in a business by buying a machine, you get a tax credit for the cost. If there is a tax credit for investing in equipment, shouldn’t there be a tax credit for investing in people?

Let’s provide tax encouragement to help parents pay for the school of their choice. Lets create a corporate federal tax credit to a qualifying, non-profit 501(c)(3) Education Scholarship Organization, so that students from low income families can receive a scholarship to pay for the cost of a private education of their parents choosing.

Thursday, December 6, 2012