Wednesday, July 29, 2015

'Oklahoma needs to do more to rid schools of predators'

"Unfortunately," The Oklahoman points out, "it’s now possible for pedophiles to quietly resign and retain teaching licenses."

Oklahoma teachers need power to stop classroom mini-riots

"Concerning school problems," writes Anatoly Arutunoff of Tulsa, "what teacher would stay where kids throw books and are out of control? I don't know if we need more money for schools, but we certainly need to give the teachers power to stop the mini-riot behavior in the classrooms."

Monday, July 27, 2015

Oklahoma's unsavory Blaine Amendment

Mark DeForrest, an associate professor in the legal research and writing program at the Gonzaga University School of Law, discusses it in the Tulsa World.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Vouchers are a victory for liberty

"Vouchers for education advance a far more spontaneous order than direct government control of schools," writes Northwestern University law professor John O. McGinnis.

Former Commerce teacher sentenced for second-degree rape

A former Commerce teacher and coach was sentenced to a year in jail for three separate charges of second-degree rape, the Miami News-Record reports.
The victim, who was a junior at the time at Commerce High School, says in her statement included in the PSI, she lost friends, was talked about on social media, missed school, and had a teacher mention the incident in class causing her to run to the counselor in tears and caused problems in her family relationships. 
“I want him to go to prison. If he had done this only one time and was sorry about it, then maybe probation would be ok. But he did this three times and isn't really sorry for what he did. Maybe this will show other teachers they can't do this and get away with it. I want this case to show other girls, that if this happens, they will be believed and there will be a punishment for the teacher doing this,” the victim's written statement said.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Oklahoma teachers accused of sex with students

NewsOK is noticing a trend.

Is $156K per classroom enough?

Today in the Journal Record, OCPA president Michael Carnuccio asks the business-savvy readers of that newspaper to consider if perhaps there is too much overhead in Oklahoma's government-run monopoly education system. Read his column here.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Opportunity Scholarship Fund picking up steam

Manuel attends Happy Hands Education Center, a center
for families with children who are deaf or hard of hearing. 

"Donations to the Opportunity Scholarship Fund topped a half million dollars yesterday," executive director Michael Lapolla reports.

Cutting your own tax bill while helping children: that's what you call a win-win.

Oklahoma public school superintendent welcomes competition

"Santa Fe South Charter School Superintendent Chris Brewster welcomes competition, even if it means he could lose students," Tim Willert reports for The Oklahoman.
It’s one of the reasons Brewster has agreed to let a new charter school occupy a portion of his middle school campus and athletic facility on a temporary basis.
“It’s good for the families that we will compete,” he said Tuesday, referring to Lighthouse Academies of Oklahoma City. “We’ll have to provide the best academic option for our kids to keep our families, and I think that’s very healthy.” ...
“The more quality schools we can provide for Oklahoma City kids, the better,” Brewster said.
Now that is refreshing.

Former Edmond band director charged with soliciting sexual conduct with a minor

The Oklahoman has the story.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Oklahoma student ‘proficiency’ rates inflated by low standards

Excellent editorial today in The Oklahoman.

OEA membership decline continues

Education reporter Mike Antonucci has the latest (2014) official National Education Association membership numbers. NEA has lost 10.7 percent of its active members over the past five years—and its state affiliate in Oklahoma has fared even worse.

  • OEA had 18,963 active members (employed teachers, professionals, and education support workers) in 2014. That's a 20.9 percent decline over the past five years.
  • As for total membership (which includes retirees, students, substitutes, and all others), OEA's 2014 count of 21,291 is a 20.2 percent drop over the past five years. 

"With the exceptions of Illinois and Minnesota," Antonucci writes, "it is difficult to find a healthy NEA state affiliate between New England and the Pacific coast."

OCPA to host tele-town hall forum on ESAs

How would you like to bank a portion of your child’s per-pupil funding and use it for private school tuition, tutoring, or a customized mix of options? Parents in other states already have this option, and some Oklahoma lawmakers are trying to make education savings accounts (ESAs) a reality in our state as well. Please join us on July 31 at 10:00 AM for an informative tele-town hall meeting. To sign up, go to:

Sunday, July 19, 2015

ESAs are the future of choice in education

"Several state governments in the United States have taken a bold step to give parents the ability to control their education by offering K–12 education savings accounts (ESAs)," Dan Lips writes for the Atlas Network. "ESAs are flexible spending accounts that parents can use to purchase education services for their children, and a significant refinement of Milton Friedman’s original school voucher idea. This article explains how ESAs could be a key to improving the nation’s knowledge capital, and explains how think tanks in the United States are driving this change."

Friday, July 17, 2015

Lankford: Some children can't afford to wait

U.S. Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) delivered an excellent speech on the Senate floor this week in which he reminded us that some children need educational options—and they need them right now.
Lamar Alexander brought an amendment out that would have been great to have. It allowed parents to choose their school regardless of whether it is public or private. Education union leaders had kittens about that saying that the public schools are getting better, so we don't want to take funds away from the public schools. We want to keep all those funds in the public schools, but the parents are saying, “I understand that school is getting better someday, but my child is there right now.” While certain leaders in schools will say we can't have federal funds move to follow the child, I would say, would you allow the parent to help that child have the one shot that they're going to get to get education and allow them to choose wherever they want to go?

That’s why I’m also a supporter of things like the D.C. Opportunity scholarships that will allow children in Washington, D.C., to be able to choose the school that they attend. The President has fought adamantly against that. So have the education unions. But quite frankly, the parents here in D.C. want to have the option to send their child anywhere they choose to be able to send them. 
Start watching at the 5:19 mark here:

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

It isn't 'teacher bashing' to want to get rid of bad teachers

"If we care about kids, we have an obligation to get bad teachers out of America’s classrooms," writes Erika Sanzi, a mother of three sons who has taught in public schools in Massachusetts, California, and Rhode Island.
It isn’t teacher bashing or even anti-teacher to want consistently underperforming educators exited and replaced with excellence. 
In fact, removing incompetent practitioners—who either can’t or won’t improve their practice even with support and coaching—not only honors the kids in the seats; it honors the educators whose expertise, talent and devotion to students are undermined by colleagues unwilling to do their part.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Education Secretary's children to attend $30K private school

"We wish Arne Duncan’s children every success," The Wall Street Journal editorializes today. "Too bad he didn’t fight for similar options for families not as fortunate as his."

UPDATE: "It has been more than 50 years," Ronda Ross of San Jose, Calif., writes in an excellent letter to the editor, "since George Wallace stood in an Alabama school-house door and sought to deprive minority students access to a decent education. Fast forward five decades and Arne Duncan and the Democratic Party are only lacking the state troopers and the dogs."

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Monday, July 6, 2015

It's time for the Blaine Amendment to go

"For the sake of freedom, peace, and unity," writes Neal McCluskey, "it is time for Blaine to go." Oklahoma's largest newspaper agrees.