Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Federal vouchers present hazards

"Mr. Trump has proposed a $20 billion federal voucher program that students could use to attend public or private schools," Jason L. Riley writes today in The Wall Street Journal ("Why Trump’s Education Pick Scares Unions").
But this idea presents similar hazards. Federal dollars will bring federal regulations, and reform-minded individuals like Betsy DeVos won’t forever be in charge of implementing them. Better to let the states lead on school choice. Now that Republicans control 33 governorships and both legislative chambers in 32 states, what’s stopping them?

Federal-voucher opponents are right (for the wrong reasons)

"A federal voucher program poses a danger to school choice efforts nationwide," Jason Bedrick writes.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Glad we got that cleared up

Calling a little girl a boy, pushing transgender propaganda at 10-year-olds, and flying the rainbow flag outside the school district headquarters. Those things are perfectly fine.

But exposing students to "1950’s-era gender expectations"? That is forbidden and requires an apology.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Classical conflict

"Will classical public charter schools lure Christian parents away from schools that acknowledge Christ as the center of all things?" Leigh Jones tackles that question in an excellent article in WORLD magazine.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Preschool may not just be a waste of money

It might also do harm, Jason Richwine writes.

Oklahoma districts report success with four-day school weeks

"I met with my staff last week and they said they're further along in their curriculum than they've ever been," News9 quotes one principal as saying. "They're seeing students with better morale. They're excited to be there. Our attendance is up."

And in The Ada News, a Vanoss principal also says the four-day school week is a multi-faceted success.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Educator-lawmakers already common in Oklahoma

"Those who insist education is being neglected by the Legislature are implicitly suggesting longtime school officials are directly responsible," The Oklahoman points out in an excellent editorial.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Tax-credit scholarships save money

A new study is here, and a terrific Wall Street Journal editorial is here.

Key observation from the study: "School choice critics often argue that school choice siphons resources from public schools. But their logic paints school funding as a ratcheting wrench that works only one way ..."

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Defeating 'status-quo defenders'

Indiana businessman Fred Klipsch "worked with many of his peers to drive policy development and political action to defeat status-quo defenders," Fred Morgan, president and CEO of the State Chamber of Oklahoma, reminds us in a recent column. It's time for some Oklahoma business leaders to do likewise.

Princeton professor understood that public schools would be the engine of atheism

Insightful post from Zachary Garris here.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Child allegedly choked and left unconscious at Holdenville middle school

"A child was allegedly choked and left unconscious at school, and parents say they want the bullying to stop," KFOR reports.

How to run the government-school monopoly better

Oklahoma policymakers should take a hard look at school board elections, building-level autonomy, principal training, transparency measures, and other public-school governance reforms, Greg Forster writes in Perspective.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Teacher pay, yes, but 'the public wants real reform as well'

"As we've noted before, education is an issue that clearly deserves lawmakers' attention," The Oklahoman editorialized today.
Teacher pay is part of that conversation, but only one part. The public wants real reform as well. It's time to reduce administrative bloat. It's time to direct more money to the classroom. It's time to hold local districts responsible for mismanagement, such as over-testing that is almost entirely a product of local administrators and school boards, not state mandates. It's time to increase school choice and give parents more options, understanding that the closest school isn't automatically the best fit for every single child.

Pugh, Newberry question across-the-board pay raises

State Senator-elect Adam Pugh (R-Edmond) was recently quoted in the Edmond Sun as saying: "If you have got a teacher who has been teaching 20 years and they have a Ph.D. and a teacher who has been teaching two years—why should they get the same pay raise? ... Maybe the 20-year veteran deserves a $10,000 pay raise and the two-year teacher should get $2,000."

In the Sand Springs Leader, state Sen. Dan Newberry (R-Tulsa) also questioned the wisdom of giving the same pay raise to low-performing teachers as to high-performing teachers. "That might not be the best way to ensure dollars to the teachers. They should be rewarded based on ability," he said.

UPDATE:  "[W]hen the Legislature convenes in February, it must find a way to invest more money in our teachers," Andrew Spiropoulos writes in The Journal Record. "But only lazy opportunists will settle for a plan that consists only of an across-the-board salary increase designed to look good in a press release." Spiropoulos has some specific pay-raise ideas here.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Vindictive-resentment watch

Vouchers shift the balance of power to
consumers—who can vote with their feet.
"The most vindictive resentment," Isabel Paterson understood more than 70 years ago, "may be expected from the pedagogic profession for any suggestion that they should be dislodged from their dictatorial position."

That resentment was on full display this week. FOX 23 reported on an Owasso High School teacher who was disgusted with Tuesday's election results, especially with the fact that Oklahomans elected people to office who favor school vouchers. This teacher told his students that Oklahomans have elected “uninformed, ignorant, racist pieces of [bleep].”

It's not the only time we've seen some rather startling language from Oklahoma educators who either weren't coping well with the election results or who resent educational reform.

English teacher Jennifer Williams, who is tired of "f*ing platitudes," says "people are generally such selfish assholes that they rarely surprise me." And after the election of Mr. Trump, she is especially critical of white people: "White people are the deliberately blind, ignorant, deaf, tunnel-visioned voters. ... Actually, it's been awhile since I was offended by anyone other than white people. ... I'm so incensed by white women I could actually do harm. ... Jesus, White women. If you're really wanting equality, it ain't comin' from your White men. Why do we need to completely sh*t on women of other races? Do you realize how stupid you are? ... [W]e are such competitive and power-grubbing bitches ... Why can't White men release their death grip on their power and the government and the nation? ... Whites are sucking the life from America, denying our country any possible chance at greatness. No one and nothing can ever be great if you've stolen, murdered, pillaged, and raped to achieve power."

For his part, Tulsa Union teacher Dallas Koehn hasn't been bashful about using words like "sh*tting on people," "a**hole," a "clusterf*ck," "shut the $%#&@ up," and "kiss my big fat angry blogging a**, you sick twisted lying $#%&ers."

Music teacher (and minister's wife) Mindy Dennison has instructed certain school-choice proponents to kiss her a**.

Tulsa teacher Cory Williams has no patience for state lawmakers who "can't seem to find their ass with both hands without taking money from education and giving it to oil companies."

Mid-Del superintendent Rick Cobb, no fan of the state's A-F grading system, says "A-F that is right!"

Sand Springs administrator Rob Miller says "when I stumble upon a big steaming pile of festering crap I tend to say, 'Hey look, there’s a pile of sh*t.'"

Retired teacher Claudia Swisher, apparently believing hostility to be the best fundraising posture, instructs policymakers: "Fund us. Support us. Or STF (flip) U."

Mid-Del middle-school teacher Aaron Baker helpfully informs us that "public schools are the sh*t!" and celebrates the "strength to kick a**."

School-choice foe Mark McBride, a state lawmaker wholly owned by the teachers union and other education special interests, was upset with a black conservative who dared oppose McBride's anti-school-choice legislation. In a public setting in the Oklahoma state Capitol, McBride flipped off the conservative and called him the "f" word, a piece of s***, and a derogatory word for male genitalia.

Oklahoma teacher Emily Busey-Templeton pronounces it heroic to flip off people with whom we disagree.

Retired teacher Betsy Enis, not a fan of this article, pronounces it "total bullsh*t!" (She also doesn't like "Republican a**hole legislators.")

As we approach 2017, the taxpaying parents of 100,000 Oklahoma students, despite being compelled to pay for public education, have in effect said to public school officials: "Your product is sufficiently unattractive to us that you can't even give it away." Moreover, Oklahoma has enacted a private-school voucher program and a tax-credit scholarship program. And as we move ever closer to Rod Paige's vision of universal school choice—by expanding our current programs, enacting ESAs, providing for individual tax credits, and more—I suspect the vindictive resentment will grow.

What's especially disappointing is the hostility from some Oklahoma educators toward parents who want a faith-based education for their children. Rob Miller, for example, says: "If you are a parent who wants to use the Bible as your child’s Biology text, ESAs are for you." The online Oklahoma Education Journal posted a video with a similarly uninformed and uncharitable portrayal of Christ-centered education. The viewer will notice the unflattering setting and the mockery of "God’s Li’l Voucher School, Inc." which delivers "cutting-edge religious creation-science."

Happily, the vast majority of Oklahoma educators would never resort to vapid caricatures of private schools. (Indeed, 4 in 10 Oklahoma teachers would choose private or home education for their own children.) The vast majority of Oklahoma teachers would never refer to elected officials as "racist pieces of [bleep]." And that's good. Because parents want exemplary role models for their children, understanding full well that "a student is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher."

And speaking of role models, the following signs were seen at the 2018 teacher strike. Let us fervently hope that these people are not actually teachers:

I realize this is the era of Trump, but why is Oklahoma's Democrat nominee for governor retweeting "GTFO"?

[This post has been updated to include colorful new quotes from #OklaEd boosters.]

Friday, November 11, 2016

Teacher caucus shortage

Researchers say there is no teacher shortage in Oklahoma. But the same cannot be said regarding the much-ballyhooed teacher caucus.

Sand Springs administrator Rob Miller, shocked and disappointed at Tuesday's election results, says "there is very little positive spin anyone can offer about the outcome of many House and Senate races, not to mention the demoralizing defeat of State Question 779 ..." Purcell superintendent Jason Midkiff was similarly disappointed by "the small group of Education Candidates to win." Retired teacher Claudia Swisher said they were "much smaller numbers than we’d hoped." Tulsa Union teacher Dallas Koehn was pleased by "the handful of winning edu-slators" on Tuesday. "But dozens of others went down in flames," he says. "Not even close in most cases."

There’s trouble bruin on campus

"A disturbing social media video of several fights involving current and former Bartlesville High School and Bruin Academy students surfaced Tuesday night, causing concern among parents, students, and school administrators," the Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise reports.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Profane Owasso teacher doesn't like vouchers

FOX 23 reports on an Owasso High School teacher who was disgusted with Tuesday's election results, especially with the fact that Oklahomans would elect people to office who favor school vouchers. "Ridiculous," he said.

The teacher was unhappy that Oklahomans would "elect uninformed, ignorant, racist pieces of [bleep]."

Educator blissfully untroubled by mass educational failure

After SQ 779 went down in flames Tuesday night, a teacher at Ada High School tweeted the following:

Well, yes. However, an obvious question presents itself:

I'm not sure what sort of reply I was then expecting from this teacher. Perhaps it was unrealistic to expect something along the lines of: "Good point. We have spent untold millions of dollars yet too often have failed at our most basic task—teaching a child to read. We have damaged countless lives, many of them unalterably. I hope parents and taxpayers can forgive us and give us another chance."

Alas, that's not what he said. Incredibly, this was his reply:

Monday, November 7, 2016

Private sector must help drive ed reform in Oklahoma

In a series of recent meetings in Oklahoma, Indiana business titan Fred Klipsch made it clear that business leaders must get involved.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

School districts accused of squandering millions on bond fees

Midwest City-Del City Public Schools, Norman Public Schools, and other school districts are squandering Oklahoma taxpayers' hard-earned dollars every year by paying exorbitant fees for financial advisers, bond counsel, and underwriters, The Oklahoman reports.

Education choice will help revitalize OKC

Excellent op-ed today by real-estate professor Bart Danielsen and former Oklahoma City mayor Kirk Humphreys.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Nontraditional Oklahoma teachers no cause for concern

Excellent editorial from the state's largest newspaper today.

Does Oklahoma have a teacher shortage ---- or a surplus?

"Overall, there is no teacher shortage," researchers at the 1889 Institute conclude in a new report. "In fact, there may be a surplus."