Monday, October 23, 2017

A win-win compromise on education


Some Oklahomans want to spend more money on education. Others prefer more school choice. But as Oklahoma City University law professor Andrew Spiropoulos points out, "it turns out that if you invest in choice programs, you can free up a lot of cash for public schools."

Read the whole thing here.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Sex ed lesson for 12-year-olds upsets Oklahoma parents

 
"A graphic sex education lesson has some Green Country parents upset after they said the lesson told their 12-year-old children different ways to have sex," the News on 6 reports.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Tulsa mother claims cocaine was found at Union Middle School

KTUL has the story.

Oklahoma closes the ‘honesty gap’

In this 2006 report, OCPA
recommended that Oklahoma
"reverse course and increase
expectations for performance." 
"With new test score standards that state education officials believe are more in line with national standards, the majority of Oklahoma students lack proficiency in all but one subject area tested," Ben Felder reports today in The Oklahoman.
An average of 63 percent of Oklahoma students scored below proficient in the 18 state-required tests issued last school year in grades third through eighth, and 10th grade. 
The 10th-grade U.S. history test was the only exam where a majority—slightly over 50 percent—of students scored as proficient or advanced. 
Most Oklahoma students lack the basic subject-level knowledge the state now requires, according to the statewide scores released Wednesday.
Disappointing, to be sure, but Oklahoma's education officials do deserve credit for finally working to close the honesty gap. This is something OCPA has been recommending for more than 11 years.

UPDATE:

Via the Tulsa World, here's a look at some of the proficiency rates.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Duncan Public Schools, police department investigating YouTube fight videos

KSWO has the story.

Oklahoma teacher hiring devastated by emergency ‘common sense shortage’


"Oklahoma’s education establishment and click-addicted media benefit from public hysteria about a 'teacher shortage' and 'emergency certifications,'" Greg Forster writes. "But the general consensus is that the empirical research does not find evidence of educational value—at all—to teacher certification requirements. These arbitrary and educationally useless requirements do nothing to improve educational quality, and much to hinder schools’ ability to hire teachers."

Read the whole thing here.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Excellent point about home-buying


Oklahoma teacher: “I teach my students that the phrase ‘law and order’ is steeped in systemic racism”


"The prevailing narrative about government-run schools," the Cato Institute reminds us, is that they "harmoniously bring together people from various racial, ethnic, and religious backgrounds and instill in their children the civic values necessary for a pluralist democracy. In reality, however, government schooling often forces citizens into political combat. Different families have different priorities on topics ranging from academics and the arts to questions of morality and religion. No single school can possibly reflect the wide range of mutually exclusive views on these fundamental subjects."

Unsurprisingly, we see this conflict in public schools here in a Bible Belt state where Barack Obama twice won 0 of 77 counties. In the Mid-Del school district, for example, there's a history teacher named Aaron Baker who describes himself as a "proud liberal progressive public school teacher" who promotes "radical social justice in Oklahoma public schools." How radical? Mr. Baker believes educators should avoid using male and female pronouns. He believes that some opinions—such as views he deems "anti-gay hate speech"—"should not be allowed to be heard."

In a state where political-correctness slayer Donald Trump won 77 of 77 counties, all this is going over about as well as you might expect.

To his credit, Mr. Baker doesn't hide what he's doing. "I teach my students that the phrase 'law and order' is steeped in systemic racism," he recently informed us. "I teach my students that concentrated wealth multiplies poverty. ... I teach my students that the greatest nuclear threat the world has ever seen is the United States of America."

Mr. Baker is not a supporter of school choice—earlier this year he encouraged people to "agitate and disrupt" a school choice summit—but in truth he illustrates better than anyone why we so desperately need it. "In a market-based education system, parents can select the school most closely aligned with their priorities," Cato says. "By contrast, when these questions are decided through a political system, such as elected school boards, parents with differing views must struggle against each other to have the school reflect their views. Inevitably, some parents will lose that struggle. To add insult to injury, all citizens are forced to pay for the government-run schools through their taxes, even when those schools are antagonistic toward their most deeply held values."

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Skiatook teacher arrested on complaint of sexual battery

The News on 6 has the story.

OKC teacher suspended after giving students inappropriate assignment

"A metro teacher is suspended after students and parents reported an inappropriate assignment that was sexual in nature," KFOR reports.

Parents, student say bullying a problem in Edmond school district


"Outlining his own case of cyberbullying, a high school student urged Edmond School Board members and administrators to do more to combat the problem," Steve Gust reports for The Oklahoman.
Drew O'Daniel, a sophomore at Edmond Memorial High School, was granted five minutes to speak to the five-member board during its regular meeting Monday night. ... O'Daniel's comments came a month after his mother, Cara O'Daniel, requested the school board do more about bullying prevention. She and another mom, Julie Daniel, told the board there still were too many incidents of bullying in the Edmond school district.
Edmond public information director Susan Parks-Schlepp said the district policy has strict guidelines against bullying and takes every reported case seriously. Yet, neither Drew nor Cara O'Daniel believed their concerns were taken seriously by the district. ... He explained his was not an isolated incident. He cited the case of a girl, who attended Edmond schools but is now home schooled because of being taunted. He made his comments at the beginning of Monday's meeting when 150 to 200 other students and school patrons were present because of pending recognition for National Merit Semi-Finalists and the Edmond North High School state championship cheer team. 
After he spoke to the board, the room applauded. While being interviewed, two school patrons he didn't know offered him free counseling, as well as free martial arts training. "What I really want is for the school board and the administrators to do more about bullying," he said. 
Both Edmond Superintendent Bret Towne and Memorial Principal Tony Rose said they could not comment on the case. Yet, Towne, after the meeting, admitted the overall issue was still under review. "We know we have a ways to go," he said. 
A billboard in Edmond, Jan. 24, 2012
Well, yes. And how soon might the problem be solved? What shall bullied students and their parents do in the meantime? One Edmond parent told a reporter seven years ago, "On one front your child’s spirit is broken, and there is no more frustrating feeling than watching your child be abused. The other front is the fact that the school administration just wants you and the problem to go away."

The problems persist, even in Edmond. The district has a very good reputation—indeed, the average student in Edmond is performing better in math than 65 percent of students in the nation and 54 percent of students in other developed economies—but that doesn't mean every school is a good fit for every child, especially children who are being bullied.

I'm sure most Edmond parents and students are satisfied with their school. Others simply would like to see the district do more to address bullying. But for bullied students who need help now, they deserve (even if they opt not to use it) a ticket out in the form of a voucher, a tax credit, or an education savings account.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Diversity and community on campus

"The University of Oklahoma's mandatory student 'diversity training' is a horrifying recital of coercive tactics, clearly designed not to educate students about diversity (which would be valuable) so much as to manipulate, threaten, and control them so they don’t think the wrong things," Greg Forster writes.

Test scores are about to go down

Tahlequah superintendent Lisa Presley sent out a district-wide email on Monday:
From: Lisa Presley
Sent: Monday, October 02, 2017 6:39 PM
To: District
Cc: Lisa Presley
Subject: state testing 
District: 
Today we had discussions regarding the Oklahoma School Testing Program (OSTP) and the 2017 test scores. Below are some of the major take-aways from the 2017 testing reset:
  • The 2017 Oklahoma School Testing Program (OSTP) results will post on Oct. 11. Districts will receive paper copies the week of Nov. 27.
  • This year's testing results serve as the baseline year for ESSA accountability.
  • Our state-level assessment scores now align with the ACT, SAT and NAEP.
  • Our school district testing data will be in the same format as in previous years.
  • Expect a significant decrease in the number of students who score proficient or higher due to the new standards, assessments, and definitions for performance levels.
  • This year is a total reset and the OSTP scores cannot be compared to previous years.
  • Expect steady, incremental growth in test scores moving forward.
Please remember that teachers had only one year to teach the new standards in science, ELA and math; and that the new test scores do not reflect on the effectiveness of our schools or that our students are less skilled than before. The new test scores do mean that our students are being held to a higher standard that will better prepare them for college and career.
TPS is a great school district with outstanding educators! We are ready and willing to meet the challenge of preparing our students for a bright future!
Whether or not TPS is "a great school district" is, of course, open to debate. According to researchers at the George W. Bush Institute, the average student in Tahlequah is performing better in math than 43 percent of students in the nation and 32 percent of students in other developed economies. In any case, let's hope Tahlequah and every other Oklahoma district is indeed ready and willing to succeed.

Important to keep in mind

"No reasonable person believes that the level of student performance is a reliable proxy for school quality," Jay Greene reminds us. "Instead, the level of performance is largely a function of the severity of disadvantage among the students."