Friday, December 29, 2017

Teacher sexual misconduct is nothing new in Oklahoma

"One of Oklahoma's most wanted fugitives turned himself in last week after nearly 30 years on the run," the News on 6 reports
Gary Boergermann was working street crimes for the Tulsa Police Department back in 1987 when he and his partner first arrested Ronald Lyons at his Tulsa home near 11th and Harvard. "We got an anonymous tip that there was a Broken Arrow school teacher possibly selling drugs to students,” said Boergermann. “And we ran him and he happened to have a traffic warrant for his arrest." 
Boergerman and his partner knocked on the door to question Lyons. They say they saw drugs on the coffee table and got permission to search the rest of the house. During their search, they say they found more drugs and nude photos of some of his students.

"Back then they were old Polaroid pictures and they had all the dates on the film," said Boergermann.

Boergerman said it took a lot of time to identify the girls from Broken Arrow School yearbooks and gather information on the case. ... Tulsa Police Department spent many hours trying to get some of the students to talk but many of them didn't want to, including Melody Teague, who investigators believe hung herself in fear that she would be called to testify against Lyons.

"She said ‘I don’t want to talk about it,’ ‘I said why?’ She said ‘he'll know.’ I said “What do you mean he will know?’ ‘She said he knows everything.’"

Boergermann said they were never able to connect Teague’s death to Lyons. "We were never to put that case with him or any of the charges you know because he didn't force her to do it,” said Boergermann. “I just think she just felt so bad and guilty that she did." ... 
"Whether he's had a real terrible 30 years or a real great 30 years, that’s no concern he still needs to do his 9 years,” said Boergermann. “He hurt too many kids back in the day."

How is this for a sweet deal?

"Allegedly commit a fireable offense on the job, and as part of a 'resignation agreement,' get paid nearly a full year's worth of your considerable salary."

Former Oklahoma teacher charged with second-degree rape

KFOR has the story.

Tulsa Public Schools agrees to settle civil suit involving sexual assault

"Tulsa Public Schools has agreed to a $35,000 settlement in a civil suit filed by the victim of an alleged 2015 student-on-student sexual assault on a TPS bus," the Tulsa World reports.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Rape charge added in alleged Oklahoma teacher-student relationship

The Stillwater News-Press has the story.

Lawsuit: Perry school officials failed to report abuse

"The parents of 15 girls who said they were molested by a teacher's aide are suing Perry school officials for damages," The Oklahoman reports.

"The Perry Board of Education had many opportunities to resolve these matters and instead chose to ignore these innocent victims," said attorney Cameron Spradling, who is representing the plaintiffs. "The Perry Board of Education has failed its community and its taxpayers."

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Parental breakups and student performance

Bryce J. Christensen and Nicole M. King discuss interesting new research from Dutch scholars.

Bullied student was told ‘God made a mistake’

Nine-year-old Mahkenzee Kennedy has started an anti-bullying campaign at Sulphur Intermediate School, KFOR reports.
In tears, she shared, "I was bullied. I was called fat." ... 
"She started hating school. Nobody would play with her. Up until a few months ago, she wouldn't even eat lunch, even though I would make it because she didn't want to eat alone. She's afraid to join a group in fear of rejection. It's hard for her," said her mom Teena Kennedy. ... "It was really rough when your kid is 6 or 7 and others are saying God made a mistake and they would rather not be alive, that's hard to hear as a mom. No child should ever feel that way."

Oklahoma’s ESSA plan is more of the same

It's all about "dumping truckloads of money into expensive programs with no proven or even probable relationship to education outcomes," Greg Forster writes.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Slowing the use of seclusion rooms

Good column today by Oklahoma state Rep. Bobby Cleveland.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Autistic student’s lawsuit against Ardmore nears its end

The Ardmoreite has the story.

Oklahoma principal lauds four-day school week

Rick Grimes, principal of Boswell Public Schools in southeastern Oklahoma, says the four-day school week has saved money, increased student and teacher attendance, and boosted test scores.

Davis High School teacher fired after filing for marriage license with her 16-year-old student

The British tabloids have the story.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Oklahoma substitute teacher arrested for making lewd proposals to a minor

KFOR has the story.

Moore elementary student allegedly stabbed in eye with pencil by another student

"An elementary student was allegedly stabbed in the eye with a pencil by another student during school, according to the child’s parent," KFOR reports.

"It's hard to see my son cry and scared. I just want something more for him," Sarena Garner told News 4. "I just want to protect him, as a mother, and I expect these teachers to protect them because I leave them in their care."

Monday, December 11, 2017

Safety concerns leading black families to homeschooling

"Interest in homeschooling has increased over the last decade, as what was once perceived as a marginal development has turned into a significant phenomenon," Garvey Musumunu and Ama Mazama write.
There has been, in recent years, a noticeable surge in African American involvement in the homeschooling movement as well. However, there continues to be a general paucity of research on the motivations of homeschooling Black parents. It is the purpose of this essay (1) to present empirical evidence regarding African American motivations for homeschooling; and (2) more specifically, to explore how parental concerns for safety are leading African American families to homeschooling. These concerns, the authors contend, bring to the fore a series of disturbing circumstances and preoccupations that are specific to African Americans.

Pediatrician says ‘transgender ideology in schools is psychological abuse’

"To indoctrinate all children from preschool forward with the lie that they could be trapped in the wrong body disrupts the very foundation of a child’s reality testing," writes pediatrician Michelle Cretella. "If they can’t trust the reality of their physical bodies, who or what can they trust? Transgender ideology in schools is psychological abuse that often leads to chemical castration, sterilization, and surgical mutilation."

Friday, December 8, 2017

OCU economists: School choice tax credit saves the state money

"The state budget saves $1.24 for every dollar of tax credit issued to the Oklahoma Equal Opportunity Education Scholarship Act, according to an Oklahoma City University study released Friday," The Journal Record reported October 6.

The study is available here. The state's largest newspaper has an excellent editorial here. OCPA president Jonathan Small discusses it here.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

‘Children are more than test scores’

"Children are more than test scores," the Duncan Public Schools superintendent reminds us. "Test scores are a small snapshot of a school’s performance and not the only measure of a school’s overall impact on a student’s life."

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Choctaw-Nicoma Park school employee arrested for child porn

News 9 has the story.

Hofmeister visits Robert E. Lee Early Childhood Center


The Durant Democrat has the story.

Oklahoma schools use ‘seclusion rooms’

"A controversial practice of shutting children alone in small closet-like rooms to control their behavior has led Oklahoma parents to withdraw their children from school, seek police intervention and take legal action," Jennifer Palmer reports for Oklahoma Watch.
School officials give the rooms benign-sounding names like “blue room,” “cool-down room” or “de-escalation room” and say they’re intended to provide a healthy temporary separation. But many parents and child advocates say the practice is like being locked in a closet, and some liken it to solitary confinement in prison. Students placed in the room often have special needs. 
One father says his special-needs son was placed in a closet for timeout a dozen times in the first two weeks of classes at a Mustang elementary school. In the small Coal County district of Cottonwood, parents say the school placed their son in the narrow “blue room” multiple times for not minding his teacher when he was just 3 years old. Lawsuits have been filed over schools in Cottonwood, Ardmore, Edmond, and likely elsewhere.
Read the whole thing here.

Tax reform a big win for homeschoolers


Monday, December 4, 2017

Public education is political

"[E]verything about public education is political," OEA president Alicia Priest pointed out last year. "The reforms, the elected school board, the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, the standards, your salary and benefits, the textbooks that are approved for your use—ALL politically driven decisions."

She's right. "[E]ducation has always been political," high school teacher Zachary Wright points out today ("It's Non-Negotiable. We Have to Teach Social Justice In Our Schools.").
When a nation has within its DNA laws regulating who can learn, with whom one can learn, and where one can learn, then the idea that a school ought not engage in the political realm reeks of forced naïveté. 
As long as our school systems are funded within halls of state legislatures that maintain 21st-century houses of education for zip codes of wealth, and crumbling school houses for zip codes of poverty, then it is disingenuous at best to assert that schools exists outside the realm of political discourse.

Friday, December 1, 2017

NEA spending not successful everywhere

"The National Education Association just filed its 2016-2017 financial disclosure with the U.S. Department of Labor—and it is clear that the nation’s largest teachers’ union is spending even more to maintain its influence in education policy," RiShawn Biddle writes ("NEA's $151 Million Influence Spree").
But the union’s efforts didn’t succeed everywhere. ... NEA also failed in Oklahoma, where it gave $750,000 to Oklahoma’s Children Our Future, which unsuccessfully pushed Question 779, which would have levied a one percent sales tax for additional school funding.