Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Oklahoma teacher says ‘sexual assault and harassment in schools is severely under-reported’

"[S]exual assault and harassment in schools is severely under-reported," says Aaron Baker, an 8th-grade teacher in the Mid-Del school district. "This is irrefutable."
Every day all across the United States, educators witness countless examples of female students being touched without consent. We have a culture problem in our schools. We have to start somewhere, and we have to start now!
Mr. Baker isn't the only Oklahoman on the political left who has noticed this. Back in 2014, Democrat state Rep. Rebecca Hamilton, a self-described feminist, observed:
Based on what I heard from my constituents, sexual harassment of girls in our public schools is close to being pro forma. ...Your daughter has a much better chance of growing up to be a strong, independent young woman if she can skip this abuse during her formative years.

Tulsa teacher investigated for sending inappropriate photos to students

"The Tulsa Police Department is investigating reports of a teacher sending inappropriate photos to multiple students at Edison Preparatory School," the News on 6 reports.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Owasso parents fed up with bullying

"One mother fears for her son's life, one year after he threatened to commit suicide because of bullying," KJRH reports. "'He was going to tie himself up to his bed and choke him until he died,'" she said.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Tulsa teachers pull ‘sick-out’ stunt

Teacher absenteeism hurts students.

And it’s very much a problem in Oklahoma: Chronic teacher absenteeism is an astounding 20 percent in Oklahoma’s public schools.

To make matters worse, some Tulsa public school teachers recently decided to ditch their students in order to make a political point. “Some teachers a few weeks ago decided to sick-out in unison, and it caused 50 teachers between Edison and Booker T. to be absent on the same day, making it very difficult for administrators to handle the class," says Larry Cagle, an English teacher at Tulsa Edison.

"Those students ended up having to sit in auditoriums with one person overseeing 3, 4, 5 classes at a time, which was the intended goal."

Other types of protests are planned, he says.

  • Oklahoma Watch wonders if a teacher strike is imminent in the state. If it is, and if it results in a $5,000 pay raise for teachers, economist Byron Schlomach says that would move Oklahoma to 15th in average cost-of-living-adjusted teacher pay. 
  • The group Oklahoma Teachers United reports that "Sand Springs High School joins the protest!!! 20 teachers out sick on one day. Fund our schools and pay our teachers. Hear us loud and clear, we are united and we will not back down."
  • KTUL reports that "public schools seem unwilling to acknowledge teacher protests."
  • KJRH reports that "on Friday, a handful of Kiefer High School students walked out of class. The reason was higher pay for teachers. 'Teachers really didn’t say anything, they just let them,' Kiefer High School freshman Bailey Capehart said. ... Just days ago in Tulsa, Edison Preparatory School students walked out of class after lawmakers didn’t pass a bill that would raise taxes and ultimately raise salaries."
  • The Tulsa World reports that teacher walkouts in Oklahoma public schools are under consideration.

Anadarko students arrested for gun, drugs

"A loaded gun turned up in an Anadarko Middle School bathroom Wednesday morning," News 9 reports
The school called police, who quickly arrested a 12-year-old and a 14-year-old boy.
Police Chief Tracy Roles says police found the gun in a backpack in the bathroom. Roles says the gun belonged to the 14-year-old. He says they also found what they believe was a small amount of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia, which he says belonged to the 12-year-old. ...

Roles says a police lockdown that included two K-9’s also turned up a bag of marijuana that he says belonged to a 13-year-old girl.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Why do Oklahoma families choose virtual charter schools?

The Oklahoma Statewide Virtual Charter School Board (OSVCSB) recently commissioned a study on "why families choose to enroll in virtual charter schools, as well as the benefits and challenges associated with virtual charter school attendance." Read the whole thing here. One nugget:
Parents and guardians are drawn to virtual charter schools due partly to negative experiences in prior educational settings and partly to the unique opportunities available via virtual education. Related to negative experiences, the top selections by survey respondents included “Bullying or threats from classmates at other schools” (41% of respondents).

Longtime educator says sexual abuse of students ‘is obviously a problem that exists in Oklahoma’

State Sen. Ron Sharp (R-Shawnee), a public school educator for 38 years, has introduced legislation "that would mandate all Oklahoma teachers undergo annual training to keep their certificates," The Journal Record reports. "Senate Bill 899 would allow the State Department of Health to develop coursework informing teachers and other staffers about the potential penalties they could face if charged with crimes related to sexual abuse or exploitation."

According to Sen. Sharp, "This is obviously a problem that exists in Oklahoma and throughout the United States because it’s constantly in the news."

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Child abuse of public, private, and home schooled students

In a new memo, Brian D. Ray "reviews available empirical evidence related to abuse rates of public school, private school, and homeschool students by school personnel and by parents." He shows that "an estimated 10 percent (or more) of public and private schoolchildren experience sexual maltreatment at the hands of school personnel, and in addition, some schoolchildren are abused by their parents. The limited evidence available shows that homeschooled children are abused at a lower rate than are those in the general public, and no evidence shows that the home educated are at any higher risk of abuse."

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

‘It was really disrespectful’

Some Southmoore students have been suspended for inappropriate videos, KFOR reports.

Piedmont teacher accused of excessive force

News 9 has the story.

School choice research is not a Rorschach test

"Folks who don’t like school choice can highlight this study or that that 'proves' school choice doesn’t work," EdChoice points out. "Folks who like school choice have done the reverse. Unfortunately, that’s not how science is supposed to work. We’ve got to look at all of the available empirical evidence and weigh it out."

Monday, January 22, 2018

Homeschooling and public-school bullying

Rod Dreher has an excellent post on homeschooling and bullying. I encourage you to read the whole thing. He quotes Alan Jacobs:
Spousal abuse is surely a greater blight on our society than child abuse by homeschoolers, so I make this proposal: In households of married people, annual checks by a state government employee, empowered to look for signs of abuse by one spouse of another, would seem to be a minimum required by a commonsense concern for the well-being of the adults involved. Sure, some pro-marriage lobbyists will object. But then they will find themselves in the awkward position of defending the right of men to beat their wives undetected.
In short, Jacobs writes, "When people who cry out for mass surveillance of homeschooling families articulate some strategy for addressing the far, far larger problem of bullying in schools—I’ll even allow them to ignore spousal abuse—then I’ll believe that they care about the children."

Don’t blame homeschooling for child abuse cases

"The fact that states haven’t yet deployed the National Guard into classrooms shows that no one treats public schools in the same way many treat homeschooling," G. Shane Morris points out. Cheryl Magness adds:
If state and local governments can’t protect the children in their own schools, the ones over whom they have been given custody for eight or more hours a day, what makes anyone think they can protect children in home schools or private schools that they are only going to inspect once a year? ... [W]e are supposed to believe that public employees who can’t keep children safe in government-run schools will somehow be able to do so if we give them greater oversight of private and home schools? I reject that argument.
Michelle Malkin has some additional insights here.

Ending bigoted education laws

Edmond student arrested for dealing LSD after fellow student overdoses

KFOR has the story.

‘The list goes on, but the stories are much the same’

"There's a reason teachers engaged in relationships with students usually go to great lengths to keep their trysts a secret," The Oklahoman editorializes today.
In 2015, Eric Reid Ramirez, then a 23-year-old substitute teacher and wrestling coach at Western Heights High School, had sex with an 18-year-old student. Ramirez was subsequently charged with second-degree rape and eventually pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of outraging public decency. When the girl's mother, a former school district employee, later sued the district, she noted her child has disabilities. “My daughter, even as a 20-year-old, has the mind of a 13-year-old. She's highly gullible and easy tricked," the woman said. "This guy was a predator.” 
Vincent Chad Warford, a former teacher at Freedom Public Schools, was arrested in 2017 after allegedly requesting nude photographs from a 14-year-old he once coached. 
In 2017, former Luther Public Schools band director Kyle Whitmus was sentenced to 20 years in prison for lewd acts against a 12-year-old student.
"Any job providing access to children is going to attract a disproportionate number of pedophiles," The Oklahoman notes. "At the same time, virtually all teachers are honorable people and not child molesters."

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Pastor asks OKC school board to embrace tolerance

"All that we are asking," Pastor Sam Storms recently told the Oklahoma City school board, "all that Mr. Humphreys desires, is that he be granted the same right and freedom to embrace his views on human sexuality that is granted to the LGBTQ community."
He is more than willing to affirm their right to believe and live in accordance with their convictions concerning homosexuality. He simply is asking that he be shown the same dignity and granted the same constitutional freedom when it comes to his beliefs about what the Bible says concerning homosexual behavior.
I’m not asking that you agree with his or my moral convictions concerning homosexual practice but only that you extend to him the same respect and intellectual freedom that you so tenaciously protect on behalf of all others.

Were Mr. Humphreys to be removed from the Board of John Rex School it would tell me and others that anyone can serve on this Board except evangelical Christians. It tells me that every view is permissible and should be granted freedom of expression and protection from discrimination except the view embraced by orthodox, Bible-believing Christians.

Surely our emphasis on “inclusion” and “tolerance” and the importance of showing respect for all views should be extended to all persons, including Mr. Humphreys.

Teachers cite dues, ideology for OEA membership slide

Jay Chilton has the story.

Oklahoma charter school teacher earned $106K last year

EPIC Charter Schools' highest-paid teacher made $106,324 in 2016-17, the Tulsa World reports.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Inola adapts to four-day week

Inola Public Schools superintendent Kent Holbrook tells the Tulsa World that the district may keep its four-day school week regardless of funding.
Holbrook said some people argue that the four-day week is bad for students, while others see it the opposite way. He said the district would evaluate with the community whether or not going back to five days would be the right thing to do.

State Chamber strategic plan recommends school choice

Patrick McGuigan has the story and discusses it here on News 9.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Bixby football players admitted to sexually assaulting student at superintendent's home

They also recorded the incident, the ABC affiliate in Phoenix reports.

Bluejacket parents say teacher allowed child to be bullied

"Parents in Bluejacket are angry after they say an elementary gym teacher encouraged students to bully their son," the News on 6 reports.

Bullying most common reason students choose virtual schools

"Forty-one percent of students who attend a virtual charter school in Oklahoma left their previous school because they were victims of bullying," Ben Felder reports in The Oklahoman.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Most government-funded programs allow participants to choose a provider

"Public education in America is one of the only major government-funded programs that does not allow participants to choose a provider," the United States Congress Joint Economic Committee (JEC) notes in a new report.
Social Security beneficiaries can choose how they spend their benefits. Medicare and Medicaid recipients generally choose their health care providers. Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients can choose where they shop. Federal Housing Choice Voucher program recipients can choose where they live, and in fact, the federal government touts the accommodating aspect of housing choice: “Since housing assistance is provided on behalf of the family or individual, participants are able to find their own housing, including single-family homes, townhouses and apartments.” Thus, adding choice in education is consistent with the tradition of other large government-funded programs.

Textbooks nationwide saturated with identity politics

"California has had enormous influence on the nation’s history textbooks in the past, and single-interest groups have long flocked to Sacramento to try to gain expanded, favorable inclusion," writes Gilbert T. Sewall, director of the American Textbook Council. "The LGBT lobby has been notably assertive."
But arguing over labels misses the point. What in the world is a television personality like Ellen DeGeneres doing in a first-grade social-studies textbook? If you ask, many educators will look at you funny. If you exclaim that these are little children, that lesbian is a complicated word for six-year-olds, or that age-inappropriate might be an understatement here, heads will shake. If you say that sexualizing historical figures like Emily Dickinson or Florence Nightingale marginalizes their achievements, they will think you are the problem to overcome.

LGBT awareness is one of several themes reshaping social studies/history programs. California mandates study of “Native Americans, African Americans, Mexican Americans, Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, European Americans, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans, persons with disabilities, and members of other ethnic and cultural groups.” State law prohibits the state board and the governing board of any school district from adopting textbooks or other instructional materials that contain any matter that “reflects adversely upon persons because of their race, sex, color, creed, handicap, national origin, or ancestry.” Only textbooks assembled according to diversity’s catechism need apply for state approval.

Not just in California but nationwide, curriculum supervisors at all levels, by law or partiality, won’t consider volumes unless they align to multicultural premises. Old-style textbooks have been taken out of print. As a result, teachers and parents are finding it close to impossible to avoid lessons saturated in identity politics.

‘Rather than feeling supported, teachers feel disrespected’

As one teacher told Tulsa Kids, “It’s never been about money. Teachers leave TPS because of the hostile work environment.”

Friday, January 5, 2018

Elk City addressing alleged bullying caught on camera

KFOR has the story.

Police say former Putnam City worker embezzled more than $76K

"A former financial secretary who collected child care payments for a Putnam City district elementary school is accused of stealing $76,000 over a 7-year period," The Oklahoman reports.

Family sues Sequoyah school district for failing to protect child from bullying

The News on 6 has the story.

Wagoner school official accused of pulling 16-year-old girl into janitor’s closet

The dean of students for the Wagoner Public Schools has resigned after being accused of taking a 16-year-old girl into a closet, the Tulsa World reports.