Monday, February 26, 2018
The News on 6 has the story.
KOCO has the story.
As multiple Oklahoma schools received violent threats and went into lockdown last week, the Tulsa superintendent told the News on 6 that these sorts of threats are "very serious."
News 9 has the story.
Sunday, February 25, 2018
Saturday, February 24, 2018
Wednesday, February 21, 2018
Agenda journalism is not helpful to readers, my colleague Trent England points out—and it’s boring to boot.
Tuesday, February 20, 2018
Monday, February 19, 2018
"Critics often caricature Republicans as greedy and heartless, with little compassion for struggling citizens," The Oklahoman editorialized today. "The state Senate Education Committee did little to undermine that stereotype when it killed legislation benefiting children who are homeless or suffering from mental illness."
According to legend, upon hearing poor people had no bread to eat, Marie Antoinette responded, “Let them eat cake.” For Republican senators to embrace this attitude toward the plight of homeless and mentally ill children is fiscally irresponsible and morally offensive.
Voting in favor of the bill were state senators Brecheen, Ikley-Freeman, Scott, Stanislawski, Sykes, and Thompson. Voting no were state senators Allen, Bergstrom, Dossett, Dugger, Fields, Pemberton, Sharp, and Smalley.
FOX 23 has the story.
"An Oklahoma City teacher has been arrested, accused of having ties to the Irish Mob," KSWO reports. "She was arrested at Northeast Academy this week. Police and ATF agents found at least three guns in Leva Drummond's home. In 2016 she pleaded guilty to a felony charge of bringing contraband to an inmate at the Tulsa County Jail."
Wednesday, February 14, 2018
"Over the years, I’ve seen how teamwork between different organizations has led to meaningful programs for our community," writes Di Smalley, regional president of Mercy in Oklahoma.
One recent example involves the Cristo Rey Oklahoma City Catholic High School, which opens this fall. The school offers a rigorous college preparatory curriculum and a unique work-study program to students with limited economic means. As part of the program, students work one day a week in a business setting and receive a salary that pays most of their tuition. Several businesses have already signed on to participate in this transformative new program. ...
Another example was the creation of the Good Shepherd Catholic School at Mercy in fall 2011. Mercy partnered with the University of Central Oklahoma and the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City to open the school, which teaches children with autism or similar neurological disorders beginning at age 2. The accredited program helps nearly 50 children each year become more independent academically and behaviorally so they can transition to a traditional school setting.
Since the school opened, numerous students have spoken for the first time and 21 children have moved on to traditional schools. After three years in the program, one student went from non-verbal to speaking in complete sentences, reading simple books and working on early addition. He has made a few friends and will likely transition to a traditional school within 24 months.
Monday, February 12, 2018
Jennifer Williams is an AP English teacher in Oklahoma who believes that “Whites are sucking the life from America, denying our country any possible chance at greatness.” So I suppose it comes as no surprise that she would rethink the literary canon:
I’m done with the dead, White guys … I will no longer center them in all their precious White, cishet maleness.
Why am I done? Because I refuse to continue being part of the problem. What problem? The problem of perpetuating systemic oppression and discrimination in our society—through our educational system. ...
I used to be one of those people and teachers who…wanted my students to speak “proper” English. That was the first thing I let go.Sorry, Bill. This AP English teacher will no longer be a “guardian of the gate of standard English” because doing so “perpetuates Whiteness and what is ‘acceptable’ English. ... Why force our students into the mold of Whiteness and White speech?”
America’s Founding Fathers built many problems “into the foundation of our society,” Williams says, but she is choosing to be a part of the solution. “I hope you’ll join me on this journey. If not, you may need to rethink teaching.”
Sunday, February 11, 2018
"We’re going to take every opportunity that he can get to enjoy life, to enjoy his education from now on," the 12-year-old boy's father said after withdrawing his son from an Owasso elementary school.
Friday, February 9, 2018
"Many legislators and the governor have expressed concern over a gap between tax revenues and government spending," Byron Schlomach and Vance H. Fried write. "One way to cut this gap is to create a low payout ESA program. Low payout ESAs are a way to reduce government spending by letting parents volunteer to accept a reduced level of support from the state in order to provide what they consider a better education for their children."
Thursday, February 8, 2018
"Edison Preparatory School officials have sent emails to parents after several recent incidents involving students and teachers at the school," KJRH reports. "The recent incidents include an Edison student being arrested on an accusation of rape last week, a teacher being accused of sexual misconduct with students, and a teacher resigning after throwing a tantrum in class."
KFOR has the story.
Wednesday, February 7, 2018
"The Oklahoma State Department of Education and the schools it serves spend up to $2 million annually—as much as $200,000 per student—to send selected students with profound disabilities to private residential schools in other states," Mike Brake reports.
Education Week has the story.
Tuesday, February 6, 2018
"We need not pine for an era when a generic, superficial Protestantism was taken for granted by most Americans," writes Boston University professor emeritus Charles Glenn ("Can We Stop Fighting Over Schools?").
In the contemporary American scene, despite the cultural hegemony of an intolerant secularism, the social elements for constructing vigorous alternative institutions and communities are by no means lacking. Indeed, they have been stimulated by the collapse of the post-war “Judeo-Christian” cultural dominance. The challenge is to give principled policy support to this rich pluralism of convictions.
Here we could usefully look to the example of the Netherlands. In the nineteenth century, Dutch society was roiled by decades-long conflicts over schools. Protestants and Catholics vigorously resisted the efforts of liberal elites to impose a common set of beliefs through the schools operated by local government. The solution that brought a permanent “pacification” to these conflicts was the adoption of structural pluralism in education (and in other sectors of social and cultural life) that permitted educators to provide schooling based on a variety of worldviews and gave parents the right to choose among those schools without financial penalty. Today, about 70 percent of Dutch children attend schools that are not operated by government. Academic outcomes are strong, and education is not a focal point of political conflict. ...
Most other nations with advanced levels of universal schooling provide public support to faith-based schools with no evident harm to their social fabric and with considerably less conflict over schooling than occurs in the United States. Surely the time has come for a similar American “pacification,” through adoption of principled pluralism as the fundamental and equitable structure of our education system.
Harvard professor Paul E. Peterson reminds us:
For the entire colonial period and well into the first decades of the nineteenth century, schooling was the responsibility of churches, private tutors, and fee-paid, itinerant schoolmasters like Washington Irving’s Ichabod Crane. The hodgepodge worked pretty well. In 1840, Alexis de Tocqueville reported to his French readers that the American people “appear to be the most enlightened community in the world.”
A new poll commissioned by Oklahoma’s largest teachers union shows respondents "pouncing on 'accountability' as the most important value when 'thinking about the issue of public education here in Oklahoma,'" my colleague Trent England points out.
This is unsurprising given the financial scandals and other accusations in the news over the past few years.
- School superintendent gets bonuses, full retirement, and then a payout when he resigns amid a police investigation for failing to report multiple student sexual assaults at his home.
- School treasurer and clerk together steal hundreds of thousands of dollars from a rural school district.
- District facing serious lawsuits for protecting a sexual predator.
- After years of fraud, a school superintendent and treasurer get busted stealing district funds.
- School district pays out-of-state firm linked to fraud charges nearly $70,000 to conduct superintendent search (then fires superintendent after less than two years—see next item).
- Top-paid school superintendent rarely comes to work, lives out of state, flies around the country, finally gets fired—with a big payout.
- When nepotism is not enough ... school superintendent and husband/employee caught casually using school resources for personal and political purchases.
- School districts pass audits with flying colors—despite years of serious fraud.
Every dollar stolen here was “education funding.” And there are many more mundane stories of school districts wasting resources by grandstanding against Trump Administration policies, building a million-dollar press box, and renaming schools against the will of school staff and families. Oklahoma taxpayers might also be nervous when they hear about districts avoiding open government laws.
Every scandal or instance of waste is a reminder that simply planting a flag that says “education” in a pile of money tells us nothing about whether that money is actually used to help kids learn.
Insightful piece by Frederick M. Hess and Brendan Bell.
The Tulsa World has the story.
Monday, February 5, 2018
Terrific editorial today in the state's largest newspaper. Key grafs:
In 2017, researcher Rodger Williams calculated and compared child fatality rates due to abuse or neglect in the general population and the homeschool population. Among other things, Williams drew his data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Education.
Williams calculated the “expected” fatality rate among homeschoolers if the rate within homeschooling was the same as in the general population. He found the expected number of fatalities among legally homeschooled students was 55, but the actual number was far lower—32. Put another way, legally homeschooled students were 40 percent less likely to die by child abuse or neglect than the average student nationally.Read the whole thing here.