Sunday, December 23, 2018

Four-day week helps recruit, retain teachers

"Noble Public Schools Superintendent Frank Solomon knew that shortening the school week by one day would be a risky proposition," The Oklahoman reports today. But "the veteran educator didn't want to cut personnel or programs in the 2,900-student district."

No one wants to cut personnel, of course. But taxpayers can't be faulted for asking: If Noble's student population has increased by 10 percent over the last two decades and the teaching workforce has seen a similar growth of 11 percent, why has Noble's non-teaching staff ballooned by 56 percent?

In any case, that's a story for another day. Noble chose to go to a four-day school week, and as The Oklahoman reports:
Solomon said the community response to the change has been "overwhelmingly positive." 
"I think that from a teacher retention and recruitment standpoint, it's been very beneficial," he said. "Who wouldn't prefer a four-day workweek over a five?" 
The switch has resulted in improved student engagement and fewer attendance and discipline issues, Solomon said. "We're maintaining a highly qualified teaching staff, our academics are not suffering, and we're saving some money," he said.
Four-day school weeks aren't merely a money-saving tool, according to Matt Holder, deputy superintendent of finance and programs for the Oklahoma State Department of Education.
"Most of the feedback that I've gotten is that it has moved from a cost-savings (tool) to a teacher-recruitment (tool)," he said. "It seems to be something that teachers in those districts like." 
Little Axe Public Schools Superintendent Jay Thomas said teachers in the 1,300-student district are staying put because "they're not going to go to districts with five-day schools."

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Grandmother says Mid-Del bus driver, monitor have neglected special-needs children more than once

"A metro grandmother is furious after she says the district neglected her granddaughter more than once," News 4 reports. "News 4 tried to call, email and text the district. Eventually, a representative told us they could not give us a response because the district was on winter break."

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Enrollment fraud reminds us that many public schools aren't public

Sign at a middle school in prosperous north Edmond, Okla.

"Enrollment fraud is an example of where the reality of public schooling conflicts with the rhetoric of public schooling," Mike McShane writes.
No, great public schools aren’t always open to all comers. Public schools can, and do, act to exacerbate inequality. School choice is not something that only occurs when a state allows for charter schools or starts a voucher program.

In fact, the debate around school choice in this country would vastly improve if all of us were simply more honest about the de facto school choice programs that already exist in our communities. Rather than acting like a state “gets” school choice the day that a charter school law is passed, we would recognize that many Americans, from suburbanites to posh urbanites ensconced in exclusive attendance zone enclaves, exercise school choice. The fact that people want to choose a school increases the value of homes within its attendance zone. That premium keeps poor children out of that school. It functions like tuition, making a public school a private one. And this doesn't even touch those for whom attendance zones don't apply because they are politically connected, which is a worrisome feature of the educational landscape as well.

Female teachers get lenient sentences for rape

Informative post over at Sooner Politics.

Edmond teacher accused of sex crimes with minor

An Edmond teacher is accused of sex crimes involving a 17-year old boy, News 9 reports.

Monday, December 17, 2018

Broken Arrow student arrested in connection to shooting threat

"Broken Arrow police arrested an 18-year-old student on allegations he wrote a message on a high school bathroom mirror alleging a shooting threat would occur the next day," the Tulsa World reports.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Parents keep children at home after hearing rumors of threat at Putnam City school

"More than 100 students were out of class Wednesday at Capps Middle School after a threat was found on a bathroom wall," KOCO reports.
Parent Andrea Whitecotton said she decided her son would stay home from school after hearing about the rumor Tuesday night. She also said her son and his friends have been targeted by bullies the last few days. "I felt it was way too much of a risk to send my son to school at that point and risk something so horrible," Whitecotton said.

Student in custody after police investigate report of weapon at OKC high school

KOCO has the story.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Wheelchair-bound girl left alone on a Mid-Del Public Schools bus for several hours

"A wheelchair-bound girl was left alone on a Mid-Del Public Schools' bus for several hours on Tuesday," News 9 reports.

Mother sues Glenpool schools after fight during walkout protest

"The mother of a Glenpool High School student is suing the school district after her son was injured in a fight during a student-led walkout in March," the Tulsa World reports.
Ashley Dent is seeking damages in excess of $75,000 from Glenpool Public Schools after her son, Chandler, reportedly suffered injuries in a fight on March 14 amid a student walkout. Chandler was reportedly taken to a local hospital, a school spokeswoman said after the incident. 
A 17-year-old was arrested on an aggravated assault and battery complaint by Glenpool police, but Dent claimed school staff members didn’t intervene when the confrontation broke out, according to court documents. 
Gregory LaFevers, Dent’s attorney, said the incident left Chandler with injuries requiring multiple surgeries. He said Chandler is awaiting a second surgery to continue repairs after his collarbone was broken in four places. LaFevers said the incident was captured on security footage and documented on social media. 

Thursday, December 6, 2018

‘We’re talking about higher ed fixing an issue that should have been taken care of in high school’

"State data show 12,526 first-time freshmen (40.2 percent) enrolled in at least one remedial courses in 2016-17 because they weren't prepared for college-level work," The Oklahoman reports today. One regent is understandably frustrated.
"We're spending the afternoon talking about higher ed once again fixing an issue that should have been taken care of in high school," said Regent Jeff Hickman, of Fairview. "I don't know what we can do to help fix the problem (in high school) rather than fixing it after they get to us." High school graduates should know the information when they are handed their diplomas, he said.

Jay Public Schools suspends teacher amid investigation of an inappropriate relationship

KTUL has the story.

Handgun found in Edmond North High School student’s bag

"A loaded handgun was confiscated Wednesday from an Edmond North High School student’s bag," NewsOK.com reports.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

‘So who is really caring about the kids?’

"Teachers got a day off to vote, forcing parents to find care for their children," Terry Flattem writes in an excellent letter to the editor of the Tulsa World. "For every teacher who gets Election Day off about 30 parents have to make alternative plans to take care of their children! So who is really caring about the kids? My wife taught for 37 years, and she never had a problem getting to the polling place before it closed."

Indeed, as The Oklahoman observed regarding closing schools for Election Day, "the unintended-but-still-implied message—that teachers are less capable of voting than all other adults working weekday jobs—always appeared less affirming of the education profession than proponents of this idea wanted to admit."