Thursday, October 17, 2019

Security screens can protect Oklahoma students from school shooters

"A company has developed screens that go over classroom windows to block the sight of active shooters," the News on 6 reports.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Police arrest Mid-Del student after finding stolen pistol in backpack

"Del City police say they have arrested a juvenile after discovering a stolen pistol in the student’s backpack," KFOR reports.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Putnam City teen arrested after allegedly raping another student at school

"A juvenile was arrested after allegedly raping another student at Putnam City High School," KFOR reports.

Sunday, October 6, 2019

OKCPS student with hit list says 'I will wreak havoc in Oklahoma City'

"A 14-year-old boy's journal reveals a hit list, his desire to murder his mother, and plans to 'wreak havoc on Oklahoma City,'" News 9 reports. The OKCPS student's mother "contacted police, fearing her son would commit an act of violence on a school. The mother said her child fantasizes about horrific shootings that have left behind mass carnage, specifically Columbine High."

Friday, October 4, 2019

‘We can’t afford more than one guard, so we try to fill the gaps with with armed staff’

"With more mass shootings happening every year," Caroline Halter reports, "protecting kids has become a priority for school administrators in Oklahoma."

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Don’t accept excuses — your child can learn to read

An OCPA policy brief last month reminded us that colleges of education are failing and offered proposals to improve teacher quality. Sadly, then, a story this week from Oklahoma Watch (“In Oklahoma, a Discredited Theory of Reading Is Widely Used”) came as no surprise.

“In classrooms across Oklahoma and the nation,” Jennifer Palmer reports, “students are taught to read using a theory that has been discredited by decades of research by brain scientists.”

Hats off to Oklahoma Watch for shining a spotlight on this enormous problem. Think about it: fully 7 in 10 Oklahoma fourth-graders are not proficient in reading. The numbers are even worse for minority students. Many of these children, thinking there's something wrong with them, will go through life with unspeakable distress. As their frustration mounts, many will slide into delinquent behavior. Many are destined for welfare or prison.

Unfortunately, illiterate children grow up to become illiterate adults. As one longtime Oklahoma educator with a doctorate in education has pointed out: “More than 20 percent of our state’s population, or nearly 400,000 people, can’t read.”

This massive failure is as unnecessary as it is heartbreaking. “To teach a child to read properly is not difficult,” says author Douglas Wilson. “Local education professionals have made it seem difficult, and the entire process has been shrouded with arcane professional terminology. But the only term that concerned parents need to know and understand is phonics.” (Wilson’s 1991 book Recovering the Lost Tools of Learning basically launched the modern-day classical Christian education movement.)

“It's almost a sin what we're doing to our children,” phonics tutor Sylvia Brown once told me. Mrs. Brown is a former public-school speech pathologist, assistant principal, and principal in Tulsa. “In my 30-some years of teaching, I have not met a child who couldn't read when we go to the basics and teach him his alphabet then teach him his sounds," she said."I haven't met one yet. Maybe there is one out there on this planet, but I don't believe there is."

Your child needs a strong foundation in phonics. He or she needs to be taught — in a direct, systematic, and intensive manner — how to match sounds with the letters that spell them.

In the words of world-renowned reading expert Siegfried Engelmann, a professor emeritus of education at the University of Oregon who died this year at the age of 87: “If your child is not reading by the end of the first grade and is not retarded (IQ below 75), do not accept excuses that blame your child.”

What to Do

For starters, here are some resources that can tell you how well your child can read and whether or not the reading program at school is setting your child up for failure.

I will discuss some schooling options below, but right up front it's important for you to know that you can do this yourself. My wife and I recommend Engelmann’s book Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons, which we used with all of our children. You won’t regret it. As Susie told our oldest son when he graduated high school:
What stands out in my mind is that I was able to spend time with you. I am grateful that I got to be the one sitting next to you on the couch, listening as you slowly sounded out letters, words, and sentences. It was I who got to be the one to hear you read for the very first time.
Indeed, teaching your child to read may turn out to be the most fulfilling thing you'll ever do.

If your child is in a public school and is not learning to read, you must ask the school to give your child a firm foundation in phonics.

Another option is to seek out a private school, though you'll want to make sure it's one that provides a firm foundation in phonics. Don’t panic — private schooling is more affordable than you might think: according to The Journal Record's 2019 Oklahoma Policy Review, average private school tuition in Oklahoma is $4,588 for elementary schools and $6,140 for high schools. Moreover, scholarships are available. Oklahoma has two programs to choose from:

  ➤  Many students are eligible for a private-school scholarship funded by private donations (for which donors receive a state tax credit). Click here to learn more about the program. To explore schools, click here, here, or here, for example.

  ➤  Many students — special-education students, foster kids, children adopted out of state custody, and more — are eligible for a Lindsey Nicole Henry Scholarship. Click here to learn more about the program. (Ironically, many children shunted into special education are there only because of a teachin' deficit disorder: the grown-ups never taught these children how to read.)

As I've lamented for 25 years, school-produced illiteracy is a huge but underappreciated problem. "Men can always be blind to a thing," Chesterton observed, "so long as it is big enough." The illiteracy epidemic and its victims should be in the news every week, not only at Oklahoma Watch but in media across the state. 

Moreover, it's time for our state's political leaders to bring greater scrutiny to bear on those whom author and attorney Bruce Shortt has called "Oklahoma's crack team of government educators — the folks who spend billions of dollars a year to achieve heretofore unknown levels of semiliteracy and illiteracy among otherwise normal children."

Journalism and public policy aside, the main thing for parents is to make sure your child can read.

Friday, September 27, 2019

OKC student headbutted teacher in the chin

"Oklahoma City police said a John Marshall Middle School student has been arrested for allegedly assaulting a teacher," News 9 reports.
The teacher said it all started when he noticed a group of students skipping class. “Maybe 12-15 students just running up and down the hallways, not in class,” the teacher said. “So, I used the in-class intercom to call the office and said, ‘Hey, we need an administrator down here.’”

The teacher said one student physically ran into him and began a physical and verbal altercation, when the unexpected happened. “(I) got him to his feet, stiffened his arms, and put his head down,” said the teacher. “(I) got into a fighting stance and (the student) headbutted me right in the chin.”

A school resource officer arrived immediately as did the new school principal. There was no doubt in the teacher’s mind that he would have the student arrested and facing assault and battery charges.

“I think there just needs to be some consequences for their (student) actions when they are not being held accountable, and they know that,” the teacher said. “Now that they know that, the culture has been created within the school where the students know how far I can go, I can go pretty far and not have anything done.”

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Child abuse, education-establishment style

Climate change is not the major threat to children, writes former teacher Larry Sand.

'We have individuals that would like to come into schools and do everyone harm'

"We have individuals that would like to come into schools and do everyone harm, from our kids to our teachers and anyone that’s around," teacher-union boss Ed Allen tells KFOR.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Most Oklahoma children are eligible for a private-school scholarship — right now

Survey data tell us that one in three Oklahomans would like to send their children to a private or parochial school. They may not realize that, perhaps surprisingly, most Oklahoma students are eligible for a scholarship. Right now.

Oklahoma has two programs to choose from:

[1]  Most students in Oklahoma are eligible to apply for a private-school scholarship funded by private donations (for which donors receive a state tax credit). Click here to learn more about the program. And to explore schools, click here, here, or here, for example.

[2]  Many students in Oklahoma—special-education students, foster kids, children adopted out of state custody, and more—are eligible for a Lindsey Nicole Henry Scholarship. Click here to learn more about the program.

Spoils system: ‘Government employees pick their politicians’

"One of the key challenges for education reformers is the huge size of the government school monopoly as a 'reverse patronage' employer," Greg Forster explains ("The government school monopoly as reverse patronage program").
The power of entrenched education special interests is not only, or even primarily, in the money collected through such means as union dues. The single greatest political obstacle to education reform is the large number of people who get their jobs from the status quo, and will therefore show up during elections to vote and volunteer for politicians who will protect the status quo. ...

Every smart legislator finds out who the big employers in their district are and pays close attention to their concerns. This isn’t primarily about seeking to please the employers in hopes of getting their campaign donations (although it is that, too); it’s primarily about seeking to please the employees in hopes of getting their votes. And in virtually every legislative district in the United States, one of the biggest local employers is the government school monopoly.

This system gives us what we might call "reverse patronage." In the 19th century, under the patronage system, hiring and firing in most government jobs was directly controlled by political officeholders. Politicians in each party would hire their party’s people to staff the government from top to bottom. (On one famous occasion, Abraham Lincoln kept his Civil War generals waiting while he attended to more important business: deciding which party faction to give control of a Post Office appointment.) Each change of party would bring massive turnover. This was also called the “spoils system” because government jobs were like the spoils of war for whoever won the election. 
In short, Forster explains, "In the government school monopoly, we have a reverse form of patronage. Instead of politicians picking their government employees, government employees pick their politicians."

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Anti-bullying bill sidelined as bullying problem grows

Ray Carter has the story.

Oklahomans’ support for school choice is becoming difficult to deny

Yet another scientific survey of Oklahoma voters has found strong support for parental choice in education. This survey is the latest among many over the past five years which have measured Oklahomans’ views on various forms of private-school choice (vouchers, tax credits, education savings accounts, et al.).

Here is the survey research that has shown support for school choice:
  • Braun Research survey (registered Oklahoma voters), January 2014
  • Tarrance Group survey (registered Oklahoma GOP primary voters), July 2014
  • SoonerPoll survey (likely Oklahoma voters), January 2015
  • Tarrance Group survey (registered Oklahoma voters), January 2015
  • Cole Hargrave Snodgrass and Associates survey (registered Oklahoma voters), December 2015
  • SoonerPoll survey (likely Oklahoma voters), January 2016
  • SoonerPoll survey (likely Oklahoma voters), July 2016
  • Cor Strategies survey (likely Oklahoma voters), August 2017
  • Cor Strategies survey (likely Oklahoma voters), May 2018
  • WPA Intelligence survey (registered Oklahoma voters), January 2019
  • WPA Intelligence survey (registered Oklahoma voters), April 2019
  • Cor Strategies survey (likely Oklahoma voters), August 2019

And here is the survey research showing that Oklahomans oppose school vouchers (the survey didn't ask about tax credits or education savings accounts):
  • Public Opinion Strategies survey (likely Oklahoma voters), March 2015

Like the film critic Pauline Kael, who couldn't understand how Nixon beat McGovern (given that everyone she knew had voted for McGovern), many in the public education community’s epistemic bubble simply cannot come to terms with the reality that most Oklahomans favor educational choice. But a fair reading of the evidence shows pretty clearly that Oklahoma parents want options and they want the money to follow the child. 

So why doesn’t the money follow the child? Political scientists can explain why (government employees are able to pick their politicians and keep kids trapped in an iron triangle), but that’s small consolation for the children who need options right now.

Only 57 percent of Tulsa students feel safe at school

"Half of Tulsa Public Schools students felt like they 'belonged' last year, while 57% reported feeling safe at school," the Tulsa World reports.
Monday’s presentation also revealed that 33.2% of third-grade students last year were proficient in reading, compared to 34% in 2017-18. ... Further, 26.1% of TPS students were proficient in both reading and math last year, which was behind the district’s goal of 27%. The number of 11th graders meeting SAT benchmarks in math and English language arts has declined from 33% in 2018 to 27% in 2019.

School cancelled for Yukon Public Schools due to threats

FOX 25 has the story.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Parents suing Broken Arrow Public Schools and former teacher over molestation charges

"Parents of four Broken Arrow students are suing a former elementary school teacher and the school district," KJRH reports. "The lawsuit alleges that the school district was negligent and did not provide a safe learning environment for the students."

Saturday, September 7, 2019

‘I'm absolutely against it’: Stitt disapproves of school districts hiring lobbyists

"Four school districts—Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Bixby, and Jenks—spent nearly $200,000 combined in taxpayer funding on contract lobbyists during the 2018-2019 school year," Ray Carter reports. "Those lobbyists were hired even as the four districts were also paying thousands more to a range of organizations that employ numerous other lobbyists on behalf of the school districts."
Gov. Kevin Stitt
That school tax dollars are being expended on contract lobbyists has raised a host of concerns, and critics of the practice include Gov. Kevin Stitt, who issued an executive order this year that banned similar practices at state agencies. “If a state agency or a school district is using taxpayer dollars to hire a lobbyist, I’m absolutely against it,” Stitt said in an interview. “If I found out that the school districts are using taxpayer dollars to hire lobbyists, 100 percent I’m going to call them out on it. I’m going to share with Oklahomans what’s happening. It’s just counterproductive. What are they lobbying for? We have the best interests of our children at heart, and to hire a lobbyist to monitor legislation or use tax dollars to muddy the water at the Capitol, I just don’t see it as being productive.”
For their part, some school officials defend the practice. But it does raise concerns about indirect funneling of taxpayer dollars to political campaigns, as well as concerns about open-records laws. Sadly, the practice is not uncommon nationwide.

It's a classic case of what a former adviser to the Oklahoma Speaker of the House called taking your money and lobbying for more of your money.

OKC teacher was trampled at school, is now plagued with anxiety

"Another teacher injured was at John Marshall Middle School," News 9 reports.
Miranda Bradley, an 8th grade English teacher, said she was supposed to go back to work Wednesday, but the thought of returning to that environment is giving her severe anxiety. 
Bradley said bruises all over her body are the result of a fight in the cafeteria at John Marshall Middle School back on August 22. “It was madness,” she recalled. “Pandemonium. And I finally made my way out. And not seconds after I got out of the cafeteria, here come the kids behind me. And I got trampled. I fell and then they trampled me.” 
When she finally went to the doctor, she was also diagnosed with a concussion and sprained wrist. But even worse, she said, is the crippling anxiety. 
“I’m covered in hives. I feel like an elephant is sitting on my chest. My blood pressure is through the roof,” said Bradley.

Accuser says superintendent paid teachers for sex

Longtime Peckham school district Superintendent Gary Young "is accused of inappropriate sexual conduct with young children as well as current and former students and staff members, including one staffer who said she received poor evaluations when she rejected his sexual advances," The Oklahoman reports. The state Department of Education has received a complaint that Young had an inappropriate relationship with one teacher who, based on her degree and years of experience, should be paid a minimum salary of $47,531 but instead is paid $87,849, plus an additional $9,097 as a support employee.

Friday, September 6, 2019

To help with childhood trauma, expand school choice

"Expanding school choice is not an alternative to providing greater access to effective trauma services," Greg Forster writes. "It is the best way to provide greater access to effective trauma services. Even better, it would greatly reduce the number of children who need such services in the first place."

Critic of virtual schools has degree from online university

An Oklahoma lawmaker who has been critical of virtual charter schools holds a doctorate from a for-profit online university that was subsequently closed amid claims it was a diploma mill. 

(For what it's worth, the late North Korean dictator Kim il-Sung holds an honorary degree from the same university.)

ChoiceMatters is helping bullied kids find a different school

The organization's director, Robert Ruiz, knows firsthand about the problems of bullying and school violence.

News flash: Competition works

[Guest post by Jonathan Small]

Here’s a statement few people will dispute: Competition works. Yet when it comes to education, some policymakers and most public school employees act as though the way to improve the quality of service to families and their children is to limit their taxpayer-funded choices to just one local option.

Proof to the contrary can be seen in the rash of schools now offering 100-percent online education.

For several years now, a handful of online charter schools have offered students an online education. The biggest and most well-known of those providers has been Epic Charter Schools.

Parents have been choosing online learning even though the per-pupil spending at online charter schools is significantly less than the per-pupil spending at a traditional brick-and-mortar public school.

The number of people pursuing K-12 learning online in Oklahoma is astounding. Epic alone reports roughly 24,000 students statewide this year. Those families have chosen online learning for many different reasons, but some of the most commonly cited are the greater range of course offerings, the special needs of children, and bullying problems at local schools.

Chances are you know a family with children who have benefited from online schooling. Because state funding follows students, the exodus to online charter schools has had financial consequences for traditional districts. Now those schools have been forced to step up their game.

At Sapulpa, the local school is offering a virtual academy that provides students “full or partial online delivery of instruction with an element of student control over the time, place, path, and/or pace of learning.”

Sound familiar?

Noble Public Schools’ virtual academy provides a 100-percent online education but still lets online students participate in extracurricular activities such as sports, band, and chorus.

Norman Public Schools now offers students “the flexibility to complete all of their coursework outside the traditional school building” through online learning.

Union Public Schools has launched Union Virtual for students in grades 6-12. Sand Springs offers online learning. Broken Arrow offers a full-time online program. So does Lawton. So does Ponca City. And so do others. The list goes on and on.

This is a huge change occurring across Oklahoma to the benefit of students and their families. And the rapid pace of this change is being driven by competition from just a handful of online charter schools.

Policymakers should not simply celebrate this success, but build on it by expanding school-choice opportunities. If the modest level of competition produced by a small group of online providers can create this kind of change, imagine what would happen if Oklahoma had a truly robust education market competing for all students. Then the boom in online learning would be only a hint of better things to come.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

School choice saved, changed Oklahoma boy's life

"My oldest son—a well-behaved, honor-roll student—attempted to take his own life," writes an Oklahoma mom.
Internal struggles had changed school from a place of learning to a place of fear and despair for him. Feeling trapped, he almost succeeded in taking his own life and shattering ours. 
Following this near tragedy a few important things happened: My son was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome, a diagnosis that helped him understand why he was feeling so lost. And I moved him and my two other children out of public school and into a virtual public school where they could learn in an environment better suited to their needs.

Amid riots, pepper spray, handcuffs, 11-year-olds 'too scared to go back' to OKCPS middle school

"The Oklahoma City School District says they are making big changes to combat the violence at John Marshall Middle School, but some parents told News 9 they still don't feel safe sending their kids there," News 9 reports.
Those parents said they are permanently pulling their kids out of the school. The district said 34 students have left the school since the beginning of the year. The district spokesperson also said that some of those students may have been waiting for transfer approval.

Eleven-year-old Ezekiel and his buddy Joshua were not at school on Tuesday. They're supposed to be 5th graders at John Marshall Middle School. According to their parents, they are too scared to go back. "The second day of school there was a fight that broke out while he was on his way to his classroom and he ended up getting hit," said Veronica Murphy, Ezekiel’s mother. "They’ve never been in a school like this before," added Etta Dunlap. "Nor seen the riots, the pepper spray from police tactics, the tasering of kids. They put the kids in handcuffs."

Oologah students create device to help students during school shooting

The News on 6 has the story.

Friday, August 30, 2019

Second student walks away from Southern Hills Elementary since start of school year

FOX 25 has the story.

Gun discovered on the floor inside Canton Elementary School

"The Canton police chief has been suspended after a gun was discovered on the floor inside Canton Elementary School," News 9 reports.

Former Cushing teacher admits sexting 13-year-old student

KUSH has the story.

Police respond to more than a dozen incidents at John Marshall Middle School

KFOR has the story.

Oklahoma police foil potential school shooting, arresting three teens

International headlines for Mid-Del Public Schools.

Oologah-Talala student arrested after threats

The actions of another student possibly prevented a school shooting, said Rogers County Sheriff Scott Walton.

Peckham superintendent accused of sexual misconduct

"The Oklahoma State Board of Education has suspended the certificates of longtime Peckham Public School Superintendent Gary Young after receiving multiple allegations of sexual assault, sexual battery, and sexual harassment from former students and coworkers," NonDoc reports.

Former Kingston teacher pleads guilty to rape

"A former Kingston first grade teacher accused of having sex with multiple high school boys pleaded guilty Monday," KXII reports.

Fight at OKC middle school injures teacher

KFOR has the story.

Pawhuska schools face third threat in three weeks

The latest incident involves a substitute teacher who threatened to kill an elementary student during class. "This now the third incident in 6 days of school," said Pawhuska Police Chief Nick Silva. "This is not a trend we want."

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Forming teachers

Colleges of education are failing. Even as ed schools are extensively colonized by far-left ideology, it turns out that teacher education makes no visible difference to student achievement. Parents and taxpayers deserve better. A new OCPA study proposes a few simple policy changes which could help make reinvention of teacher education plausible, attractive, and sustainable.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

'She doesn't feel safe at the school she’s assigned to'

A 12-year-old student in Moore was forced to walk two-and-a-half miles home in extreme heat, News 9 reports. The girl's mother says "her daughter visited the school office in an effort to figure out what bus to ride home." Staff allegedly told the girl to either "guess or walk home." Her mother told KFOR that the school staff in the office "wouldn’t even let the girl look up her mom’s phone number to call for help."

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Bullied at school, six-year-old walks out of OKC school, wanders along I-240 and Western

"A good Samaritan helped reunite a mother with her 6-year-old son, who was found wandering along a busy road after he walked out of an elementary school," KOCO reports.
First-grader Xavier left Southern Hills Elementary School on Tuesday after he told his teacher that he had to use the bathroom. Instead, he was found walking along Interstate 240 and Western Avenue in the rain with no adult in sight.

Amanda Lopez, who was driving in the area, told KOCO 5 that she was in the right place at the right time. She recorded a video, stunned at what she was seeing. 
"There's a 6-year-old little boy standing out here in the street by himself," Lopez said while recording the video. 
Lopez is furious, saying a mother could have lost a child. 
"We're putting our babies in these people's hands, and for that baby to walk off like that, it's not right," Lopez said. 
Lopez and a group of others helped Xavier and tracked down his mother, who was visibly upset and wondering how this happened. 
"I don't understand why he was able to walk out them doors and through a fence. I don't understand that," Xavier's mother, Amber Mateos, said. 
Oklahoma City Public Schools officials called the incident unfortunate, saying, "We are currently working through it with school staff and the family involved. As always, the safety and security of OKCPS students is our top priority." 
Lopez is thankful she was in the right place at the right time but hopes the situation leads to more than just an apology. 
"That child walking down the side of the highway like that, anybody could've took home and he woulda been gone," Lopez said. 
According to Lopez, Xavier told her he was trying to find his way home after being bullied at school.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Putnam City using facial recognition on security cameras

"At Putnam City Schools, they've spent $10 million in the past four years on school security," KFOR reports ("Oklahoma school district using facial recognition on security cameras").
Their network of surveillance cameras is monitored 24/7. "We have someone in here in dispatch watching the cameras, monitoring alarms; making sure our schools are safe and secure even through the night," said Putnam City Schools campus police chief Mark Stout.

The chief says the district already has a wide range of equipment at their disposal already: 900 cameras, 2,000 motion detection devices, and 200 sound detection devices.

Those cameras are now fully equipped with facial recognition, installed on each of the district's high school campuses, middle school campuses, and the alternative school.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

'Tis the season for utility-bill verifications

This photo I snapped today in overwhelmingly white north Edmond serves to remind us that the black market for school choice is still thriving.

Monday, August 5, 2019

Mother says Catoosa school told her to keep silent about inappropriate touching

"A mother is speaking out tonight after a former Catoosa teacher accused of inappropriately touching students turned himself in," KTUL reports.
"She went up there to complain about it, and they told her to be quiet," said the mother.
Since the incident, this mother says her daughter is afraid to go to school and isn't sure if she’ll be returning to Catoosa this year. 
We reached out to the district for a comment, but our calls were not returned.

School-voucher program is helping Oklahoma foster kids

One little girl, who was adopted from foster care in 2015, suffers from fetal alcohol syndrome, ADHD, the after-effects of severe abuse, and more. Her mom says the Lindsey Nicole Henry scholarship has been a godsend.

Friday, August 2, 2019

Former Catoosa teacher facing 10 counts of lewd or indecent proposals to a child

FOX 23 has the story.

Who you gonna call?

[Guest post by Jonathan Small]

When the movie “Ghostbusters” premiered in the 1980s, it was just a comedy. But if it’s remade (again) in 2019, the setting may be in Oklahoma’s public school system. That’s because there’s reason to think many districts are receiving funding for “ghost” students who do not attend those schools.

This issue gained attention when it was recently alleged an online charter school has received funding for “ghost” students, but that problem extends statewide.

Here’s why: Oklahoma law distributes state aid based on several factors, and one factor is a district’s average daily membership (ADM). State law allows districts to use the highest weighted ADM of the two preceding school years. As a result, if a district has 400 students one year, 380 the next, and 360 the following year, that district may be funded as though it still has 400 students when it has just 360.

It’s even possible for a student to be counted in multiple districts at the same time if a child moves from a district with declining enrollment to one with surging enrollment.

Just because this is currently legal doesn’t make it a good idea. Given the financial challenges constantly highlighted at schools, why would we expend money paying districts to educate children who are not at those schools?

By the way, “ghost” funding doesn’t occur just at one type of school. While some rural districts may benefit, so can Oklahoma’s largest districts—Oklahoma City and Tulsa—which have also experienced declining enrollment. In the urban centers, families have had good reason to move out, so why would state lawmakers leave in place a system that financially rewards districts like Oklahoma City for poor performance that drives students away?

Pinning down the number of “ghost” students being double-counted or still reflected in district ADMs after moving out of state is no easy task, but there are some hints. According to the Oklahoma Department of Education, the high-year ADM for all schools combined in the 2019 state budget year was 711,560. That compares to a reported total enrollment of 698,586 as of the most recent count, which occurred on Oct. 1, 2018.

That’s a difference of almost 13,000 students. Now, not all those 13,000 are “ghost” students. But if even half of them are, that would easily translate into tens of millions of dollars that have been misallocated for educating nonexistent students.

States like Indiana and Arizona have stopped using backward-looking student counts that result in ghost-student funding and instead rely on current-year headcounts. There’s no reason Oklahoma can’t do the same.

Conservatives and liberals disagree on education policy and spending priorities, but surely we can all agree that paying to “educate imaginary students” should not even be on the list.

Thursday, August 1, 2019

#OklaEd sending three million tax dollars to private company

"School districts across the country are increasingly turning to new technology to help minimize the impact of an active shooter," FOX 25 reports.
Just this year, the Oklahoma State Department of Education secured $3 million in new funding to implement a statewide panic button system. “We have 540 brick-and-mortar districts, and we hope that 100% of them have adopted the program by the end of the 20-21 school year,” said Jon Parker, executive director of school safety & security at the Oklahoma State Department of Education.

The department is providing the RAVE Panic Button to all districts. It’s an app that alerts authorities to an active shooter, a medical emergency, a fire, or other crisis. The app simultaneously sends out a notification to other teachers and staff on campus as well.

“Staff members are very well-equipped to be able to respond quickly, but they can’t respond until they know they need to respond,” said Noah Reiter, vice-president of customer service for RAVE Mobile Safety. “So this application reduces the time it takes for them to implement their emergency response.” ...

Oklahoma will join states like Delaware and Arkansas, along with the District of Columbia, in deploying this technology. It reflects a growing trend—and booming business—in the U.S. In 2017, security equipment and services for schools generated $2.7 billion in revenue, according to analysis by HIS Markit.
Booming business! Indeed, it looks like this private company may even (gasp!) turn a profit. Which is fine with me. For as past OCPA speaker Walter Williams reminds us, profits are very much a good thing.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Oklahoma private schools surprisingly affordable

The Journal Record's "2019 Oklahoma Policy Review" is a helpful publication which "looks back at the accomplishments of this year's legislative session with fact sheets, analysis of specific sectors, and issues that present major challenges. This unbiased review of the legislative session acts as an almanac for anyone interested in what occurred at 23rd and Lincoln."

This year's edition has an interesting article featuring the observations of educators who are now in the state legislature. But what I found most interesting is a nearby graphic highlighting something I never tire of repeating: Oklahoma's private schools on average are surprisingly affordable:

Monday, July 29, 2019

A bridge too far

"But even if the general appetite for [virtual charter school] regulation increases, closing Oklahoma’s enrollment loophole by creating a roster of homeschool and private school students may not be politically feasible," Caroline Halter reports.
“Our state is not one that wants to intrude on personal information of family members who are choosing not to be a part of public schools,” Hofmeister said.  
Even Sen. Sharp admitted he could not support such a law and survive reelection.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Could school funding reform increase integration, test scores?

"If you actually want to best serve low-income urban kids," says Matthew Ladner of the Arizona Chamber Foundation, "yes you want to give them access to charter schools, yes you want to give them access to private schools, but you also want to give them access to suburban district schools." 

I'm sure our pallid pals in the suburbs will be all for it, right? Because we know they care about all children.

Former substitute teacher accused of sending nude photos to Wagoner County teens

KTUL has the story.

Putnam City school district facing lawsuit, accused of not protecting students

News 9 has the story.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Oklahoma taxpayers funding 'ghost students'

Oklahoma school districts are getting paid for “ghost students,” says the chairman of the Senate Education Committee, “and they will fight, fight to the death, to maintain those.”

Scholarship tax credit accounts for a tiny fraction of Oklahoma’s total tax credits

Oddly, most of Oklahoma's tax-credit scholarship critics are silent regarding the other 98.8 percent of state tax credits.

Monday, July 22, 2019

Former Oologah special-education teacher accused of having sex with student at school

You may recall that a teacher in Oologah was arrested last year on allegations of having sex with a student at the boy's house during Oklahoma's much-publicized teacher walkout. 

There's more news out of Oologah today: the News on 6 reports on an Oologah special education teacher charged with second-degree rape.
The Rogers County Sheriff’s Office said Daniel Bodine and an 18-year-old student had sex about twice a week for six months. Investigators said that happened inside a room attached to a classroom. The Rogers County Sheriff’s Office said they have evidence to support the two were having sex both during school hours and after school.

Even after raises, Oklahoma teacher activist calls for lawmakers’ ouster

"In the last two legislative sessions, lawmakers have raised taxes and increased K-12 appropriations by a combined $638 million, or 20 percent," Ray Carter reports. "That sum includes funding for a two-year combined average teacher pay raise of more than $7,000. Yet that hasn’t stopped one prominent public-education activist from calling for the ouster of as many as 35 Republican lawmakers, despite the fact most of those lawmakers supported teacher pay raises and school-funding increases."

One prominent lawmaker says this Stillwater teacher is "out of touch with reality." (Of course, we knew that back when he told the members of the Socialist Workers Party that a teacher strike "is the right thing to do.")

Friday, July 19, 2019

With Oklahoma teachers’ input, national union endorses wide range of liberal causes

"This month attendees at the National Education Association’s Representative Assembly approved a resolution declaring the teachers’ union 'vigorously opposes all attacks on the right to choose and stands on the fundamental right to abortion under Roe v. Wade,' but shot down another resolution declaring the union would 're-dedicate itself to the pursuit of increased student learning in every public school in America by putting a renewed emphasis on quality education,'" Ray Carter reports.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

My assigned district school? Some say no thanks

School choice is further along in some other places than it is in Oklahoma.

For example, the Raleigh News & Observer reports today ("1 in 5 NC students don’t attend traditional public schools, new figures show") that "the percentage of North Carolina’s 1.8 million K-12 students attending traditional public schools dropped to 79.9% this year."

Last week in the Tallahassee Democrat, former OCPA research assistant Patrick Gibbons pointed out that "in the span of a generation, Florida has gone from 10 percent of students attending something other than assigned public schools to 47 percent." Education researcher Matt Ladner has noted that in greater Phoenix "fewer than 50% of students attend their assigned district school."

Oklahoma is not there yet, but we're moving in that direction. One hopes that over time our political leaders will align public policy more and more with their constituents' preferences

Top 10 states in education deliver bang for the buck

Public-school spending in Oklahoma will hit an all-time high this year. Yet only a third of Oklahoma voters say our school system provides a good return on investment. Let’s make Oklahoma a Top 10 state by delivering better student performance at a better price.

Suspended Norman High School assistant principal accused of drugging, raping woman

KFOR has the story.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Coach fired by Broken Arrow school district after allegedly soliciting a minor

"A Broken Arrow man faces two felony charges related to a Snapchat conversation he had with a 16-year-old girl that resulted in his termination from coaching roles at Broken Arrow Public Schools," the Tulsa World reports.

Friday, July 12, 2019

Transportation plan offers model for education success

At a recent legislative town hall meeting, one legislative constituent suggested that Oklahoma should consider an eight-year funding plan for education modeled after Oklahoma's successful transportation funding plan.

OCPA president Jonathan Small loves the idea.

Piedmont 'climate-change ambassador' shaping young minds

In this article published in the Washington Post, a liberal reporter dismisses “climate-change deniers” and gushes over Melissa Lau, a sixth-grade science teacher and "climate-change ambassador" in Piedmont, Oklahoma, who dares to teach her students about “perhaps the biggest menace to their futures: climate change.” Unsurprisingly, some students emerge from class saying global warming is “a threat” and “a crisis.”

Thursday, July 11, 2019

OKCPS, TPS all in for Pride Month

LGBT Pride Month is behind us, and once again the state's two largest school districts were all in. Here's Oklahoma City Public Schools (OKCPS) superintendent Sean McDaniel:

Here's an OKCPS school bus with a small child inside, doubtless wondering what it all means:

"Hands up for love," says Team OKCPS:

Tulsa Public Schools (TPS) also signaled support, unsurprisingly. As far back as Pride Month 2016, TPS was flying the rainbow flag outside its administration building, and in 2017 Superintendent Deborah ("Reality Is Optional") Gist said that TPS students "have the right to use restrooms, locker rooms, and other facilities that are consistent with their gender identity."

Stitt optimistic on scholarship program

Gov. Stitt met with lawmakers this year and urged them to raise the cap on Oklahoma's tax-credit-scholarship program, Ray Carter reports. The legislation didn’t pass, but Stitt thinks "that’s something we can get across the finish line next year."

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

A next-generation school agenda for Oklahoma

With Gov. Kevin Stitt planning to unveil a bold education plan this year, Greg Forster says "Oklahoma has the opportunity to lead the nation into a new generation of education reform."
Policy research and recent experience suggest a reform agenda focused on three goals, none of which requires significant increases in the education system’s spending levels. Oklahoma should expand parent choice; putting parents in charge is the real accountability system, with a long track record of helping schools (public and private alike) perform their best. It should create ongoing revision of academic standards to focus on clearly defining and measuring educational excellence, instead of using standards as a stalking-horse for ambitious political projects to remake society. And Oklahoma should consider reforms to the governance structure of the public-school system that would make it more responsive to the public (instead of special interests) as well as more efficient.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Monday, July 1, 2019

OEA membership down 16 percent over five years

Ray Carter has the story. He quotes Mike Antonucci as saying the OEA “has lost members every year for the past 10” and that the union’s membership has fallen 44 percent since 1993-94.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Former Pryor teacher sentenced for raping foster child

"A former Oklahoma science teacher has been sentenced for raping a foster child in her custody," KFOR reports.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Moore school district's actions 'akin to embezzlement'

"Just this past month," Andrew Spiropoulos writes today in The Journal Record, "we read reports describing how one Oklahoma City-area school district is taking money that was appropriated for the specific purpose of funding programs for gifted children and shifting it to programs serving the general student population. This maneuver isn’t just defiance—it’s akin to embezzlement."

Monday, June 3, 2019

Where the Democratic presidential candidates (and their children) went to school

"Many elected officials and candidates for office oppose school choice options for others, and even prioritize preventing it, but attended private schools themselves or have sent their children to private schools," Tommy Schultz of the American Federation for Children points out.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Former Pocola teacher charged with rape had previous indecency conviction involving student

"A former Pocola High School teacher accused of having sex with three different students had a previous conviction for sexual indecency with another student in a different Oklahoma school district," KFSM reports.
Janet Kaye Barnes, 44, was indicted last week by an Oklahoma grand jury on two counts of second-degree rape and one count of sexual battery. The indictment alleged that Barnes had sex with the minors when she taught at the high school between January 2014 and November 2016. She's no longer employed by Pocola schools.

Barnes pleaded guilty in January 2012 in McCurtain County District Court to outraging public decency involving a student younger than 16. A student at Smithville Public Schools in Smithville, Okla., told police in 2010 that Barnes asked him to have sex and sent him nude photos over four months, according to court documents. The boy, who said he felt like Barnes was "stalking him," also said she exposed herself to him.

It's unclear what Barnes' role was at the school. Court documents show the boy described her as a teacher and a coach, but school officials didn't immediately respond Monday to questions about her employment. Barnes was given a nine-month suspended sentence and had to pay more than $400 in fines and court costs. The judge also issued her a no-contact order with the student.

However, the boy later reported that Barnes attended some of his athletic events and came to a school concert he performed in. Barnes pleaded guilty in August 2012 to violating a protection order but received no jail time.

Sand Springs mom devastated over cyberbullying incident

"For a mother to find out a revealing video of her daughter was released all over school is devastating," KJRH reports. "For her to find out her child didn't even know it was taken, and that it sparked a nasty, false rumor, is even more so."

Monday, May 20, 2019

Oklahoma teacher featured in upcoming film on socialism

"In the space of about three years, socialism has gone from a total nonstarter to a persistent object of curiosity for millions of ordinary people, and the name of a real movement for tens of thousands of dedicated new organizers," Meagan Day writes for the socialist publication Jacobin. "With Jacobin‘s support, the upcoming film Socialism: An American Story documents the new wave of socialism in the US and traces its lineage through American history."

In an interview with director and producer Yael Bridge, Day asked: "One of the major characters of your film is Oklahoma teacher Stephanie Price. Can you tell us about Stephanie’s journey from pissed-off public school teacher to a member of a socialist organization?" Bridge replied:
Stephanie was a wonderful discovery for us as filmmakers—she’s just a really bright, charming, courageous person. She is a person who can see that certain aspects of her life are f***** up but not really someone who has an analysis of where those pressures come from. And ultimately through participating in the strike, even though the Oklahoma strike ended in a way that was somewhat frustrating for the rank and file, she develops an entirely different sense of what she deserves, and what she can achieve.

We filmed a panel at the Socialism conference in 2018, where many of the leaders of the strike wave spoke, and the common thread was the power of that experience of solidarity. We can talk about it and write about it all we want, but I think until you actually go out and strike and find out the power that you collectively have as workers, it’s hard to really grasp.

You could see that all of these people, mostly women, had kind of found their voices as people through participating in a strike. Most of them had just been rank-and-file teachers beforehand, and here they were just a few months later addressing a room of thousands with absolute poise and confidence. That’s hard to do, and it was extremely moving to witness. That experience of solidarity is what Stephanie’s journey in the film is all about.
The film is scheduled to premiere next year. 

Friday, May 17, 2019

Former Pocola teacher indicted for rape and sexual battery

"A former Pocola High School teacher has been indicted on charges of rape and sexual battery—accused of having sex with three different students," KNWA reports.
A LeFlore County judge signed the arrest warrant and an Oklahoma grand jury brought forward an indictment for Janet Kaye Barnes on Friday, May 17. The Supreme Court of Oklahoma indictment states Barnes, 44, had relations with multiple minors between 2014-2016 when she was an employee at the high school. Barnes faces two second-degree rape charges for each incident.

Who is the OEA?

Many Oklahomans don’t realize that the state’s largest school-employee labor union is an advocate for far-left causes—including abortion, gun control, and transgenderism—and for far-left politicians, including Hillary Clinton.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Oklahoma public schools send more than $1 billion to private companies every year

Including companies offering teacher preparation, Curtis Shelton writes.

Piedmont teacher doesn't like Petro Pete

Melissa Lau, a sixth-grade teacher in Piedmont, says some of the curricular materials provided by the Oklahoma Energy Resources Board are "borderline propaganda."

‘Multiple people’ report being sexually assaulted by longtime Prague teacher

A Prague Middle School history teacher accused of sexually assaulting students met with investigators the night before he died in a car crash, The Oklahoman reports today. The district attorney for Pottawatomie and Lincoln counties told the newspaper that "multiple people have come forward in recent days" to report being abused by this educator, who taught for 32 years in the Prague Public Schools and was twice named the district's Teacher of the Year.

Friday, May 10, 2019

How long can Christians leave their children in public schools?

As the sexual revolution picks up steam, Albert Mohler observes today ("The war for the minds of our children: New California sex education framework for public schools is a manifesto for the sexual revolution and LGBTQ movement"), "Christian parents considering all this have to understand that it raises the question district by district, state by state, as to how long Christians can leave their children in the domain of the public schools."
Because when it comes to many of the sex education and comprehensive health education programs, it turns out that parents do not even know what is being taught to their children. They are not even aware of the moral messaging that is being presented, and you can count on the fact that there are going to be an awful lot of Christian parents in California who are going to be asking how long they can leave their children in the public schools.

At this point there is still local control of the public schools in many states to the extent that it really does matter where you live, district by district, but we have to ask the question as to how long that can last, because the moral revolutionaries aren't going to be satisfied until their new moral framework becomes the curricular framework of every single public school in every single public school district coast to coast. They will not rest until that is done.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Tulsa junior-high student found with handgun

"A Tulsa Public Schools junior high student was taken into custody after being found with a handgun on Monday," KJRH reports.

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Bixby bus driver suspended after young student left on bus

KJRH has the story.

With an eye toward school shootings, Oklahoma teachers learn how to 'stop the bleed'

"Because of the rise in school shootings across the nation, Oklahoma teachers are learning life-saving tactics in case they need to use them," the News on 6 reports.
It's part of a national program called “Stop the Bleed." On Friday teachers in Oilton learned how to treat traumatic wounds and more specifically how to keep someone from bleeding out. "The procedures to do that will be very helpful. Whether we are on the playground, or in the classroom or even if I am out on the highway, I think I could help somebody stop the bleed," said Oilton teacher Shelley Tunin.

Monday, April 29, 2019

What does the research show on school choice?

After reviewing the empirical literature on school choice, Dr. Greg Forster finds a strong consensus in the research in favor of positive effects. Indeed, he says, school choice policies are better supported by empirical evidence than any other kind of education reform.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Oklahoma teacher arrested for molestation and child abuse

"A teacher from Goodwell Public Schools was arrested last week on four counts of lewd molestation and four counts of child abuse," KFDA reports.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Police investigating after video shows teacher assaulting student at OKC school

The teacher involved was arrested, KOCO reports.

Mangum superintendent supports education tax credit

Senate Bill 407 "has the potential to impact positively even more public schools by increasing the dollar amount they can receive to implement or expand innovative programs," Mangum Public School superintendent Shane Boothe writes in a letter to the Tulsa World. "This is critical for rural districts, like mine, that can lag behind those with larger ad valorem tax bases."
Opponents also argue this bill would further divert funds from public schools. But if this logic holds, all tax credits divert funds from public schools, including much larger tax credits for industries like medical research, renewable energy and aerospace. Shouldn’t you also oppose these?
We cannot attack the only tax credit that provides a direct benefit to public schools and ignore much larger ones for other industries. SB 407 doesn’t absolve the need to fund education. Its supporters wholeheartedly advocate for increased teacher pay and education funding in general. It will just help improve a school’s ability to solicit even more donations. 
Businesses will continue to donate using tax credit programs. Let’s help them give more to those that desperately need it: our public schools.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Friday, April 19, 2019

Scholarship critics notably silent on millions in tax credits

School-choice opponents argue that "tax credits reduce available state funding for schools," Ray Carter reports. "But those same critics have been largely silent when it comes to a host of other tax-credit measures that involve at least $116 million in combined fiscal impact on state tax collections."

Popular tax-credit program is helping kids

"Oklahoma gives tax breaks for CNG use, windmills, rehabilitating old buildings, and even American Ninja Warrior filming," Jonathan Small writes. "Why would we support those causes, but then refuse to use tax credits to boost education funding for Oklahoma children?"

Noble schools want to keep four-day weeks

FOX 25 has the story.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Mother says son was bullied at Oklahoma elementary school

KFOR has the story.

Chickasha Public Schools employee accused of inappropriate contact with students

"Deputies are investigating allegations against a former Chickasha Public Schools employee," News 9 reports. "On Saturday the school superintendent confirmed the staffer is accused of having inappropriate contact with students."

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Teenage girl finds new beginning

After "a living hell" which most of us can't imagine, this teenage girl found a new beginning, thanks to a Christian school and Oklahoma's tax-credit scholarship program.

Monday, April 1, 2019

Dozens of districts adopted four-day weeks to save money

"In recent years, school districts across the state have adopted four-day-a-week calendars to save money and recruit teachers," The Oklahoman reports.
Most four-day districts are in rural communities, especially near the border where teachers can find a higher paying job in the neighboring state. Ninety-two school districts have four-day weeks, including Noble Public Schools, a 2,900-student district that switched to a four-day week in 2015 as a way to save money without cutting personnel or programs.

Superintendent Frank Solomon said the switch resulted in improved student engagement and fewer attendance and discipline issues. "We're maintaining a highly qualified teaching staff, our academics are not suffering, and we're saving some money," he told The Oklahoman.

Hugo Public Schools in southeast Oklahoma moved to a four-day schedule two years ago to recruit teachers, especially as neighboring districts had already made the switch, according to Superintendent Earl Dalke. Dalke said requiring all districts to have five-day weeks would take away the in-state competition. "Unless the state mandates the change, it is unlikely we will return to a five-day week," he said. 

Friday, March 29, 2019

Police investigating child pornography sent between Bethany students

"Police have launched a child pornography investigation involving Bethany Public Schools students who admitted to allegedly sending and receiving nude photos of one another," KFOR reports.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Two teens arrested after gun found at Capitol Hill High School

The Oklahoman has the story.

Ponca City student accused of rape after sex tape released on social media

News 9 has the story.

Setting the record straight on choice

"A couple of college instructors from the University of Oklahoma and Cameron University recently published two pages of emotive bullet points, unsubstantiated bumper-sticker assertions, shoddy reasoning, and deceptive characterizations of the empirical research," Greg Forster writes.

Monday, March 25, 2019

The scourge of school-district fraud

"In recent years, a series of scandals have made it clear that, along with traditional fiscal and labor pressures, school districts around the country face rampant fraud by their own employees," Jonathan Butcher writes. "Given its scope and significance, such fraud should be a much more prominent concern, and the fight against it should be front and center in contract negotiations, school-board elections, and education politics."

‘If you knew some of the teachers at my school, you would not feel safe with them carrying guns around’

"Dozens of high school and college students gathered along the south side of the Oklahoma State Capitol on Saturday to demand gun reform and an end to gun violence in the state and across the country," The Oklahoman reports.
A student at Putnam City West High School, Carissa Corcoran, 18, of Oklahoma City, came to the rally with her girlfriend and her girlfriend’s sister in an effort to have their voices heard. ... While she said she didn’t know anyone who had been a victim of gun violence, Corcoran said the threat is very real, especially since there have been multiple instances of people bringing guns to school in the Putnam City School District this year.

“We go on lockdown often. It can happen anywhere to anyone,” she said. When asked how she felt about those who call for teachers to be armed in schools in an effort to prevent shootings, she said it was a bad idea. “If you knew some of the teachers at my school, you would not feel safe with them carrying guns around,” she said.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Felony charges filed against former Edmond teacher

"Four criminal felony charges were filed recently against former Edmond Santa Fe teacher Charles David Heaverin, 52," The Edmond Sun reports.
Edmond Police arrested Heaverin Dec. 17 for allegedly soliciting sexual conduct or communication with a minor by use of technology. According to the District Court docket, Heaverin is charged with:
  • Using technology to engage in communications for sexual or prurient interest with a minor child; 
  • Procuring or causing participation of a minor under the age of 18 years in photographs depicting sexual activity; 
  • Sexual battery; and 
  • Using technology to engage in communications for sexual or prurient interest with a minor.

Monday, March 18, 2019

‘A pervasive and perverted problem’

NonDoc editor in chief Tres Savage has a good editorial today about "a pervasive and perverted problem," namely, "the shocking number of Oklahoma educators who have been caught in sexual relationships with students." Read the whole thing here.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Coleman teacher pleads guilty to rape of student

"A Johnston County teacher pleaded guilty to having sex with a student," KXII reports.
"You don't really expect it. Especially in small towns, but it is happening more and more," said a Coleman High School graduate. He wanted to remain anonymous to protect his job. He said this isn't the first time this has happened in this town.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Bullied Oklahoma student researched suicide

"An Oklahoma mother is looking to change to how schools approach bullying after she says her daughter was bullied for months before she had to pull her out of school," KJRH reports.
Nicole Fleming's daughter Madi was a sixth grader at Central High Public Schools in Stephens County. Nicole says Madi was bullied for months before finally pulling her out two weeks ago. "When we found her Google history on her phone, which was how to commit suicide successfully, that was the end of it for me," Fleming said. "We were not going to send her back to that school."

Oklahoma student warns: 'Our planet is dying. This is time to panic'

"It is very important that strikes and marches take place in fossil-fuel producing areas of the country, like Oklahoma," says Oklahoma high school senior Luke Kerr. "We are showing the rest of the country that we can fight for climate."

“This is not a rally,” says student Max Salcido. “This is a strike.” As The Oklahoman reports ("Students gather at Oklahoma State Capitol to plead for action on climate change"):
Part of an international movement of students, Salcido addressed the crowd demanding they speak up about the impacts of climate change. ... Across the nation, thousands of students left their classrooms on Friday to call for swift action to prevent or mitigate the effects of human-caused global warming and climate change. ... 
“It’s important to me because the deadline is approaching where things become catastrophic,” said Salcido, 18, who helped organize the event in Oklahoma. “Experts think in 11 to 15 years, things will be irreparable. I won’t even be 45 years old. That barely gives me the time to have a family, get a home or live the life that others have been privileged to (do).” ... 
At the demonstration, speakers gave action plans for how best to combat climate change and demands they wanted of the government in a possible “New Green Deal.” ... Fellow organizer Rebecca Yanez, 19, believes addressing climate change with progressive, sweeping ideas could help stem the tide and prevent potential disaster. “I’ve been raised with the mentality that if you see something wrong you have to do something about it,” Yanez said. “I’m a first-generation American, and I believe that the youth is going to be able to change the country for the better.” 
Salcido was cheered on as she urged middle school, high school, and college students to get proactive. Telling them to call their representatives and demand action. “Normal can only go on if we act normal,” she told the crowd. “Our planet is dying. This is time to panic.”
In other news, here are some other hysterical environmentalist claims that didn't pan out.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Sapulpa teacher charged with lewd molestation

"Police say a teacher in Sapulpa is charged with lewd molestation after at least two students accused him of groping them," the News on 6 reports. "Police said he’d been grooming two girls for quite some time."

Friday, March 8, 2019

Oklahoma report cards ‘an utter disgrace’

"What does it say that Oklahoma's supposedly improved A-F school report cards grade schools on a curve?" The Oklahoman's editorial board asks today. "While there are now fewer A schools, many previously F-graded schools are apparently inflated out of the bottom category."

As my colleague Trent England observes: "Oklahoma school grades now not only set lower standards for schools with more minority students ... they also grade on a curve. In other words, it's not about excellence, just about being a little better than the building down the street. What an utter disgrace."

Former Deer Creek teacher, coach pleads guilty

"A former Deer Creek teacher and assistant basketball coach was sentenced to prison Wednesday following his arrest in a child sex sting," The Oklahoman reports.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Moore student arrested after being found with loaded handgun at school

"A student was found Wednesday morning with a loaded gun at Moore High School," KOCO reports.
Officers received a report that there was an odor of marijuana emitting from a restroom. They responded and found a student possibly involved. Officials said they had reason to believe the student in question was smoking marijuana. Officers searched the student’s bag and found a loaded handgun that turned out to be stolen. The student, a juvenile, was arrested.

Monday, March 4, 2019

Former Putnam City employee accused of child sex abuse

"A former attendance secretary for Putnam City Schools has been arrested for having an inappropriate relationship with a 14-year-old male student," News 9 reports. The former employee "was arrested on several counts of rape in the second degree and lewd acts with a child, according to investigators."

Oklahoma octogenarian headed back to prison after new sex offense

"Repeat sex offender Bobby Otto Powers is headed back to prison, almost nine years after being released early because corrections officials concluded he was dying," The Oklahoman reports.
The retired schoolteacher first went to prison in 2005 to serve a 60-year sentence for child molestation. He served less than five. ... By 2017, Powers had become a regular at Hustler Hollywood, which sells adult novelty items and lingerie. He visited two to three times a week, spending most of his time looking over the pornographic movies, according to testimony at his trial.

Sunday, March 3, 2019

‘Take that s**t off!’

"An Oklahoma high school senior was caught on video Monday harassing and bullying a fellow student over his support for President Donald Trump," Dave Urbanski reports. "The video shows the aggressor preventing the other student—who's wearing a red "Make America Great Again" hat—from passing through an Edmond Santa Fe High School hallway."

The parents of the bullied student told KFOR: "We are deeply disturbed by the actions of the other student and have met with the Edmond City Attorney and are proceeding with municipal assault and battery charges. We are proud that our son has and will continue to show his patriotism, love for his country, and support for the president of the United States of America, Donald Trump."