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.

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."

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Nineteen OKC schools receive 'F' on new report cards

"Zero students at two elementary schools in the Oklahoma City district who took state tests are prepared for the next grade, course or level, according to a new school accountability system launched by the state Education Department on Thursday," The Oklahoman reports.

Former Bixby teacher charged with sexual battery

We're told that four-day school weeks are bad for Oklahoma's reputation, but it seems to me that repeated international headlines like this are even worse.

How to teach children to deal with bullying

"More than half of all teenagers in America today see bullying as a major problem among their peers, according to a new survey by Pew Research," Joe Carter writes for The Gospel Coalition. "Teens were more likely to rank bullying as a problem than poverty, drug addiction, or drinking alcohol. Only anxiety and depression—problems that bullying contributes to—ranked higher in the survey."

Friday, March 1, 2019

Duncan parents of special-needs children allege abuse

Duncan Public Schools superintendent Melonie Hau is heading out the door, KFOR reports.
Wednesday night the school board held a meeting to discuss the next steps after her departure. In the audience were parents and children with signs demanding a change in culture at the school. ... 
"The water got a little too hot for her and it's going to keep on getting hotter," said mother Tiffany Hartfield. Hartfield previously told News 4 that her son, living with a number of conditions, was neglected by Duncan Public Schools. Now, she says she has an attorney and plans to take legal action against the district. 
She was one of many parents present, holding signs before the board that read things like "Stop the Abuse Now." The board did not address the crowd, nor did they take public comment. "I want somebody to know how they're making these kids feel," said Mona Presswood, crying as she held her granddaughter. 
A mother that now lives in California released surveillance video of her child, allegedly dragged by school personnel. She is also taking legal action against the district. She tells News 4 her daughter is still in a body brace a year after the incident. 
Another mother, Elizabeth Scott, said she's glad the superintendent is leaving because she hopes it will start a change from the top-down. She said her daughter, who has epilepsy, once got off a school bus slurring her speech and stumbling. She shared pictures with us that show scratches on the child's arm and abrasions to her forehead.
"She said that the teacher's aide in her class grabbed her arm and twisted it, causing her to hit her head on the board," said Scott. 
She refused to return her child to that teacher and said the school's resolution was to put her back in preschool. "She’s going to be a year behind, she’s going to be almost 7-years-old when she goes back to kindergarten for the second time," Scott said. "I feel like my daughter is being punished because she got hurt, but I had to keep her safe, whatever that took." 
She mentioned her concern for a number of students in special needs classes with her daughter who are nonverbal, unable to tell their parents anything that may happen in the classroom. "There are so many kids in these classes that can’t talk and it's just terrifying to think of what's happening." 
Presswood said that over the course of at least two years, her granddaughter would be yelled at and handled with physical aggression by teachers and a principal. She said it had damaging mental effects on the child. 
"She said 'there were just days that I just wish I wasn’t alive anymore, it would just be so much easier if I wasn't alive," she said. "At no time should any child feel like they’re not good enough or not want to be alive, it's ridiculous."
Oklahoma students with disabilities are eligible to receive a private-school voucher.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Noble school board member speaks out against bill requiring five-day school weeks

"Noble Public Schools board member Erika Wright said Senate Bill 441 wouldn't be easy on her district," FOX 25 reports.
The bill would require public schools to be in session for 180 days out of the year, where Noble only has a school year of 151 days. "What that would translate to for our district is we may have to let teachers go," Wright said. "Because of that we could probably very much expect that we would have larger class sizes."

Five-day school week bill could cause districts to add days to school year

"A bill to force all of Oklahoma's school districts to have five-day weeks could also require schools to add days to their calendars," the News on 6 reports.
The bill would require every school to be in session for 180-days per year. This means Tulsa Public Schools would have to add 14 days to the calendar and Union would have to add 10. 
Officials with other districts say they're concerned about the bill's impact on classes. A recent study also shows 81 percent of parents with children in four-day districts like having their kids out on Fridays.

Monday, February 25, 2019

Oklahoma nonprofit works to make college credit more accessible for rural high school students

The Tulsa World's Kyle Hinchey has the story.

Boren says stopping four-day school weeks ‘should be a top priority of our state government’

In Oklahoma, "far too many schools have only four-day school weeks," former Democratic Gov. David Boren declares. "It should be a top priority of our state government to stop this practice and fund five days for all of our children."

Stillwater News Press defends four-day school weeks

The Stillwater News Press editorial board doesn't like the idea of prohibiting four-day school weeks:
“We’d love to come do business in Oklahoma, but it turns out some of your smaller school districts are only in class four days a week, so we’ll have to pass.”

Let’s go ahead and file that under things that almost certainly have not been said by major companies.

Two bills are running through the Oklahoma Legislature that would mandate five-day school districts, mainly as even our Sen. Tom Dugger has said, because four-day school weeks make us look bad. We probably shouldn’t go into all the things coming out of the Capitol that have made Oklahoma look bad to outsiders, but we can address the school week issue with ease because we have several local districts that use the four-day school week. Here’s the thing—they like it. And whatever happened to wanting local control for districts?

The bills are hedged by the caveats would allow for school districts to remain at four days a week if they can prove it’s saving money and improving student performance. That the burden of proof would retroactively being put on the school districts doesn’t make much sense. If anyone had bothered to ask, they would probably have heard from many districts ready to share proof that the shorter week has been working for them, possibly even helping with teacher retention. And, once districts are able to prove this, and manage to stay at a four-day week, then what becomes of the national perception legislators were worried about? The bills were created to give a better impression of the state, right?

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Study finds school choice improves mental health

Staci Elder Hensley has the story.

Former Durant teacher arrested on child porn charges

KFOR has the story.

Taxpayers' ROI on public education is not good, survey says


According to a new survey commissioned by OCPA and conducted by WPA Intelligence, only a third of Oklahoma voters say taxpayers are getting a good return on their investment in public education. Just over half (51 percent) say the ROI is bad.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Hope Scholarship bill for bullied kids fails in committee

"Lawmakers in Oklahoma just voted against a bill that would have given [bullied] students another option," the ABC affiliate in Philadelphia reports

"Senate Bill 570, authored by state Sen. Rob Standridge (R-Norman) and co-authored by state Sen. Gary Stanislawski (R-Tulsa) and House Majority Floor Leader Jon Echols (R-Oklahoma City), failed to clear the Senate Education Committee this week, falling on a 10-6 vote," OCPA reports.
Senators who opposed SB 570 were J.J. Dossett (D-Owasso), Carri Hicks (D-Oklahoma City), Allison Ikley-Freeman (D-Tulsa), Tom Dugger (R-Stillwater), John Haste (R-Broken Arrow), Chris Kidd (R-Waurika), Roland Pederson (R-Burlington), Dewayne Pemberton (R-Muskogee), Paul Scott (R-Duncan), and Jason Smalley (R-Stroud). 
Senators voting in favor were David Bullard (R-Durant), Marty Quinn (R-Claremore), Wayne Shaw (R-Grove), Joe Newhouse (R-Broken Arrow), Gary Stanislawski (R-Tulsa), and Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Treat (R-Edmond).
Parent Jessica Visalli supported the bill. She told the NBC affiliate in Oklahoma City that her son "has been beaten multiple times in the head with a fist as he was walking in a classroom at the middle school."

After Moore teacher's actions, mom says first-grader is 'this little boy that is scared of life'

"Mother of three Kaitlyn Proctor said she has spent the last few months fighting to make sure her 7-year-old child, Eli, gets justice," KFOR reports.
“It’s hard now because it’s made him into this little boy that is scared of life,” Proctor said. 
Proctor said, in October, Eli went home crying, saying his legs hurt. The boy told Proctor that his 1st-grade teacher had shoved down his legs. The mom said, through investigation, Plaza Towers Elementary located a video of the incident. While the school declined to release it to us, Proctor described it as horrifying. 
“When I went up there to see the video, she repeatedly shoved his legs down on the ground and held them there, then grabbed him by the throat and lifted him to a standing position,” she said. Proctor said after the school showed her the video, Moore police were called and she filed a report against the teacher. 
“As soon as we found out about the incident, we immediately started investigating and found video of the incident. The police were contacted, and they requested the video. We immediately turned that video over to them,” said Dennis Horstkoetter, director of Safety and Security for Moore Public Schools. The school tells us that the teacher is no longer with the district. 
Now, police said no charges will be brought against her. 
“I am so lost with everything right now. I am speechless,” Proctor said. 
The Cleveland County District Attorney’s Office sent us a statement, saying, in part, “Based upon her review of the charges, it was determined that, although the teacher’s actions were inappropriate, they did not support the filing of a felony child abuse charge due, at least in part, to the lack of any physical harm or injury as well as the nature and extent of the force used.”

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Wagoner school leaders defend four-day school week

The Wagoner County American Tribune has the story.

Lawmakers advance measures increasing cap for tax credits

The Tulsa World has the story. Senate committee roll call is here. House committee roll call is here.

Compelling op-eds by bill authors Sen. Dave Rader ("Opportunity scholarships are vital to Tulsa’s ongoing renaissance") and Rep. John Echols ("Opportunity scholarships vital to 'Oklahoma's Turnaround'") ran earlier this week in the state's two largest newspapers.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Lawsuit alleges Ponca City school district failed to investigate complaints of sexual assault

"A lawsuit filed against Ponca City Public Schools claims violations of Title IX after the district allegedly failed to investigate complaints of sexual assault on a school trip," KFOR reports.
According to the lawsuit, school district officials conducted “virtually no investigation of the assault” once it was reported. It also states “the principal knew that an identical event occurred to other minors on the same trip by the same two perpetrators and failed to investigate it, as well.”

Putnam City student arrested, accused of bringing weapon to school

News 9 has the story.

Oklahoma school principal accused of child sexual abuse

"An Oklahoma middle school principal has been charged with child abuse and rape after a relative told police he had abused her years earlier," the Associated Press reports.

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Choctaw students removed from school after racist incidents

News 9's Dana Hertneky has the story.

'The public education that we provide to north Tulsa kids is unconscionable'

"The public education that we provide to north Tulsa kids is unconscionable," writes Don Parker, executive director of KIPP Tulsa.
Tulsa lags the state of Oklahoma average by 25 percent to 74 percent on every proficiency measure at every grade level. Oklahoma scores 42nd out of 50 states in pre-K through 12 education quality, and the U.S. scores are mediocre on international assessments. That is our reality and every conversation about education should start with a clear expression of where we are. Talking about it in less specific terms would make us complicit in the problem.

Friday, February 8, 2019

Proposed tax break would help parents


A few years back, I suggested in the Tulsa World that Oklahoma’s political leaders should appreciate parents who undertake the hard work of educating their own children at home. These parents provide a benefit to society without making demands on budget-conscious politicians. Indeed, according to my back-of-the-envelope calculation, my homeschooling wife and I will save the politicians well over half a million dollars. That’s money they can use to build roads and bridges, incarcerate criminals, or pay public-school teachers.

Now most parents choose home education because they're committed to it, regardless of the cost. Most of us don't want—indeed would never accept—something like government-funded vouchers and the strings that come with them. I do have to admit, however, that on occasion the thought crosses my mind: how about a little something, you know, for the effort?

A tax break, for example. As the Home School Legal Defense Association explains, "tax credits are not funding—rather, they are a way of returning the people’s own money to them. HSLDA believes that tax credits can help homeschoolers avoid the burden of double taxation, and in the past has supported most tax credit bills."

One hopes they'll support this one: House Bill 1160 by Oklahoma state Rep. Rande Worthen (R-Lawton). The bill provides a tax credit for homeschoolers, for private-school parents, and even for some public-school parents. And it appears to be a popular idea. A statewide survey of registered Oklahoma voters was commissioned by OCPA and conducted from January 29 to January 31 by WPA Intelligence, a highly respected firm. (One of the firm's clients, Sen. Ted Cruz, says "the team at WPAi are the best in business and I am proud to have had them as the pollsters for my presidential campaign." WPAi also did the polling for Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt's campaign.) Here's the relevant question:
“A proposal has been made to enact an individual tax credit for approved educational expenses. Oklahoma parents could receive a state tax credit of up to $2,500 per child for public-school expenses such as costs for band instruments and uniforms, athletic equipment, and other public-school activities. Or, they could receive the tax credit for costs associated with private school tuition or homeschooling. Would you support or oppose this proposal?”
  • Strongly support … 42%
  • Somewhat support … 22%
  • TOTAL SUPPORT … 64%
  • Somewhat oppose … 11%
  • Strongly oppose … 17%
  • TOTAL OPPOSE … 28%
  • Don’t know/refused … 8%
Most homeschooling parents are going to homeschool with or without a tax break. But for some parents, a tax break like this could be what enables them to choose traditional homeschooling over a traditional public school or an online public school. Here's hoping this legislation receives due consideration.

[UPDATE: The legislation cleared its first hurdle.]

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Oklahomans’ support for school choice is becoming difficult to deny



Yet another scientific survey of Oklahoma voters has found strong support for educational choice measures. Read about it here.

For those of you keeping score at home, here is the recent survey research that has shown strong support for various forms of private-school choice among Oklahomans. 
  • 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
And here is the survey research showing that Oklahomans oppose school vouchers (the survey didn't ask about tax-credit scholarships 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 suggests pretty clearly that they do.

Scholarship tax credits generate great outcomes

The editorial board of the state's largest newspaper praises an important school-choice program.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Epic mom: 'The anxiety is gone, the stress is gone, the meltdowns are gone'

Bethany Cowan's 12-year-old son, Jacob, attends Epic Charter School. She told the News on 6:
“There was a lot of anxiety, every day we had tears getting ready for school. ... Jacob needed something different. ... I really, really am happy with who he is becoming as a person at Epic. The anxiety is gone, the stress is gone, the meltdowns are gone."

Monday, February 4, 2019

Duncan Public Schools responds to students' racist video

"Duncan Public Schools is responding after one of its students posted a racist video on social media," KSWO reports. "DPS issued this statement on its Facebook page Friday night:
This evening we became aware of a racially inappropriate and offensive post on social media which involves former and current Duncan High School students. This post was made outside of school hours and off campus. Students seeing the post informed DHS teachers and administration. We are in the process of investigating this matter and will take appropriate action to address the posting of this video as well as any disciplinary consequences to follow. We are disappointed and saddened to know that our students have been involved in such racially offensive conduct. 
Duncan High School and Duncan Public Schools do not condone the language used or any content in this post. Racial harassment, prejudice, intolerance, and hate is unacceptable in any form. We take any kind of harassment and bullying seriously.
We know we will need to engage our students, parents, and community in discussions about racism and hate based on these students’ actions. We will reach out to you soon to help us shape the best venue for this conversation.

We call on our parents, students, and community to partner with us to end racism, bullying, and hate. We believe that all our students should feel safe and welcomed both at school and in our community. Please help our cause by modeling appropriate use of social media for students. Also help our cause by informing school administrators when problems occur.

Thank you,

Wade Hampton, Duncan High School Principal

Melonie Hau, Duncan Public Schools Superintendent

Edmond Public Schools looking at installing new security features, including shatterproof glass

"Shatterproof glass and special entrances are among a number of security measures Edmond Public Schools officials are looking at to keep children safe," KOCO reports.
"The extremes, now with the violence, has really elevated that conversation," Superintendent Bret Towne said. "It's one of those things you lose sleep over as a superintendent."

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Four-day week? Dibble supports local control

"The Dibble Board of Education and I are strongly in support of local control," says superintendent Chad Clanton.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Bartlesville middle-schooler sent home after school finds BB gun

Garrett Giles has the story.

Are fifth graders ready for middle school?

"Fifth graders in Oklahoma City Public Schools will be joining older peers in middle schools across the district under a proposal unveiled this week," Oklahoma Watch reports.
Parents have voiced concerns about younger students being exposed to adolescent behavior too soon, particularly drugs, gangs, and bullying. Fifth-graders are typically 10 or 11 years old.

Monday, January 28, 2019

After pleading with bus driver not to make him get off the bus, sixth-grader attacked by older student

"A viral video showing a young boy in Locust Grove, Oklahoma, not wanting to leave a school bus in fear of a bully is now under investigation," Newsweek reports.
In footage shared on social media, the distressed child could be seen crying and pleading with the driver to not force him from the vehicle. Later in the short clip, filmed on a cellphone, an adult male voice, reportedly the bus driver, could be heard saying: “Hey, get out of here, go.”

When the child reluctantly exited the bus he was attacked by another child. From the footage, it appeared the driver did not immediately come to his aid, KTUL reported. The victim was a sixth-grade middle school student and the attacker was a ninth-grade student.

Based on the video, the child suffered blows to the body and head. Despite the footage, it was not immediately clear who the bus driver's comments were being directed at. The Mayes County Sheriff's Office confirmed on Friday that deputies were probing the bullying incident, which occurred on January 17. One top cop described the video as “alarming.”
The heartbreaking video is making international news.

Do smaller classes help?

"One would expect smaller classes to produce better results," Greg Forster writes. "But education policy must be informed by evidence and not just our intuitions. Small classes have a big price tag, but the empirical evidence shows that they don’t produce results."

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Is TPS traumatizing children?

A Tulsa Public Schools parent "is furious at school officials for not letting students and staff know that an intruder-on-campus drill was just a drill until after it was over," KTUL reports.
"When your child is literally bawling into your arms, shaking ... I just got back from vacation; this was not how I wanted to greet my child, and you shouldn't have to," said parent Anita Keslter. 
Her eighth-grade son thought the intruder-on-campus drill was the real deal because no one said it was a drill until after it was over.

"If it's a drill, you address it as a drill," she said.

TPS told Tulsa's Channel 8: "It is important that we practice drills in 'real world' settings, so they are not announced in advance. Principal Doctor, in accordance with our practice, announced that it was a drill after it ended."

"If you want them to act appropriately, you don't scare the s*** out of them," said Kestler. ... The school was preparing for the worst, and doing so, from at least one mom's perspective, in the worst possible way.

"Traumatizing? I mean, honestly, it is. The way things have been going, you can't do an intruder-on-campus drill when you have had the cops to your campus multiple times and not tell me you're not going to frighten the children," she said.

Friday, January 18, 2019

Liberals' real problem is that Christian schools exist at all

Tony Perkins explains.

Salina student suspected of threatening to shoot up school

"Salina Schools in Mayes County promises to take appropriate disciplinary action against a student suspected of threatening to shoot up the school Thursday," the News on 6 reports.

Police arrest Haskell student for taking gun to high school

The News on 6 has the story.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

School choice 'drains money' from public schools?

Perry school district 'did everything wrong,' must pay $3.5 million in sexual predator case

"Perry Public Schools has admitted liability for the 'unwanted and unlawful touching' of 14 girls by a former teacher's aide and agreed to pay the families $3.5 million to settle the case," The Oklahoman reports.
School district officials were accused in a federal lawsuit of shielding a sexual predator and branding children as liars when they accused Arnold Cowen of molestation. 
Cowen, 87, pleaded guilty in February to molesting 10 girls at Upper Elementary School in 2016 and 2017 and is serving a 10-year prison sentence. Four more girls came forward after the charges were filed against Cowen. 
"There was no doubt that these children were molested and (the school district) admitted it," Cameron Spradling, one of the attorneys representing the victims, told The Oklahoman on Wednesday. "There's no doubt that they were responsible for allowing that to happen. They did everything wrong."

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Are teachers quitting at a record rate?

Actually, as Mike Antonucci points out, they leave their jobs at lower rates than almost everyone else.

House Speaker: ‘Put parents back in charge’

Speaker Charles McCall
In a speech on the floor of the Oklahoma House of Representatives yesterday, Speaker Charles McCall called for increased education funding and teacher pay. Raucous applause and a standing ovation ensued. But then he added this nugget: "At the same time, we must put parents back in charge of their children's education and give underprivileged families more options and more opportunity to thrive."

Also on the House floor yesterday, Speaker Pro Tempore Harold Wright praised former state Rep. Jason Nelson for his work to enact the Lindsey Nicole Henry Scholarship Program for Children with Disabilities, saying the program has made a significant difference for the children who need it.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Collective bargaining not worth it for teachers

"Oklahoma should follow the example of other states that are moving away from collective bargaining in K-12 education," Greg Forster writes.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Proficiency rates abysmal

"Only two percent of students at North Highland Elementary School in Oklahoma City and three percent of students at Douglass Mid-High, F.D. Moon Academy, and Rockwood Elementary School scored proficient in English/language arts or math on state tests administered in the spring," Tim Willert reports today in The Oklahoman.
Just four percent of students at Thelma Parks Elementary and five percent of students at Britton Elementary, Centennial Mid-High, Emerson Alternative (South), Telstar Elementary and Willow Brook Elementary attained proficiency—a high degree of competence or skill.

With few exceptions, Oklahoma City district students performed poorly on the exams following a second year of higher academic standards.

Only 15 percent of students tested in late April and early May scored proficient or better in English/language arts or math, according to data provided by Oklahoma City Public Schools.

Statewide, 27 percent of third-graders and 20 percent of seventh-graders scored proficient in English/language arts while 20 percent of fifth-graders scored proficient in math.