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.

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."

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.