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.

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.