Friday, February 28, 2020

Lawmakers prop up OEA/NEA despite radicalism

If transgender reading day occurs at your child’s school, don’t just blame the OEA/NEA. Ask the Oklahoma Republicans who control the state legislature why they continue to preserve the union’s grip on local schools.

Parents justified in student privacy concerns

[Guest post by Jonathan Small]

Recently, thousands of Oklahoma students’ names and home addresses were obtained from the Oklahoma State Department of Education and used for mailers. Parents were understandably upset.

In Arizona, the state Department of Education released parent names and individual account information for more than 7,000 student-beneficiaries of a school-choice program. Parents were understandably upset.

But now Oklahoma lawmakers are telling parents not to worry about student privacy, even though newly passed legislation mandates reporting requirements that experts believe could allow identification of individual students.

House Bill 1230 imposes new regulations for the Lindsey Nicole Henry (LNH) Scholarship Program that include releasing LNH data by school site and recipient demographics including race, income, and disability. Families are rightfully concerned by those requirements because the legislation did not include student-privacy safeguards typically included in other reporting mandates.

It’s not unreasonable for parents to worry that it won’t take long for people to identify students by name if a report shows a private school has just a handful of LNH recipients and one is a low-income black child with autism.

Children served by LNH private-school scholarships either have special needs, such as autism, or are foster and adopted children. Many are survivors of abuse—including, at times, severe bullying in public schools that prompted suicide attempts before the LNH program provided an alternative. Why should the state make it possible for those children’s former tormentors to identify them and their new school? And why should the state allow anti-school-choice radicals to identify specific families? If you don’t think there’s reason for concern on that front, you have not seen the vitriol school-choice opponents aim at low-income families online.

LNH recipients are not unreasonable in expecting privacy to be safeguarded because those protections are given elsewhere to other students. For example, when state testing results are released by school district, the data is withheld in instances where the number of test-taking students is so low that reporting on results could allow identification by inference.

The children with special needs targeted by HB 1230 deserve comparable protections.

The Republican Party often presents itself as a champion of deregulation in the name of individual liberty and job creation. President Trump has slashed regulations at the federal level, which experts agree has contributed to strong economic growth. At the state level, Gov. Kevin Stitt wants to cut regulations by 25 percent. So why has a GOP-controlled Legislature chosen to head the opposite direction when it comes to a program that serves needy children?

The Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs believes in accountability. But the troubling provisions of HB 1230 do nothing to deter or identify potential fraud. They only create potential hardship for families that already face more than their fair share of challenges. To make Oklahoma a place where more families can thrive, Oklahoma policymakers should stand up for those families, not add to their burdens.

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Oklahoma teacher arrested on sexual battery, blackmail complaints

KOCO has the story.

Jenks students fight while others egg them on, capture the fight on video

"Jenks Public Schools issued a message in regards to a fight that occurred on Wednesday at Jenks Middle School," KJRH reports.
"Many students who were not involved in the fight were recording the fight on their phones or encouraging students to continue fighting. This behavior also violates Jenks Public Schools' policy, as it can compromise student safety. All students have been reminded of the expectations for appropriate behavior," said Jenks officials.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

'Necessarily'

"Tulsa Public Schools is addressing sex at school, after an incident at Booker T. Washington High," KTUL reports. "Administrators say three students went into a bathroom and had sex. ... 'It's normal for young people to be exploring and like figuring things out. I can't say it is normal to have sex at school necessarily,' explained Stephanie Andrews, director of student engagement."

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Charges filed against Mid-Del teacher accused of body slamming his own student

"A Jarman Middle School student is recovering after allegedly being body-slammed by his own teacher," KFOR reports.
“He was crying. You could tell that his body was hurting. Mr. Heffington put his hands on my son and body slammed him to the ground,” said the student’s mom. 
Court documents just filed in Oklahoma County District Court Friday back the claims up. Forty-eight-year-old Blaine Heffington is now charged with assault and battery of a school student. Midwest City police say he picked the student up by his rib cage, threw him to the ground and then laid on top of him. 
“It’s just sickening,” said his mom.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Crossover Prep featured at Governor's Prayer Breakfast

School choice is transforming lives in north Tulsa. And Crossover Prep founder Philip Abode acknowledges frankly, "Our school doesn’t exist without the tax-credit scholarships." 

Here's a video that was shown yesterday at the Governor's Prayer Breakfast.

Man accused of making threats against Edmond schools years after bomb plot conviction

KOCO has the story.

Monday, February 17, 2020

Unnecessary and burdensome, HB 1230 raises privacy concerns

Some thoughts on HB 1230, which places more strings on the Lindsey Nicole Henry Scholarship program.
  • Accountability is vitally important, but it makes no sense to impose upon a market an accountability system designed to regulate a monopoly. Government regulations are a pale imitation of the true accountability system—accountability to parents. As political scientist Greg Foster says, "there is no real need to regulate private schools, in choice programs or otherwise, for anything other than health and safety."
  • This is especially true when one realizes that public schools are not accountable. Indeed, as one retired public school teacher puts it, "there is no entity in America that is less accountable than a government-run school system."
  • Republicans believe in reducing, not increasing, red tape. President Donald Trump boasts of a “record number of regulations eliminated” while Gov. Kevin Stitt is aiming for a 25 percent reduction in regulations by the end of his term.
  • Submitting extensive data to government officials to publish online raises serious privacy concerns:
    • Just last month, for example, we learned that the Arizona Department of Education handed over a spreadsheet containing private data on participating school-choice families to a group that wants to shut down school-choice programs. "The sheet gave the names and email addresses of more than 7,000 parents, the grades their children are in, and the children’s disabilities (if any)," Dr. Forster writes. "While the private data had been superficially covered, mandatory steps to prevent the process from being reversed—revealing the data—had not been taken."
    • The Oklahoma Department of Education (OSDE), similarly no fan of school choice, has also demonstrated a recent willingness to cooperate with the organized left.
    • Oklahoma Watch reported on Feb. 14 that thousands of Oklahoma students received recruitment flyers in the mail from a virtual charter school and that "parents are furious about the school’s access to children’s names and home addresses." The school’s attorney, Drew Edmondson, said the school got the information from the OSDE website. "This is a violation of privacy and safety," says one Noble Public Schools board member. "We have received alarming complaints," says state Superintendent Joy Hofmeister.
  • The only failed example of private-school choice in U.S. history is school vouchers in Louisiana, Dr. Forster writes, where, because of overregulation, participation rates by private schools were catastrophically low. "The problem was not any one obviously bad regulation. There was no 'poison pill.' Each individual regulation, by itself, was not a dealbreaker. The problem was the accumulated weight of many intrusive regulations, whose combined burden was far greater than expected. One important aspect of that was the clear signals that the schools got from the government that more regulations would be coming in the future. Private schools told the program’s evaluators that they didn’t want to sign up to be subject to unpredictable future creation of regulatory liabilities."
  • Dr. Donnie Peal, executive director of the Oklahoma Private School Accreditation Commission (OPSAC), reminds us that Oklahoma private schools are already accountable to state and federal governmental entities as well as to OPSAC, which works in collaboration with and on behalf of the Oklahoma State Department of Education. Dr. Peal says HB 1230 is unnecessary.

UPDATES:
  • "Legislation imposing new reporting mandates on a school-choice program has passed the Oklahoma House of Representatives," Ray Carter reported Feb. 19, "even though the legislation does not include specific student-privacy protections that ensure compliance with federal law."

Sunday, February 16, 2020

OKC teachers alarmed and exhausted as fights escalate

"Oklahoma City Public Schools reports 1,959 students were involved in fights at school the first semester of this school year, up 438 from the first semester of last school year," Brett Dickerson reports. "The first semester of last school year (2018-2019) 1,521 students were involved in some sort of fight according to the district’s spokespersons. And, the constant struggle of violence in Oklahoma’s largest and most urban of school districts with around 35,500 students is wearing down its teachers."

Friday, February 14, 2020

Stark difference in views of children

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt and Lt. Gov. Matt Pinnell are pictured here outside the state Capitol with students and staff from Crossover Preparatory Academy after the State of the State address on February 3, 2020.

[Guest post by Jonathan Small]

In education debates, some people see children whose lives can be immeasurably improved, while others see children only as tools to gain political power. This sad contrast became glaringly apparent during Gov. Kevin Stitt’s recent State of the State speech.

Stitt urged lawmakers to raise the cap on the Oklahoma Equal Opportunity Education Scholarship program in order to “provide additional incentives for donors, resulting in more public-school grants and private-school scholarships.”

In attendance were Alegra Williams and her sons, Sincere and Chaves. When Sincere attended a local public school, he struggled and officials told Williams he had learning disabilities. But when a tax-credit scholarship allowed Sincere to attend Crossover Preparatory Academy, an all-boys private school in north Tulsa, Sincere jumped two-and-a-half reading levels. Crossover officials found he has no learning disabilities. Similarly, Chaves jumped three reading grade levels. Tax-credit scholarships allowed both boys to attend Crossover.

In touting his support for raising the cap on the tax-credit scholarship program, Stitt called on lawmakers to “join me and their mom in applauding” Chaves and Sincere’s “hard work this year.” When he did, the official Twitter account of the Oklahoma Education Association complained that Stitt had “called for a standing ovation of a family that left public schools for a private.”

For the OEA and similar entities, the success of children like Chaves and Sincere cannot be cheered. They view such children’s success only as a loss of political power. The OEA’s action was reminiscent of congressional Democrats’ refusal to applaud record-low unemployment for racial minorities and blue-collar income gains during President Donald Trump’s recent State of the Union address.

Trump, by the way, echoed Stitt and endorsed a federal version of Oklahoma’s Equal Opportunity Education Scholarship Act in his speech, saying the “next step forward in building an inclusive society is making sure that every young American gets a great education and the opportunity to achieve the American dream. Yet, for too long, countless American children have been trapped in failing government schools.”

Supporting tax-credit scholarships and children like Sincere does not mean abandoning efforts to improve traditional public schools. Given that Oklahoma’s educational outcomes remain among the nation’s worst, we cannot afford to ignore those schools. But neither can we afford to squander children’s lives by telling them to expend their limited school years waiting for traditional schools to get their act together.

Like the Soviet Union’s old “five year plans,” the “turnaround” efforts of many local districts lead only to calls for more multi-year improvement programs. In the meantime, all 13 years of a child’s K-12 experience fly by and those youth are robbed of a quality education.

Even if the OEA doesn’t understand this, Governor Stitt and President Trump realize we are talking about children’s lives and Oklahoma’s future. For both to be brighter, Oklahoma lawmakers must side with Stitt and Trump, not the OEA.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Concerns growing that lockdown drills may traumatize students

"Ninety-five percent of American public schools conduct some form of regular active shooter safety drill—sometimes called a lockdown or active threat drill—according to the National Center for Education Statistics," Anya Kamenetz reports over at Public Radio Tulsa.
But concerns are growing that these drills have not been proven effective in preventing violence and that they may even traumatize some students. Now the advocacy group Everytown For Gun Safety is joining with the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association—the nation's largest education unions, with several million members—in calling for schools to reassess the use of lockdown drills.

Monday, February 10, 2020

How much money does a government school monopoly need?


"In Oklahoma as elsewhere, there is no upper limit to demands for more money from a government school system that has consistently squandered regular spending increases," Greg Forster writes. "It’s been the same story year after year, for decades. However much we spend, it’s never enough; however big the spending increase is, it’s still so small that expecting to see any results from it is unreasonable. 'Adequate funding,' like Neverland, is always somewhere far beyond the horizon, no matter how far we travel."

Jury trial begins for former Broken Arrow Teacher of the Year

"The jury trial for former Broken Arrow elementary teacher Edward Lee Hodge starts on Monday at the Tulsa County District Court," KJRH reports. "The 55-year-old Hodge is accused of seven counts of lewd molestation for allegedly touching female students inappropriately."

UPDATE: "Hodge was found not guilty on all seven counts of lewd molestation charges," the News on 6 reports.

Most teens experience mostly negative emotions at school

"It's supposed to be the best time in your life, but a new study finds that U.S. high school students have mostly negative feelings throughout their school day," UPI reports. "Surveying nearly 22,000 students nationwide, researchers found about 75 percent expressed boredom, anger, sadness, fear, or stress. Girls were slightly more negative than boys, according to the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence and the Yale Child Study Center researchers."

Saturday, February 8, 2020

Seemingly harmless choice regulations compromise families' privacy

"The more private, personal data the state collects—or requires schools to collect and send it—the less privacy we all have," Greg Forster writes.

Test monitor, bus driver gives inappropriate note to Edmond seventh-grader

"An Edmond mom says her son was sent home with an inappropriate note written by his school bus driver," KFOR reports.
“News Four is concealing this mother’s identity to protect her son, a seventh-grader at Cheyenne Middle School. She says he came home Friday with a note in his backpack written by his bus driver. 
She read aloud some of the note: 'I’m writing this note to you because as you know when school is out, there’s really no time to talk, just a quick hug. For some time, I’ve been wanting to talk to you about spending time together with you and I. Maybe with some other friends of yours? What do you think? I really want to be friends with you and every once in a while, hang out together to play, talk, etc. Yes! I am a grown up, but I like friendship with kids like you. Tell me what you think, no pressure though.' ... 
"I am very worried that he’s going to go to other districts," she says.

Four-day week advocates blame Hofmeister for 'unfair' requirements

"A group calling for an end to the state’s new four-day school week criteria will rally at the Capitol Friday morning accusing the state’s education leader of masterminding a plan that could lead to the closure of dozens of rural districts," News 9 reports.

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Vinita teacher suspended after sharing nude photo

The News on 6 has the story.

Trump is right to call them 'government schools'

"'Government school' is the most accurate term to use," Corey DeAngelis writes. "The schools are government-run and government-funded. This fact makes people who defend the government-run school system very uncomfortable."

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Trump, Stitt both support tax-credit scholarships

"President Donald Trump urged Congress to advance a federal tax-credit scholarship during his State of the Union address Tuesday evening, just one day after Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt urged state lawmakers to expand Oklahoma’s version of the same program," Ray Carter reports.

Monday, February 3, 2020

Bixby, Deer Creek continue to siphon money from public schools


Broken Arrow, Owasso, Edmond, and several other school districts are guilty too, according to the latest enrollment-growth data from the Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE). For shame!

Saturday, February 1, 2020

Calvin High School coach accused of rape

KFOR has the story.

Checotah mom says special-needs son got cigarette burns at school

An Oklahoma woman has pulled her special-needs son out of school after she says he came home with a burn on his arm," CNN Newssource reports. "It's horrifying," the mom said.

Friday, January 31, 2020

Bernie Sanders reveals teacher union goals for Oklahoma

An email from the Sanders campaign, April 2018

[Guest post by Jonathan Small]

In a recent column published by The Oklahoman, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, a self-described socialist, declared himself connected at the hip with Oklahoma teacher unions. There’s good reason to take that claim seriously—the Oklahoma Education Association’s national parent, the National Education Association, has given Sanders an “A” rating for years—so one should take seriously Sanders’ agenda as one shared by his teacher union comrades.

It’s an agenda that means more money for the government and less money for working Oklahoma families—even though Sanders tries to pretend otherwise. And it’s an agenda that would limit educational opportunity for Oklahoma children.

Over two years, Oklahoma lawmakers have increased K-12 school appropriations by 20 percent, funneling $638 million more into the system for teacher pay raises and classroom funding. Much of that funding came from more than $1 billion in tax increases and other revenue measures passed since 2015.

Sanders says those tax increases have “not been nearly enough” and calls for even more taxes. But Sanders decries Oklahoma’s recent tax increases—explicitly demanded by Oklahoma teacher unions—as falling “heavily on working families.” And he argues Oklahoma school problems were caused by state “tax cuts favoring the wealthy and large profitable corporations.” Since 2005, Oklahoma’s income tax was cut from 6.65 percent to 5 percent. That tax cut kicks in at $8,700 of taxable income for single filers. Who knew that earning $8,700 made one “wealthy”?

So Sanders is in the odd position of praising unions for forcing Oklahoma tax increases on working families, even as he decries those tax increases, and then argues that tax cuts that benefitted those working families were a mistake. Make of that what you will.

And Sanders says he now wants additional tax increases—on the “wealthy,” of course.

Sanders also took aim at EPIC charter schools, an online provider, saying that school is “draining” $112 million from public schools, and declared as president he would put “a moratorium on the expansion of charter schools.”

Never mind that every dollar spent on a student at EPIC—which is a public school—would have been spent on those same students in other public brick-and-mortar schools, so there’s no diversion of funding from education at all. And never mind that charter schools disproportionately serve low-income and minority students who would otherwise not get a quality education. Sanders and his teacher union allies are willing to sacrifice those children simply out of ideological pique.

In 2019, Gov. Kevin Stitt and legislative leaders chose a different path than the 2018 teacher-walkout model that Sanders praises. Instead of raising taxes, they increased state savings—something the OEA opposed, even though those savings will protect schools from budget cuts in future downturns.

Let’s hope saner heads continue to prevail in 2020, because if Sanders and his teacher-union allies prevail, the tax-increase drubbing Oklahomans took in 2018 will become the rule, not the exception.

Former Kiefer principal pleads guilty to child sexual abuse

"A former Kiefer principal pleads guilty to one count of child sexual abuse," the News on 6's Lori Fullbright reports. "A girl who Jayson Larremore knew, says he molested her from the time she was 9 until she was 16."

Former Oologah teacher pleads no contest

"A Rogers County judge dismissed a second-degree rape charge against a former Oologah teacher accused of having sex with a 17-year-old student," the News on 6 reports.

Oklahoma teachers afraid of repercussions when reporting student attacks

"Bruises. Cuts. Bite marks. All types of injuries are becoming a regular on-the-job hazard for teachers in Oklahoma," KTUL reports.
"In my seven years in the classroom, there were probably at least a dozen incidences that I felt the classroom community was unsafe," said Oklahoma state Senator Carri Hicks. Before she took on the role of state senator, Hicks was an elementary school teacher. Her time in the classroom had plenty of highs and lows. One low was when a fourth-grader hit her in the stomach; she was eight months pregnant at the time.
Read the whole thing here.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Norman student stuck fellow students with a needle

"Several middle school students were allegedly stabbed with a needle by a student at school during lunch," KFOR reports.
"I was furious. My child's safety obviously is not a priority to the school," Mary Canfield told News 4. That's how Canfield feels after what allegedly happened to her 11-year-old daughter at school on Monday. She said she got a call from the Whittier Middle School principal, who told her that her daughter and others had been stabbed with a needle by another student during lunch.

"I wanted to know why I was notified so late. She told me that they had cleaned my daughter up and sent her back to class. I found out it had happened hours prior," Canfield said. Canfield said she and her husband rushed to the school to get their daughter and took her to the ER. "The school said it was a sewing needle, but the ER was saying that it was a hypodermic needle," Travis Canfield told News 4. He claims doctors told them their daughter will have to be tested for HIV once every six months for four years.

"We're not sure if all the kids came forward that were stabbed, and the other parents need to know they need to get the kids tested just in case," Travis said.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

In many Oklahoma high schools, 'the health risks are alarming'

"For what is likely a majority of Oklahoma high school students, start times for school days are earlier than what medical experts and researchers say is best for their academic performance and their chances of avoiding physical and mental health problems," Oklahoma Watch reports. "The early school bells often cause students to get fewer than the recommended 8 to 10 hours of sleep, because many stay up well into the night."
The health risks are alarming. In 2014, the American Academy of Pediatrics issued a policy statement recommending that middle and high schools start classes no earlier than 8:30 a.m. 
“The research is clear that adolescents who get enough sleep have a reduced risk of being overweight or suffering depression, are less likely to be involved in automobile accidents, and have better grades, higher standardized test scores and an overall better quality of life,” said Dr. Judith Owens, lead author of the statement. Lack of sleep also contributes to obesity and diabetes, the CDC said. 
The pediatrics academy noted that teenagers’ natural sleep cycles make it difficult for them to fall asleep before 11 p.m.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

OEA membership slide continues

OEA membership, already down 44 percent from 1993 to 2017, fell another 2 percent in 2018 to 18,725, Mike Brake writes.

Felony arrest warrant issued for Brushy girls' coach

"Gregg 'Chooch' McCoy, 46, of Sallisaw was charged with two felony counts related to improper conduct with a student at Brushy Public School," KXMX reports.

TPS police investigating threats

"Tulsa Public Schools police are investigating an alleged social media threat against Will Rogers junior high and high schools," KWGS reports.

Salina teacher arrested, accused of molestation

"A Salina, Oklahoma teacher was arrested and faces accusations of molestation," KJRH reports.
John Q. Horner, a teacher at Salina Middle School, was arrested last week on eight counts of lewd molestation, court records show. The affidavit shows in March of 2019, a Salina Middle School student came forward with accusations of being touched inappropriately by a teacher. According to the affidavit, the investigator interviewed a total of 10 students, whose ages were 14 years or younger, except two, that were 16-18 years old and were talking about the things that happened when they were in middle school.

Monday, January 20, 2020

Assignment asks Mustang students to analyze Trump's lies

"A metro classroom’s curriculum was questioned after a recent assignment caused outrage amongst some parents," KFOR reports. "The assignment asked students to analyze President Trump’s 'lies' to the American people. The school has since admitted the assignment showed political bias."

Friday, January 17, 2020

Porter cellphone video incident under investigation

"An investigation is underway into a Friday incident at Porter Consolidated Schools that involved a secretly recorded cellphone video that was distributed on social media," the Wagoner County American-Tribune reports. "Wagoner County Sheriff Chris Elliott has confirmed that a report was made that one student covertly recorded another student’s genitalia in a restroom and dispersed that information via social media."

'Swing, swing hit his head,' Sand Springs students say

"A Sand Springs mother is outraged after she said another boy attacked her son in class, and the school suspended both boys," the News on 6 reports.
That mother said other students watched and recorded the fight on their phones but didn't help her son. 
"I wanted to throw up,” Joy Turner said. That's how Turner felt after seeing the video of her son being punched and hit by another student in class Tuesday in the Sand Springs Central Ninth Grade Center. "He was attacked," she said. ... 
"Swing, swing hit his head," you could hear students saying. "It's a horrible video. If you have anyone you love, you never want to see them beaten like that," Turner said. Turner said the school told her there was supposed to be a substitute teacher around, but that person wasn't in the room. She said her son suffered bruises and his injuries caused him to throw up several times.

Sand Springs police said they took a report and are investigating.

Funding doesn't explain Oklahoma's education woes


[Guest post by Jonathan Small]


In recent years, status-quo forces have described Oklahoma’s 2009 per-pupil funding level as a goal for state spending and argued that the slight reduction in per-pupil appropriations experienced following 2009 is to blame for the state’s education problems.

Rep. Melissa Provenzano, D-Tulsa, is the latest example of this pattern. Provenzano told The Oklahoman she opposes making the state superintendent a gubernatorial appointee, and implied the focus should be simply on spending increases.

“The state of education in Oklahoma, and the work that we’re going to have to do to even get it back to where it once was, is a direct result of severe underfunding by the state Legislature for well over a decade,” Provenzano said.

If spending equals better results, then 2009 should be a high-water mark for educational outcomes in the state. It’s not.

The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), often called the “nation’s report card,” shows fourth grade reading and math scores in 2009 were basically the same as in 2019.

In reading, NAEP found just 28 percent of Oklahoma fourth-graders read at grade level or better in 2009. In 2019, the test found 29 percent read at grade level.

Put simply, 2009 levels of spending generated the same basic results as 2019 spending. That doesn’t fit the narrative of those who want no changes in Oklahoma schools’ oversight or expectations.

Neither does the fact that the 20-percent increase in Oklahoma school appropriations over the last two years has had no notable impact on outcomes. Instead, academic results declined in 2019 on NAEP, state academic tests, and the ACT college-entrance exam.

Also contrary to the “only spending matters” crowd, the biggest improvement in outcomes occurred even as education appropriations declined slightly. In 2015, NAEP found 33 percent of fourth graders read at grade level or better.

One reason that reading outcomes improved in 2015 even as per-pupil spending was at a standstill or declining slightly is that lawmakers raised expectations. A law in force at that time ended social promotion and required students to repeat the third grade if they read at a first-grade level or lower. (That law has since been watered down and outcomes have fallen as a result.)

Money matters, but government structure, accountability, and academic expectations matter too. Under Oklahoma’s current system, gubernatorial candidates from both parties campaign on education issues, but their ability to implement their vision is hampered by their lack of authority over the Department of Education.

Giving the governor authority to appoint a state superintendent will guarantee direct accountability. If things go wrong in Oklahoma schools, the governor will be on the hot seat. Under our current system, no one is really in charge.

Ask yourself: Which system do you think is most likely to generate better academic outcomes? The answer is obvious.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Pawnee High School student arrested for allegedly threatening to shoot principal

"The Pawnee County Sheriff's Office arrested an 18-year-old Tuesday for allegedly threatening to shoot the high school principal," KTUL reports.

Student suspended after fight at Madill High School

"At least one of the students involved in a fight caught on video at Madill High School has been suspended," KXII reports.

Former Checotah schools employee charged with sexual battery

"A former Checotah Public Schools Information Technology specialist faces multiple charges after he allegedly filmed himself masturbating inside a school and touched a 17-year-old student," the Muskogee Phoenix reports.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

There's no way to force teachers to do what they don’t want to do

"Oklahoma’s elementary schools are almost exclusively using a scientifically discredited approach to reading," Greg Forster writes.
Unfortunately, decades’ worth of efforts nationwide to educate, cajole, bribe, and finally bully recalcitrant schools into using methods that are supported by evidence have a track record of total and uninterrupted failure. The only option with a reasonable prospect of success is to empower parents to take their students to schools or tutoring services that actually want to teach them properly.

Stitt wants to expand successful school-choice program

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt visits with students at Crossover Preparatory Academy.

A successful school-choice program is changing lives in Tulsa, Ray Carter reports (“Tax-credit scholarship program could shape north Tulsa’s future”).

Philip Abode, who helped found Crossover Preparatory Academy in north Tulsa, is working to change not just education statistics but the future of the community itself. The school's mission statement declares that Crossover Prep "is committed to restoring our community by developing educated, godly men who love north Tulsa."

Gov. Kevin Stitt, OCPA president Jonathan Small, and other leaders visited the school yesterday. 
OCPA president Jonathan Small visits with students.
The governor told Crossover students that “God has a special plan and a purpose for each one of you” and urged them to take advantage of the opportunities before them and understand that their actions will impact their lives for years.
“It is the choices that you make that determine your future and your destiny,” Stitt said. “I may be looking at a future governor out here or a business leader—or whatever God’s put in your heart to accomplish, you can do it.”

Stitt supports raising the cap on the tax-credit scholarship program, and has said it makes “a lot of sense to me” and is “something we can get across the finish line.”

Visiting with Crossover officials, Stitt reiterated his support. “We’re going to be working on that cap,” he said.

Abode hopes the governor and lawmakers succeed. He noted nearly 100 percent of students at Crossover qualify for tax-credit scholarships, and all students at the school participate in the free-and-reduced lunch program. “Our school,” Abode said, “doesn’t exist without the tax-credit scholarships.”

Berryhill school officials accused of ignoring violent bullying against special-needs student

The News On 6 reports that it has "obtained a federal lawsuit filed last year that accuses teachers and administrators of ignoring violent bullying against a special needs student."

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Third-grade student brings gun to Okemah school

"Okemah Public Schools said Tuesday that a third-grade student brought a gun to school," FOX 23 reports.

Berryhill teacher arrested, accused of rape

FOX 23 has the story.

Lawton teacher accused of showing explicit video to students

"A warrant has been issued for a Lawton High School teacher and coach who is accused of showing lewd photos and videos to students during class," the Texoma News Network reports.
Kalin Sadler, 23, is charged in court documents with one count of acts resulting in gross injury which is a misdemeanor. In the affidavit, Sadler is accused by multiple students of showing nude photos of women to them from his phone while in class. He also allegedly showed some students a video of himself engaging in sexual acts with women. ...

Lawton Public Schools says they took swift action once the allegations were discovered, but did not confirm if Sadler is still employed by the district. They say the incident is still under investigation.

'A piece of his innocence was taken away' in a Norman Public Schools classroom

"Dozens of parents spoke out against technology use in Norman Public Schools during a Board of Education meeting Monday," The Oklahoman reports.
About 100 parents packed the board’s meeting room at the district administration building. Parents spoke for nearly an hour and a half during public comment, complaining of the district’s technology initiative.

In 2018, Norman schools began providing a MacBook Air computer to every secondary student and iPads to elementary schools. Students with school-issued laptops are allowed to bring their computer home.

Families criticized the district for embracing the devices without creating comprehensive technology policies. Several parents also expressed worry over a drastic increase in their children’s daily screen time, as well as risks of exposure to inappropriate internet content. ...

Drew and Amy Nichols, who have three sons enrolled in Norman schools, said the district failed to establish measurable goals for the devices before introducing them into classrooms. “So far, my son’s grades have gone down, but my property taxes here in Norman have gone up,” Drew Nichols said. “I thought we were getting storm shelters. Instead we got hit with this storm of technology.”

Their 11-year-old son witnessed another student display pornographic images on a computer screen while in class, Amy Nichols said. “A piece of his innocence was taken from him that day with no warning, no explanation, and no malicious intent,” she said. “My son was 11 years old when he was first exposed to pornography. It happened on a school device while he sat in a sixth-grade classroom.”

Mark Deaver, owner of Norman Computers, said he and his staff created a video for the Norman City Council, showing how the school district’s internet filters could be bypassed with “common knowledge that any 10-year-old would have.”

“It’s gotten to the point where a number of my customers will simply take away the school laptop,” Deaver said.

Mother at wits' end with OKCPS after son attacked

"An Oklahoma City mom says her 6th-grade son was attacked at John Marshall Middle School," KFOR reports. "Other parents at John Marshall Middle School say this kind of thing is happening far too often. 'It almost seems like since school has started the school is on the news every week, if not every other week,' one parent told News 4."

Monday, January 13, 2020

High-school grad 'didn’t comprehend how to read'

The Ardmoreite reports on one young man who has been taking a free literacy class for a few months. "He earned a high school diploma as a teenager, but the ability to effectively read has eluded him into his adult life. 'I just didn’t comprehend how to read,' he said."

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Private giving achieves what government can’t

"Private giving builds institutions of civil society that provide valuable services, alleviating many pressing public problems," Karl Zinsmeister writes in The Wall Street Journal ("The War on Philanthropy").
The New York Public Library has operated as a charity since its founding 125 years ago, and Central Park is run by a donor-funded conservancy that rescued it from decay in 1980. Quietly effective philanthropies get little visibility, though, and scant credit from journalists, academics, and politicians.

Instead, progressive editorialists and political candidates openly call for deep cuts in the charitable deduction, an end to tax protections for churches and other charities, the taxing down of personal fortunes, and new regimes in which government becomes the sole ministrant of societal needs. Givers like the Kochs and Waltons are treated as punching bags for ideological reasons, but even liberals such as Bill Gates, Eli Broad, and Robert Smith are pilloried for practicing philanthropy. ...

Rather than being an instrument of plutocracy, America’s highly decentralized philanthropy is one of its most pluralistic and democratic elements. Philanthropy disperses authority, gives individuals direct opportunities to change their communities, and lets nonmainstream alternatives have their day in the sun. 
Charitable problem-solving also has many practical advantages. What works to alleviate homelessness or loneliness in old age may be different in Nebraska than in New York. With government programs it is almost impossible, even illegal, to pursue different strategies in different places. In philanthropy that’s easy—local variegation is one of the field’s inherent strengths. Studies show that philanthropic efforts are more effective than government in the amount of social repair accomplished per dollar.

One reason many progressives are so hostile to private giving is that government and charity are often competitors. They function in many of the same areas and sometimes attack the same problems, albeit in different ways. Critics of philanthropy argue that it is disruptive, even illegitimate, for civil-society groups to compete with the state. Public-employee unions, agency officials, and activists for big government scream when social authority and resources migrate from state bureaus and into independent organizations like charter schools, churches, medical charities, and trainers of the poor.

Authoritarians have always hated independent civil society. ... Even democratically elected leaders are often jealous of civil society and blind to its productivity. Vice President Joe Biden said a few years ago that “every single great idea that has marked the 21st century, the 20th century, and the 19th century has required government vision and government incentive.” The late Sen. Ted Kennedy once said that “the ballot box is the place where all change begins in America.” 
Actually, government and ballot boxes had surprisingly little to do with many climactic shifts in American history. From the rise of universal schooling to the revulsion against slavery, from the creation of great universities to the national mastery of rocketry and space flight, private donors paved the way for many breakthroughs. Charitable action has been one of the country’s most valuable sources of ingenuity and social progress. In fields from brain research to immunotherapy, from family revival to improving teacher quality, philanthropists continue to lead. 
If we view social refinement as solely the work of government, we will eventually despair because the political process so often disappoints. When we recognize the contributions of community institutions, self-help groups, faith activity, local norms, neighborhood networks and grass-roots collaborations, our prospects appear much brighter. 
In America, independent problem-solvers pounce on many issues before they even rise to national notice. Privately funded civil society attends to a vast range of problems and threats. This is a distinguishing strength of the U.S. It will be a tragedy if Americans allow our rich tradition of voluntary action to be smothered.

Friday, January 10, 2020

New Year’s (and legislative session) resolutions

[Guest post by Jonathan Small]

When it comes to resolutions, one should pursue those that are simple and achievable. That’s true whether you’re talking about personal resolutions or (as I am today) resolutions for public policy goals for Oklahoma. In that spirit, I offer the following.

Lawmakers should raise the cap on Oklahoma’s Equal Opportunity Scholarship Program. Research has shown, repeatedly, that this program saves state funds and increases overall spending on education. It also increases academic opportunities for needy children and puts Oklahoma on the path to a better future by ensuring more students become prepared for work or college.

The Legislature should also advance much-needed union reforms (excluding those serving hazard-duty public-safety employees). First, unions should be required to obtain recertification regularly. The strikes of 2018 demonstrated they have the power of elected officials and the ability to shut down our schools. That kind of power needs regular accountability. Today’s teachers and other education employees should not be bound by a certification vote taken by their grandparents' generation. When a union provides value, recertification is no threat, and when a union doesn’t there’s no reason to limits its members’ options.

Unions should also be required to proactively receive a worker’s permission before union dues can be obtained from teachers and education employees. Also, state and local governments shouldn’t be involved in collecting dues for unions.

To benefit teachers, lawmakers should provide state-funded liability insurance coverage. Many teachers don’t agree with their union’s political stances, but still feel compelled to join because membership includes liability insurance coverage. Teachers who maintain classroom discipline should not have to fear frivolous lawsuits. The state should give them more financial peace of mind.

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Hofmeister refuses to discuss LGBT newsletter at public forum

State school superintendent Joy Hofmeister is adamant that every student—including transgender students—should be able to attend school "feeling safe, secure, and ready to learn." 

For some boys, that may mean showering in the girls' locker room. Is that permissible? 

It would be helpful if Hofmeister would provide some clarity.

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

More red than ed

#RedforED "began as a grassroots teachers' movement that was organized on Facebook in early 2018," Larry Sand writes.
Cooked up by Noah Karvelis, a 24-year-old music teacher and socialist from Arizona, its raison-d’etre is ultimately class warfare. Karvelis’ own words are ripped from The Communist Manifesto: “Realizing the power of the proletariat, the ruling class (to borrow Marxist terms) has constantly attempted to extinguish the potential for a working-class revolution.”
Read the entire article here.

Stitt proclaims School Choice Week

Hats off to Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt for celebrating the fact that "Oklahoma has many different types of public and nonpublic schools, as well as families who educate their children in the home."

Chouteau police investigating school-bus fight involving two high-school students and a fifth-grader

"Chouteau Police and the Mayes County Sheriff's office are investigating a school bus fight involving two high school students and a fifth-grader," the News on 6 reports.

Saturday, January 4, 2020

Climate in some OKC schools appalling

"I’ve read school climate surveys and listened to teachers for decades," writes longtime Oklahoma teacher John Thompson. "However, I’ve never read anything like the AFT’s November 2019 survey" of Oklahoma City Public Schools teachers. Among survey respondents, Thompson notes, 88 percent reported "disruptions of the learning environment, with 50 percent reporting distractions due to wireless devices, 43 percent reporting bullying, and 19 percent reporting 'assault and battery against school personnel.'"

I too waded through the 45 pages of comments from teachers. Below are some of them.
  • "I have three socially emotionally disturbed children in my class who I have to keep away from my other 24 kindergartners so they do not punch, trip, or spit on them. I don't feel that I have taught anything this year because of these students."
  • "The f word and cussing in general is used by students throughout the building. I am called names, there is rampant sexual harassment and bullying. Students are put into ISS then returned to class, days before their time is up. Behavior problems are allowed to roam the halls after being removed from class, because they are given special jobs by administrators. Students use this time to harass classes, teachers, and other students. Students are returned to class, during class, after admin has talked to them and the student walks in cussing, refusing to work, and further disrupting class. Dress code and other school rules are not enforced for students. ... I, for one, do not plan to be there much longer. I am an 18-year veteran teacher with many honors. I am incredibly concerned about the sexual harassment going on and truly worried that things will escalate. I have also been threatened many times, by numerous students. This school is truly out of control!"
  • "Incorrigible students whose goal is to disrupt classes on a daily basis are allowed to continue without fear of consequences. ... I have taught for over 20 years and I have never seen it this bad. I would like to teach another 10 years but now I'm thinking about retirement. Feeling unappreciated and frustrated."
  • "The stories I hear from friend-teachers at other schools are horrifying. It's amazing more hasn't made the news."
  • "Fights have escalated. Children routinely disparage teachers and staff with a complete disregard for the rules. I have personally been threatened. ... By Friday I am too stressed, exhausted, and sick of being verbally abused by students that I feel helpless and I just pray for the end of the school day. If these conditions do not improve, I plan on leaving the district."
  • "[M]ost behavior is more akin to a 'death by a thousand cuts' variety in that no particular behavior is such that a parent call is warranted, nor a referral. But over time, and across multiple and at times various students throughout each day and the week, the behavior becomes very disruptive in total. ...  It's a no-win situation to where the most workable solution is to just 'take it' each day from the students, keep them in class, forgo calling parents so as to have time to do all the other things I need to do."
  • "Student behavior is atrocious, admin support is absent."
  • "Students are disrespectful and use inappropriate language daily."
  • "Some gang activity has increased at my school site."
  • "I cannot put down assault and battery against students or school personnel because then 'the police would have to be notified.' It is to be listed as disruptive behavior or abusive language, profanity or behavior (repeat offense). However, there have been physical altercations/fighting between students and between students and school personnel. The students involved usually get an in-school suspension because there is a limit of out-of-school suspensions a child can receive."
  • "If I wanted to work all day without a break, a time to use the restroom, or time to even plan for the day, I would go work at a prison system. Oh, wait ..."
  • "Behavior at John Marshal Middle School continues to worsen, and has not improved since the beginning of the year. I've been injured twice this year and am constantly watching my back due to students running out of control, conflicts and fights in hallways, and students throwing objects at me in my classroom. ... I love teaching but I don't need an environment where it becomes increasingly difficult if not impossible to teach because of the total lack of any discipline or respect for teachers."
  • "Very poor climate with teachers leaving like a revolving door."
  • "Fights occur every day and when I page the office, no one answers. If someone happens to answer, I have waited 20 minutes or never for help to arrive."
  • "It's hard to teach when you have several students who can't sit down in their chairs, run around the classroom screaming, tearing up the classroom, or not following any directions from the teacher because they don't want to."
  • "The children here run and control the school starting from morning to the afternoon."
  • "Student behavior is on the decline. Students have figured out our administration is not really disciplining our students. ... When teachers are regularly cussed at by students, it is hard for teachers to feel like anybody cares. The climate in our building is not very positive."
  • "Students do what they want, when they want. ... [Two students]  placed hand sanitizer into a straw I was using and I consumed it. I told the parents I was pursuing charges against the students."
  • "The district has adopted a 'well, I sure didn't see that ________ behavior.' I wrote 3 students up for assault on another student and they were not worked. One AP said that they hadn't even been submitted. Students have control of the school. It is a massive, chaotic arena that has students cussing us out, running up and down the halls, failing to return from a pass. A student hits a teacher and they are left in the same school."
  • "I have witnessed an increase in violent behaviors and disrespect. ... I have never seen an entire Kindergarten grade level so out of control before in my life."
  • "5th and 6th grade students are completely out of control."
  • "I have seen the police called out for students. I have seen teachers assaulted and cursed out on 100's of occasions." 
  • "I brought my son to my school and I am so worried about his safety. ... If the parents knew all things going on in this school they would be so upset."
  • "There seems to be little done as far as discipline and behavior at our school. We had an administrator tell a teacher today if the student asks for another snack and we tell him no and he throws a fit, instead of him destroying the classroom like he did (throwing stuff all over, tipping desks over and throwing her personal stuff everywhere as well as classroom stuff) she is to go ahead and give him another snack to prevent it. This particular student has demonstrated this behavior close to 10 times already this school year and nothing has been done about it. I personally had a student get mad at me because I wouldn't let him throw a fit and had him sit away out of the activity kick me in the leg, then I wrote him up with a referral, he was back in my class the next day."
  • "If there's a fight or a fire, we will have a student trampled. I am shocked someone hasn't called the fire marshall. ... I feel safe right now, but I'm not coming back to this site (RMS), regardless of admin." 
  • "Ross Middle School is out of control. Administration does nothing. The students fight, curse teachers and admin. out daily, disrespectful, will get in teachers' faces, hit teachers and other students, smoke any and everything in the bathrooms, will not follow directive of any adult (teacher, assistant, admin.) etc. No need in writing referrals because nothing is done. They are blown off like us."
  • "The student behavior has completely dictated the poor results at our school here at MGR middle school. Students run the school and there is a lack of discipline and it shows. Students are basically rewarded for poor behavior, by allowing them out of class to help with school projects."
  • "There are at 2 to 4 students in every class that have terrible behavior. They verbally abuse teachers and scare good students, as well as disturb the educational process. Punishing is not harsh enough to handle defiant students in the classroom."
  • "Behaviors have increased! Students are out of control! There are absolutely no consequences for bad behavior!" 
  • "The students have no appropriate consequences. This is a joke! I don`t blame the principals. The fundamentals of respect do not exist with over 50% of the students. The other well-behaved students now act like the other. What can we do!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" 
  • "We are seeing more behavior problems in the classroom and school-wide, more fights, more profanity, more disrespectful behavior."
  • "[It is] terrible to have so many middle school students crammed into a tiny cafeteria. I question what is the actual number of people allowed by fire code."
  • "There are many students with discipline problems placed in my room. ... I have a student who is dangerous to himself and others in the room. He had a meltdown and was throwing chairs and manipulatives at the teachers and other students. Asking the principal to come and help was like pulling teeth, she didn't want to help. Parents are not involved or supportive -- shadowing is useless. I'm tired of tiptoeing around parents because the district is afraid of lawsuits."
  • "Also, discipline issues are at an all-time high! ... My school (not my classroom in particular) has a lot of repeat offenders. Some of their infractions include, but are not limited to; repetitive abusive language to a teacher, threatening a teacher, walking out of classrooms without permission, multiple fights almost daily, and the list goes on and on."
  • "We deal with a lot more vulgarity and violent behaviors."
  • "Students are not being held accountable. Example: A student has been given 5 referrals for ditching and on the 5th referral, still only served one day of ISI. It is the inconsistency of the administration that is creating a lot of the problems within our school environment."
  • "The principals are too worried about being liked by the students. They let certain students slide and not follow policies (cell phone, language, etc) and prefer to be friends with the students. If I was a student I would love to be in trouble at our school. It looks fun. If a teacher corrects a student's behavior, the principal will tell the student, 'I'm on your side, you're right.' Teachers are not backed up, we are enforcing admin set rules, but then getting overruled. We are losing authority and respect rapidly. ... I am very sad for our students."
  • "Every day there are threats of violence, cursing, taunting, refusal to stay in seats or quiet down long enough to teach literally anything. It's a mad-house at times where student, staff, and my own safety is at risk. ... Some days I literally get maybe 5-10 minutes out of a 50-60 minute class of actual instruction time. I've had a hole kicked in my wall, a chair almost thrown at a student standing 1 foot away from me, constant hygiene issues (chronic, room smells foul), and have even had staff close my door (with just myself and a handful of students) while they deal with behavioral issues in the hall. This does not make me feel comfortable or safe. While I feel I would be capable of handling any violence that a student might enact, my career, reputation, and sanity is put at risk when this happens."
  • "Student misbehavior is at an all-time high at this building while student Lexile level is at an all-time low."
  • "We now have a huge increase in discipline referrals and behavior issues. Principals are discouraged from suspending."
  • "The amount of students that are allowed to disrespect staff is increasing. Administration does not hold the students accountable to ensure the 'numbers' are still high. The amount of energy all staff members have to use just to address dress code and cell phone use that Administration does not back is amazing! Why have rules? I mean they refuse to go to ISS, lunch detention and nothing happens because again, that might affect numbers. This district and the administration needs to come back into the schools they are assigned and stand with staff and enforce the rules which is a minimum part of their job. Staff stress is high and what has the upper Administration done to help?"
  • "We are having way too many observations by district personnel. Our principal, vice principal, and instructional coach are all observing us which is to be expected. The ILD comes in and also observes us and now we will be having other district personnel coming in as well, 5 at a time apparently. It is getting to be harassment. Every teacher is stressed beyond belief and many have considered giving up teaching or going to Epic. Enough is enough!"
  • "There are chronic discipline problems that are allowed to continue to occur and we are told to keep them in our classroom so they don't ditch class, but the disruption they cause is such that it makes instruction near to impossible. I spend more time trying to deal with student misbehavior that in other OKCPS schools is swiftly and effectively dealt with, so that students who want to learn suffer because I end up not being able to teach as much as I need."
  • "Students are so disrespectful, it is hard to get through a single lesson."
  • "As a parent whose child is going into kindergarten next year, my child will not be attending an OKCPS school based off what I have seen."
  • "Behavior issues are rampant and issues are not addressed. Children get to go to the office and play."
  • "We have a very unstable environment at our school. Students will not allow the teachers to teach."
  • "This year has been the most difficult of all my years in schools in 3 states. Even with all of the changes, transfers, increase in caseloads and all the other changes brought by P2G, nothing compares to the ever-worsening behavior of the students who all know the teachers and administrators are completely powerless to deal with them and their behavior. Very little academic time actually focuses on academics because of behaviors that teachers are trying to manage. I have seen teachers and principals cry this year more than I have in 20 years. I can foresee many, many, many good teachers and leaders changing careers or retiring simply because they are no longer able to manage trying to work without the most basic of materials such as books and no way of dealing with kids who will not behave. I've heard teachers speaking of health issues that have been created just this year from the stress of teaching: high blood pressure, anxiety, depression, insomnia."
  • "Behavior issues are not addressed. It is extremely frustrating to have students with chronic discipline problems continue to exhibit the same behaviors because they know there are zero consequences. This leads me to not write referrals because it is a waste of my time when nothing is done about it anyway."
  • "The students disregard the code of conduct as much as the administrators do."
  • "The incoming 6th graders have been terrible. We have had 6th grades challenge teachers to a fight. We have had a large number of 6th-grade referrals due to fighting, challenging teachers, and refusing to follow the rules."
  • "The 5th and 6th graders that have joined us are disrespectful, refuse to follow directions, and are violent. We have had more fights from the younger kids than the older. They hit others at the slightest provocation. I have heard more profanity from the younger kids than the older. I only see the general ed kids before school, after school, and sometimes during passing. When I do get a minute to leave my room, I can hear them screaming at the teachers, refusing to do what they are asked and they are destroying property. They refuse to clean up their breakfast and lunch mess. There are several teachers that are thinking of leaving the district because of the student behavior."
  • "Too many students are defiant and administration refuses to hold them accountable. Staff is in danger and there probably will be an incident due to the lax in discipline and/or refusal to discipline to help increase numbers or to just hide and make things look 'good.'"
  • "Violence in the school is a huge problem. I wish I could gripe about cell phones turning students into zombies, but I'm too busy breaking up fights."
  • "I am a teacher in the district but also a grandmother raising a grandson going to school in the district. He is in 5th grade and being bullied every day. ... It is to the point the child is getting physically sick thinking about going to school. ... I am to the point of pulling him out of the district altogether and homeschooling him. I am afraid I have lost all faith in the decisions of this district."
  • "Our administration is great and really helps, but the morale and mental health of teachers in our building has declined drastically from day one."
  • "I spend a majority of my teaching time dealing with unruly students and lack adequate time to get the lessons across. This is due mainly to the referrals not being worked in a timely manner and little to no consequences for behavior. I have a referral waiting to be worked from September where a student threatened to knock me out."
  • "The behavior at my school is atrocious. We have students who are physically/verbally abusive to students and staff. We have students who will not follow any rules or procedures. Every class at my school has at least 1 or 2 students who keep the whole class from learning. These disruptive students are basically running the school."
  • "Students are out of control. Administrators are telling us to call parents and assign afterschool and Saturday detention. We can't do this unless the parents agree. I cant reach parents. They don't accept my calls, don't return my calls, or do not have working numbers. ... Discipline is a joke! These students are running wild and they are no consequences. These students know they have no real consequences and behave accordingly. I'm at a middle school with 5th grade students. This is a horrible situation. The classes are overcrowded and the disruptive kids are robbing the other kids of an education. I am in hell! This is my last year in this mess."
  • "The discipline problems make it almost impossible to teach."
  • "All students receive breakfast and come to the classroom to eat. It is a big mess most days. Milk has been spilt, syrup gets on the tables, cereal goes on the floor. When students are late they take up instructional time to eat. I am not able to set up my classroom due to the fact that the tables are used for breakfast. We have to clean up all of the mess and are not able to teach until that is done."
  • "In regards to the student behavior, I teach at the juvenile detention center."
  • "The students are rude and disruptive ... The school is not allowed to suspend the students. They finally suspended one but because she brought a stun gun and mace to school. We have more fights than ever before."
  • "We have a deaf student at our school who is not being served appropriately. He has not been taught basic sign language for whatever reason and has lots of behavior problems due to his inability to communicate with anyone in our building. No one in our building knows how to sign or teach signing. I don't know how anyone can expect him to learn in an environment where he does not get the services he needs to succeed! He is doomed to fail because our district will not place him properly."
  • "I'm an instructional coach and some teachers are dealing with out-of-control student behaviors all day long. So many children are missing out on their learning!"
  • "Student behavior is out of control in the hallways and in some classrooms. Some teachers have been physically and punishment that the student received was a conference about acting appropriately."
  • "Student behavior is horrible at our school. Students' behavior is not getting better. Discipline is not making any difference."
  • "Our middle school students are highly out of control. Some students are highly disrespectful, they are rude to staff and each other, and they do not follow the rules and procedures, putting other students and staff at risk! A number of students run in the hall and are always loud and shouting. Often students refuse to clear the hallways and enter class when the passing period has finished. Their eye rolls and 'sorry' are worthless at changing attitudes in the long term. ... Our students have been allowed to get away with their misbehavior all year and previously, and when nothing is done, it escalates. This is driving away great teachers!!! Our administrators have to get tough with these students who are highly out of control.
  • "In my opinion, climate in this school has declined this year as compared to last year. Dress code isn't as enforced as it was last year. Teachers aren't checking; and students are granted reprieve on dress code even when a teacher addresses the code. Hats, hoods, sagging pants, open-toes shoes and mid-drift-exposing shirts are commonplace and often go unaddressed. Dress code for teachers and staff isn't addressed either which isn't setting an example for students. Cell phone usage during class has created an unbearable situation. ... So much teacher time is spent addressing disciplinary issues that planning assignments and actually teaching the assignments are taking a backseat to all of the other issues. Morale among teachers and staff is low."
  • "I am fairly sure I will be leaving the district at the end of this year if at all possible. I am very sad since I have taught in the district 30 years and thought I would retire from OKCPS. ... I am in a school where children fight constantly and I am drained at the end of every day."
  • "There are so many discipline problems the instructional time has declined."
  • "The atmosphere in our building between teachers is full of fear and animosity. The students are very keen to that and feed off of it. Behavior has increased in violence and frequency. Increased amount of students running out of classrooms and buildings."
  • "Teachers are unable to teach effectively. Discipline is a joke. Students who misbehave are rewarded for a few days of minimally good behavior. Teachers at my school have been kicked, slapped or hit by students."
  • "Student disrespect is a constant problem, and I never know if admin get annoyed when I send kids to them."
  • "This school has major behavior problem."
  • "The behavior is amazingly disrespectful and incredibly rude, behavior that I have never seen in my 12 years being involved with my school."

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Oklahoma education agency informs local districts of LGBT 'best practices'


One of which is this: “Never reveal a student’s sexual orientation or gender identity without the student’s permission—even to the student’s family.”

Wister teacher arrested for allegedly stealing money from booster club

"An Oklahoma public school teacher has been arrested for allegedly stealing from one of the school's booster clubs," KFSM reports.