Saturday, October 31, 2020

Party of slavery opposes educational freedom

President Donald Trump is pictured here with rapper Dwayne Michael Carter, Jr., better known by his stage name Lil Wayne, on October 29, 2020.

[Guest post by Jonathan Small]

This year’s presidential campaigns are causing many people to have “aha” moments that defy partisan stereotypes.

Democratic candidate Joe Biden says he will repeal the tax cuts enacted under President Trump and add many new taxes. When analysts reviewed the combined state-federal tax rates that would result under Biden’s proposals, they found top rates would surge to 62 percent in New York, for example. That prompted Rapper 50 Cent to declare, “I don’t want to be 20 Cent.”

Rapper Lil Wayne in a recent tweet praised Trump for his work on criminal justice reform and inclusion of Wayne’s proposals that empower ownership in black communities.

Rapper Ice Cube reached out to both political parties to discuss his proposals to help black Americans. The Trump administration included some of Ice Cube’s ideas in the campaign’s agenda. Ice Cube lamented that all Democrats did was pay lip service with constant references to “minorities” and "people of color."

In Ice Cube’s video discussing the two parties’ response, he looked somber. That’s a common reaction for those confronted with reality. Nationwide, there’s often a glaring gap between what people have been told about the two political parties and reality.

Here are a few examples.

The Democratic Party was the party of slavery.

Several American Indian tribes took thousands of black slaves with them to their reservations in Oklahoma and then fought for the Confederacy to preserve slavery.

Democrats insist all Americans should have to give tax dollars to groups like Planned Parenthood, an organization whose founder specifically targeted black babies and whose mission today still places disproportionate attention on increasing abortions in minority communities.

“Progressives” decry the Electoral College, yet without the Electoral College, our nation would not have had Abraham Lincoln as president or the subsequent Emancipation Proclamation.

President Trump champions expanding parental school choice, while Joe Biden—who once said he didn’t want Delaware children forced into a “racial jungle”—wants to limit charter schools and opposes scholarship programs that help children attend private schools. Many families who benefit from those policies—including many minority households—are starting to notice.

Biden has also said, “Well I tell you what, if you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t black.” And Biden noted, “…unlike the African American community, with notable exceptions, the Latino community is an incredibly diverse community…”

The Trump administration has protected individuals and organizations from being required to facilitate practices they believe violate their faith. Biden’s team has declared they will force individuals and organizations to violate their faith, and the national Democratic Party platform even characterizes abiding by Biblical principles as attempts to “discriminate”.

Aha moments are mounting. We shall see what it means when the votes are finally cast.

Thursday, October 29, 2020

ESA in 2021? State lawmakers could make it happen

"Oklahoma could have an ESA overnight," Greg Forster writes, "by expanding its Digital Wallet program. Simply increase the funding level to $5,000 per student, make eligibility universal, and include services as well as products."

Oklahoma coach charged with soliciting sex with a minor

"A Latta elementary PE and assistant high school baseball/basketball coach has been charged with soliciting sexual conduct or communication with a minor by use of technology," KFOR reports.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Tishomingo teacher busted for meth

"A Tishomingo Middle School coach was arrested on Thursday after a sheriff’s deputy found meth in his car," KXII reports.

It is just the latest black eye for Tishomingo schools: two basketball coaches were fired three years ago for using a school bus to make a beer run on a road trip, two years ago a former superintendent was audited by OSBI for misusing school funds, and his wife -- formerly a teacher and cheer coach -- is currently serving time for having sex with a student.

Monday, October 26, 2020

Oklahoma teacher: 'Everything my kids are doing at home is a cheatable assignment'

"Schools’ large-scale shift to virtual education amid COVID-19 is challenging the system of determining what students actually know and limiting educators’ ability to ensure academic integrity," Oklahoma Watch reports ("Cheat Codes: Students Search For Shortcuts as Virtual Schooling Expands").
Cheating has always been an issue in schools, but there is little getting in the way for students today. Shared answers have become even more accessible as districts have adopted or expanded their use of popular online learning programs like Edgenuity, which delivers the same content to students across the country.

Many schools adopted such virtual programs in a matter of months to adapt to the ongoing public health crisis. Seventy percent of Oklahoma districts had a virtual option at the start of this school year, and 7.5% were exclusively online, according to a state Department of Education survey.

But when students are not inside classrooms, it becomes more difficult to ensure they are actually learning, teachers say.

“Everything my kids are doing at home is a cheatable assignment, which makes that in-class time so incredibly valuable,” said Elanna Dobbs, who teaches English at Edmond Memorial High School.

Friday, October 16, 2020

Why is Epic popular?

[Guest post by Jonathan Small]

Ask the average citizen what they know about Epic Charter Schools, an online public K-12 school, and you’ll typically hear two responses. First, the school’s critics are vocal, fierce, and determined to shut down Epic, and second, the school is increasingly popular among parents.

Some will consider those two facts incompatible. Why would parents flock to a school that is constantly under fire from bureaucrats and teacher unions who regularly remind us they know better than the rest of us? The answer is simple. Because parents believe that Epic provides a better educational product than many local brick-and-mortar schools, particularly in the state’s urban centers. If Epic’s back-end business functions have been questioned by a flawed state audit that encouraged Epic to make inaccurate calculations, that’s of little concern to parents focused on the welfare of their child.

One parent of an Epic student, addressing members of the Oklahoma Statewide Virtual Charter School Board, put it bluntly: “A lot of the parents that are inside Epic think that brick-and-mortar schools are mad because they’ve had too many kids pulled from them and they’re losing too much money and they’re trying to get Epic shut down.”

Due in part to COVID-19 and the continued closure of many physical school sites, along with the bad-to-terrible online alternatives provided by local districts, families have flocked to Epic this year. The district now serves more than 61,000 students—all of whom proactively chose the school—making Epic Oklahoma’s largest school by enrollment.

The demand for Epic’s services shows parents desire parental school choice. Those who feel Epic has gained an outsized role are often people who oppose parental school choice. But if we truly care about parents and families having access to the school they believe best meets their student’s needs, we need to increase the length of the school-choice menu.

Lawmakers should provide families the ability to use their tax funding at any school of their choice. If a local district won’t provide in-person instruction, allow families to transfer to other districts or private schools without restriction or penalty. When a local district is failing to educate children, let families use tax dollars for private-school enrollment. When a district refuses to stop bullying, let a child choose from a wide range of online, charter, public, and private school options.

Consumer choice and competition generate improvement in all other fields. They can do the same thing in education. But right now many families have only two choices: the local traditional school or a statewide online charter school.

The great challenge in education today is not whether Epic used the proper accounting codes for administrative expenses (the main allegation contained in the flawed state audit), but the fact that tens of thousands of families have demonstrated a strong desire for a greater array of parental school choice options for their children.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Parents furious after 4-year-old found walking home alone

"A local couple wants to see Hennessey Public Schools make some changes after their young son got locked out of his school and tried to walk home alone," KFOR reports.

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

The educational roots of injustice

"We employ millions of people and spend billions of dollars a year on K-12 schools and higher education," Greg Forster writes. "Yet those schools have been extensively colonized by pedagogical quackery and political claptrap connected to the radical left, and our society has failed to reproduce in its young people a commitment to even its most basic civilizational ideals. Through universal school choice, we can return control of K-12 education to families."

Thursday, October 1, 2020

Three former Ponca City coaches face sexual misconduct charges

"An investigation at Ponca City High School has been cracked wide open with the now-former head wrestling coach, an assistant coach, and a volunteer coach all facing a slew of charges including rape, harassment, and placing a child for prostitution," KFOR reports.