Saturday, September 25, 2021
Friday, September 24, 2021
Monday, September 20, 2021
Tuesday, September 14, 2021
Friday, September 10, 2021
Thursday, September 9, 2021
Former Mid-Del teaching assistant charged after allegedly using elementary students to produce child porn
Thursday, September 2, 2021
Saturday, August 28, 2021
Tuesday, August 24, 2021
Monday, August 23, 2021
Thursday, August 19, 2021
Tuesday, August 17, 2021
Tuesday, August 10, 2021
Saturday, August 7, 2021
Friday, August 6, 2021
Thursday, August 5, 2021
Wednesday, August 4, 2021
Tuesday, August 3, 2021
Friday, July 23, 2021
Tuesday, July 20, 2021
Wednesday, July 14, 2021
"Oklahoma passed a major expansion of one of its school choice programs this year, and the education special interests aren’t happy," Greg Forster writes. "They’re signaling that they’re about to try the same futile gambit they usually try after this kind of major legislative defeat: fake 'accountability' that takes away parental control."
Sunday, July 11, 2021
Friday, July 9, 2021
[Guest post by Jonathan Small]
Throughout the debate over Critical Race Theory, or CRT, education officials have insisted CRT is not part of classroom instruction. Now the National Education Association (NEA), the parent organization of Oklahoma’s largest teachers’ union, has made clear that was a lie.
At the NEA’s recent annual meeting and representative assembly, delegates voted to promote and support CRT in the classroom. One business item explicitly called for “increasing the implementation” of Critical Race Theory and similar material in “curriculum in pre-K-12 and higher education.”
Another measure required the union to “identify, compile, and share” existing “decolonizing the curriculum” resources with “educators seeking to be anti-racist in their classrooms.” Another item called on the union to share and publicize “information already available on critical race theory” and have “a team of staffers” dedicated to helping union members “fight back against anti-CRT rhetoric.” That proposal also required the union to make clear the union’s members “oppose attempts to ban critical race theory and/or The 1619 Project.”
You don’t devote that much time, effort, and resources to defending and promoting something that doesn’t exist.
Fortunately, Oklahoma lawmakers have taken a stand against Critical Race Theory in public schools. A new state law, House Bill 1775, bans Oklahoma public schools from teaching concepts associated with CRT, including that “an individual, by virtue of his or her race or sex, is inherently racist, sexist or oppressive” and should therefore face discrimination.
The focus now shifts to effective enforcement, which requires swift action by the State Board of Education. The board must approve agency regulations that will guide how the State Department of Education addresses instances in which teachers ignore the law. As chair of the board, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister controls the state board’s agenda and should make certain this issue is addressed.
Critics continue to insist Critical Race Theory is not part of classroom instruction in Oklahoma schools. But some Oklahoma teachers and administrators have publicly signed petitions vowing they will ignore HB 1775’s prohibitions.
Again, if you’re not teaching students that they are “inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive” based on their skin color or gender, why would obeying HB 1775 be objectionable?
Given the NEA’s open embrace of Critical Race Theory and the insistence of some Oklahoma teachers that they will disregard a law saying children should not be taught that individuals “should be discriminated against or receive adverse treatment solely or partly because of his or her race or sex,” it is undeniable that the threat of government-sanctioned racism in the classroom is a reality.
Our nation has made great strides in race relations since its founding. To allow CRT in the classroom would surrender those gains and dishonor the memory of countless Americans of all races who led the way on civil rights.
Wednesday, July 7, 2021
Saturday, July 3, 2021
Friday, July 2, 2021
[Guest post by Jonathan Small]
In 1964, Ronald Reagan famously warned, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”
As we celebrate our nation’s founding on July 4, Oklahomans should keep Reagan’s warning in mind. As a state, we have much to be thankful for this year, especially compared to many of our counterparts elsewhere. But there’s no guarantee that will last. We must protect our freedom, not take it for granted.
Oklahoma’s unemployment rate of 4 percent ranks 12th lowest in the country. In other states, the rate still hovers around 8 percent. A major reason for that difference is that Oklahoma officials moved quickly to reopen the state as much as possible, as quickly as possible, following the COVID-19 shutdown in spring 2020, while states that continue to have high unemployment rates typically kept activity shut down much longer.
State leadership, not blind luck, played a major role.
Some will argue that those other states did a better job handling COVID-19. Not so. A recent study by officials with the Rand Corporation and economists from the University of Southern California examined the effectiveness of pandemic lockdowns, using data from 43 countries and all 50 US states. Researchers did not find any evidence that shelter-in-place policies saved lives.
Locally, parents across most of the state were thrilled when schools reopened last fall for in-person instruction. But parents in several major districts were not so fortunate as their schools stalled reopening for most of the school year. The difference in the approaches taken by the leadership of those two contrasting school groups will be seen in potentially devastating learning loss among students in closed schools while children in the reopened group will have made up ground lost during last spring’s shutdown.
At both the state and local school levels, different outcomes are the indirect product of election results that place certain people in power. To think that the state of Oklahoma is automatically going to be more free than other states is a mistake. As the lack of in-person schooling in districts like Tulsa and Oklahoma City shows, some voters have promoted leaders who do not prioritize freedom or opportunity.
There are those who view Oklahoma’s success as failure, and they will be seeking office in the future. Whether they succeed is up to you.
This July 4, celebrate your freedom. But be sure you also secure your freedom at the next election—by voting for candidates who will protect and preserve it.
Monday, June 28, 2021
Thursday, June 17, 2021
Wednesday, June 16, 2021
A quality education opens the door to a better life, but especially for those whose current circumstances are mired in challenges few of us can comprehend. That’s why Oklahomans should praise lawmakers who voted to increase school-choice opportunities this year.
The Oklahoma Equal Opportunity Education Scholarship program provides tax credits for private donations to scholarship-granting organizations. It was limited to just $3.5 million in tax credits; now the program is expanding to up to $25 million in tax credits each year. This will be life-changing for thousands and thousands of more children.
The success stories are already innumerable.
Gina endured years of horrific abuse from her biological father and in a state foster home. When she entered sixth grade she was reading at a first-grade level.
Fortunately, Gina eventually found a loving adoptive mother. She also found academic success through the tax-credit scholarship program, which allowed her to attend a private religious school where she made huge academic strides and college became a possibility.
Gina’s story is not unique. Other scholarship beneficiaries include homeless children, those recovering from addiction, those otherwise trapped in failing schools, and more.
The tax-credit scholarship program has aided students attending Hope Harbor Academy near Claremore. On a measurement of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) that uses a 1-10 ranking, Hope Harbor students have an average 6.8 ACEs score. Having four or more ACEs is associated with an increase in depression, suicide attempts, and a decrease in work performance, academic achievement, and health-related quality of life. Having six or more ACEs is associated with a 20-year decrease in life expectancy.
Put simply, school choice can be a literal matter of life and death.
Some supporters know this firsthand. Rep. Ryan Martinez, R-Edmond, recalled three childhood friends during legislative debate. All four boys came from a similar background—low-income, minority families, geographically designated to attend a “dropout factory” public school. Two boys were dead by age 20; the third was in prison by 24. Only Martinez achieved adult success—which he attributed to his parents working multiple jobs to pay for private school.
Martinez said he thinks of those friends and wonders “what would have happened to their life if they would have had an opportunity like I did? Could they have gone to college? Could they have been meaningful members of society that had a chance to succeed? I think that they could have. And if this bill helps one kid, I’m in.”
Decades from now, when today’s children are adults, thousands will have achieved great things. And many will owe a large part of that success to lawmakers’ voting to increase school choice.
Tuesday, June 15, 2021
Critical race theory is an academic discipline that holds that the United States is a nation founded on white supremacy and oppression, and that these forces are still at the root of our society. Critical race theorists believe that American institutions, such as the Constitution and legal system, preach freedom and equality, but are mere “camouflages” for naked racial domination. They believe that racism is a constant, universal condition: it simply becomes more subtle, sophisticated, and insidious over the course of history. In simple terms, critical race theory reformulates the old Marxist dichotomy of oppressor and oppressed, replacing the class categories of bourgeoisie and proletariat with the identity categories of White and Black. But the basic conclusion is the same: in order to liberate man, society must be fundamentally transformed through moral, economic, and political revolution.
Sunday, June 13, 2021
The company states, “Everfi partners with sponsors nationwide to offer our interactive, online diversity, equity & inclusion resources to K-12 schools free of charge.”The company’s website includes a quote of endorsement from Linda Sloan, curriculum specialist for career tech/online learning at Edmond Public Schools. “We are pleased to have the additional resources and support from Everfi for our teachers as they provide instruction to students,” Sloan said. “Everfi has a great rapport with our schools and is present and available to assist at a moment’s notice.”An accompanying graphic says Everfi programs have been used in 214 Oklahoma school districts that include 416 school sites and 907 teachers. Oklahoma City Public Schools is identified as a “featured district” that uses Everfi materials.The graphic does not list which Everfi programs have been used in Oklahoma schools.
Friday, June 11, 2021
Friday, May 28, 2021
Friday, May 21, 2021
Thursday, May 20, 2021
[Guest post by Jonathan Small]
In a late 2020 interview with Rick Hess of the American Enterprise Institute, conducted as Betsy DeVos was nearing the end of her tenure as federal Secretary of Education for President Trump, Hess asked DeVos for an anecdote that captured the experience.
DeVos responded, “I remember talking with a group of young African American students in a school where they were benefiting from the Milwaukee voucher program and looking outside at a sea of middle-aged white protestors who apparently thought those students didn’t deserve that opportunity. I think that’s a pretty good microcosm of what my experience in office was like.”
Unlike her detractors, DeVos never forgot to place students first in policy debates. That’s why the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs chose DeVos as this year’s recipient of our organization’s Citizenship Award.
That award is provided to those who make great contributions to our state and nation. It’s hard to imagine anyone more deserving than DeVos. Thanks to her leadership and hard work—which long preceded her time in Washington—the lives of countless children have been changed for the better through school choice and the conversation on education today is increasingly child-focused.
To her credit, DeVos stayed in the thick of the battle when others would have retreated to the sidelines. Her detractors were both unreasonable and relentless and remain so. Nonetheless, DeVos gave her all to help children whose opportunities in life will be severely limited without a quality education.
DeVos has devoted decades to that effort. She has been active in politics for more than 35 years with education a major focus for the last 28 years.
DeVos served as chair of the American Federation for Children, an organization that seeks to increase school-choice options nationwide, including everything from homeschooling to public charter schools to state-funded scholarships for private school.
When Trump asked her to be his secretary of education, she did not flinch. At the time, DeVos declared, “The status quo is not acceptable. I am committed to transforming our education system into the best in the world.”
DeVos was an innovator, a disruptor, and an advocate before she went to Washington. And she did not change her stripes after joining the Trump administration.
Among other things, DeVos championed Education Freedom Scholarships, a proposal to provide $5 billion in federal tax credits for individual and business contributions to state non-profit Scholarship Granting Organizations (SGOs).
Few people have done more to increase educational opportunities for children of all backgrounds. And fewer still have made such contributions while under unrelenting attack.
DeVos showed that one person with backbone can make a difference. When one finds a true public servant like DeVos, we should not only praise her, but join her in the fight.
Wednesday, May 19, 2021
Friday, May 14, 2021
Thursday, May 13, 2021
Thursday, May 6, 2021
Wednesday, May 5, 2021
Wednesday, April 28, 2021
New data from the U.S. Census Bureau show that, nationwide, homeschooling doubled between the spring of 2020 and the fall of 2020. In Oklahoma, it nearly tripled—from 7.7 percent of households to 20.1 percent. (Importantly, Census says this is “true homeschooling” rather than simply “virtual learning through a public or private school.”)
Tuesday, April 20, 2021
|Rev. Lori Walke is the senior pastor of Mayflower Congregational Church in Oklahoma City. She has presided over the same-sex “marriage” ceremonies of more than 100 couples.|
|Rev. Doug Serven is the pastor of City Presbyterian Church in Oklahoma City. He is one of many progressive Presbyterians siding with those who are mounting an attack on the purity and peace of the church.|
|Rev. Clark Frailey, recipient of last year's OEA Friend of Education Award, is the lead pastor of Coffee Creek Church in Edmond. He recently praised the work of atheists, feminists, LGBTQ activists, and others trying to make sure more children don’t attend Christian schools.|
Monday, April 19, 2021
Wednesday, April 14, 2021
Tuesday, April 13, 2021
Tuesday, April 6, 2021
Friday, April 2, 2021
Thursday, March 25, 2021
Thursday, March 11, 2021
Friday, February 26, 2021
Friday, February 12, 2021
"Although many Americans support the phrase 'black lives matter,' the actual aims of organizations and activists committed to this cause often are far more radical than what Americans hear through the lens of the media," writes Jarrett Stepman.
"It’s deeply important that we know what the agenda truly is. A new book, Black Lives Matter at School, lays out how the entire system of K-12 education in America could be transformed to carry out the agenda of the Black Lives Matter movement."
Tuesday, February 9, 2021
Friday, February 5, 2021
Tuesday, February 2, 2021
Thursday, January 28, 2021
Tuesday, January 26, 2021
Friday, January 22, 2021
|Joe Biden and OEA president Alicia Priest|
[Guest post by Jonathan Small]
Joe Biden’s inauguration means Democrats now hold narrow control of Congress and the presidency. But it does not mean advocates for freedom have no way to impact policy.
Even when the far-left holds power in Washington, the states remain the place where innovative policy advances are most likely to occur. That should prompt advocates for freedom to redouble their efforts here in Oklahoma.
This would be true at the start of any presidential term, but it’s especially important this year as the disruption created by COVID-19 and the gaping flaws it exposed in our state systems have created public demand for change.
For example, the lack of consistent, quality, in-person instruction in public schools has fueled strong demand for parent choice in education. That will bolster Oklahomans’ influence in urging lawmakers to offer all parents a “ticket out.” Whether a parent wants a new option because their child’s geographically assigned school is little more than a supplier of ultra-“woke” indoctrination, isn’t sufficiently academically preparing kids, or because it will not reopen due to teacher union opposition, all parents deserve options.
The path to reclaiming power at the federal government lies in proving the superiority of your ideas at the levels of government you do control. That means advocates for freedom who are worried about what happens in Washington, D.C., need to be just as concerned about what’s happening “under the dome” in Oklahoma City.
Thursday, January 21, 2021
Wednesday, January 20, 2021
Saturday, January 16, 2021
Friday, January 15, 2021
[Guest post by Jonathan Small]
Status-quo defenders insist waste, fraud, and mismanagement in state government are overhyped. Then how do they explain Oklahoma schools being paid to educate more than 55,000 “ghost students”?
Ghost-student funding has been in place for years, but COVID-19 has put it on steroids.
Oklahoma law distributes state funding based on several factors, one of which is “the highest weighted average daily membership for the school district of the two (2) preceding school years.”
Put in plain English, that means a school can be paid for students who attended two years ago but are no longer there. Thus, even amidst a significant enrollment decline, districts receive huge sums for “teaching” nonexistent “ghost” students.
This funding farce is now too big to ignore. Due to COVID-19 and several districts’ refusal to provide full-time, in-person instruction, there has been a mass exodus to alternatives, including credible online providers such as Epic, other districts, private schools, and homeschooling.
Newly released enrollment figures show Oklahoma schools can now claim more than 55,000 ghost students this year via the use of old enrollment numbers. If ghost students were confined to a single school district, it would be larger than any brick-and-mortar district in Oklahoma—by far.
The financial consequences of ghost-student funding are not minor. The state-aid figure for 2021 is $3,533.17 per student, so those 55,000-plus ghost students translate into at least $195.1 million in misallocated funding.
Just 22 districts account for more than 55 percent of ghost students. Oklahoma City has nearly 6,800 ghost students while Tulsa has 3,291. Those ghost-student payments are on top of money both districts receive for other students who have not received full-time, in-person instruction this year. Because of that poor service, the share of high-school students flunking at least one class in Oklahoma City has surged to 59 percent, and the failure rate in other districts has doubled or tripled, according to KWTV.
Ghost-student funding particularly harms rural schools that have remained open. Those schools have been teaching children, and often steer clear of the political indoctrination seen elsewhere, yet they are being shorted financially for doing their job as other school officials play political games.
One reason school leaders in urban areas have been so indifferent to the needs of families is that ghost-student funding shields them from the full financial consequences of their shutdown decisions.
Schools need to be held accountable for performance. Tying funding to current-year enrollment can be part of that process, although the best reform would be to let tax funding follow the child and empower parents to independently pick any school, whether public or private.
Those of us in the private sector don’t get paid unless we provide promised goods or services to customers. There’s no reason schools should be any different.
Saturday, January 9, 2021
Consider the dangerous rules adopted by the Democrat leadership of the U.S. House of Representatives. Under those rules, House legislation will no longer refer to a father, mother, son, daughter, brother, sister, nephew, niece, husband, wife, etc. Instead, legislation will use phrases such as parent, child, sibling, parent-in-law, and child-in-law.
The new House rules even ban the use of the words “himself or herself” and instead mandate that “themself” will be used instead.
Democrats don’t want to “risk” referring to someone as male who wants to be referred to as female, regardless of biological reality. In fact, U.S. House Democrats and some Oklahoma Democrats are trying to force boys and men in girls’ bathrooms and males in girls’ sports.
To her credit, Oklahoma Congressman Stephanie Bice, a mother of two girls who represents Oklahoma’s 5th Congressional District, saw right through the scheme and voted against this insane rule.
But don’t think this danger is confined to D.C. Indeed, Democrats in the Oklahoma House of Representatives tried a similar scheme this week and tried to bring a version of Pelosi’s rules to Oklahoma.
Where does such dangerous, anti-science, and destructive thinking start? It starts in big unions like the Oklahoma Education Association, which opposed Congressman Bice, endorsed far-left Democrat Kendra Horn as well as team Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, and is proliferated in urban K-12 public schools and “higher-education.”
The assault on uplifting American values and our kids must be stopped. The best way to stop it is to give parents and students a lifeline out of environments that are trying to force socialist, anti-American views overtly and subversively on our kids.
Oklahoma Republican lawmakers can and should address this threat in this year's legislative session. They can do this by giving parents control over where their kids are required to go to school.
Lawmakers can give any parent who wants it the option to change their child’s school to the public or private school of their choice by letting their tax dollars assigned for their child’s education follow the child to the school of the parent’s choice. We allow this kind of choice and parental control in many other government programs. It’s time for that to apply in K-12.
If we want to stop the spread of anti-American and anti-Oklahoma values in Oklahoma by the socialists in D.C., if we want to prevent rural Oklahoma from having to subsidize and be negatively impacted by the indoctrinating insanity going on in public education in Oklahoma City and Tulsa, it’s time to give control to parents and to Kamala-proof Oklahoma.