Blue Serials Special Edition (12/30/15)
2016 Is Upon Us
That means different things to different people, but I'm personally quite the fan of New Years - not so much for the 'Eve' part, with the late night desperation to stay awake despite those horrible people on TV and awful fake-live bands - but for the 'New' part, with the hope and change and trying not to suck quite so much.
Well, that and the sense you've survived yet another year of this weird life.
But whatever else 2016 will bring, it means yet another tough year for public education in Oklahoma. Many of our elected leaders openly despise us. A number openly revile book learnin' in general, while others cater to an ignorant, fearful constituency. Some may be well-intentioned, but lack understanding or political power. I don't know their hearts (I mean, not ALL of them), but I know the results.
The results suck for #oklaed.
And yet, other than a vigorous sign-carrying from time to time, far too many of us don't get politically involved. We don't pay attention to the details of the legislation that affects us or the representatives who - supposedly - represent us in OKC. I get it - it's time-consuming, confusing, and depressing. We're busy with our own kids, our own classrooms, our own problems, and that stuff seems so far away. It's not like we can DO anything about it, right?
But there are something like 45,000 teachers in Oklahoma. Assuming many of us are married, or have adult children, maybe adult siblings in other professions in the state, or even, like, friends - that should mean an easy 100,000+ voters anytime something important is up for consideration. Know how many people voted in the last statewide election? Just a tad over 800,000.
With a little agitating, we can have actual impact on this puppy. You know, for the children. (And for your personal stress levels as well, of course. But mostly for the children.)
With that in mind, I'm compiling this Blue Cereal Guide to Major #OklaEd Issues (seriously, I tried to come up with a catchier title), starting with this post. It will eventually have it's own page on this site, and will be updated right up until November 8, 2016 with news and commentary related to #OklaEd. I'll also begin posting Legislator Profiles beginning in January - focusing, of course, on their record in regards to public education.
Should be good times.
Feel free to contribute. If it looks important, and I don't include it, maybe I just missed it.
#OKElections16 Essentials - If You Haven't Been Paying Close Attention So Far, That's OK. You Can Start Here.
You Should Read ALL Of Them, But Posts Marked By *** Are THE Most Essential IMHO.
Oklahoma Education Funding:
ABCs of School Finance (Guest Post: Lori Smith)*** - Lori Smith, Oklahoma Policy Institute (1/12/15)
Report Shows Oklahoma Still Leads In Education Cuts - Nate Robson, Oklahoma Watch (12/9/15)
Study: Oklahoma maintains streak of deepest state-aid cuts to schools since '08 recession - Andrea Eger, The Tulsa World (12/10/15). You can subscribe, if you wish. It's easy.
New Report: Oklahoma's education funding per student drops even more - Gene Perry, Oklahoma Policy Insititute (12/10/15)
Topic of education spending heating up ahead of budget talks, legislative session - Andrea Eger, The Tulsa World (12/14/15). I subscribe. So should you.
Statement: Budget emergency won't be solved by doubling down on cuts - Gene Perry, Oklahoma Policy Institute (12/15/15)
Economist: More flexibility needed in teacher salaries for retention in state - Andrea Eger, The Tulsa World (12/17/15). How is ANYONE not subscribed to this paper?!
State Revenue Failure: A Three Percent Opportunity*** - OKEducationTruths (12/23/15) - Education $$, State Tax Policy
State Revenue Failure Formally Declared; 3 Percent Cut Imposed - Randy Krehbiel, The Tulsa World (12/24/15) - If you don't subscribe, you should start. Seriously.
Local schools' state aid payments will have to be adjusted twice because of state budget crisis - Andrea Eger, The Tulsa World (12/24/15) - Did I mention that any supporter of #OklaEd should subscribe?
Vouchers / ESA:
'School choice' is a popular phrase, but do Oklahomans want vouchers? - Steve Lewis, Oklahoma Policy Institute (12/4/15)
School vouchers debated at Jenks legislative luncheon - Nour Habib, The Tulsa World (12/5/15). I love Habib & Eger. I seriously do. Yay them.
State Standards / Testing / A-F / TLE / Etc.:
State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister: A-F school grade card release is matter of compliance - Andrea Eger, The Tulsa World (10/22/15). When you subscribe, make sure you tell them...
Tulsa Superintendent Deborah Gist calls A-F grades a bureaucratic exercise with 'unfortunate consequences' - Andrea Eger, The Tulsa World (10/22/15). ...that you're doing it for Eger's & Habib's education coverage.
Nearly 70 percent of Tulsa schools get failing grades as A-F criticism continues - Andrea Eger & Nour Habib, The Tulsa World (10/23/15)
Same foundation that helped OK implement A-F school report cards now involved in system's revision - Andrea Eger, The Tulsa World (12/17/15). Best subscription I ever, um... subscribed to.
Ideas for revising A-F school grade cards, addressing teacher shortage discussed at state education board meeting - Andrea Eger, The Tulsa World (12/18/15). If you're not a subscriber, there's time to fix that.
Four-Day School Week?
Four-day school weeks: districts weighing benefits, but Hofmeister says it's bad for kids - Andrea Eger & Nour Habib, The Tulsa World (11/23/15). You know what I'm going to say, don't you?
Teacher Shortage (Usually Wrapped Into Each of the Above As Well)
Emergency teaching certificates 'will likely approach 1,000' for year, Joy Hofmeister says - Andrea Eger, The Tulsa World (10/23/15)
Joy Hofmeister, Deborah Gist talk statewide teacher shortage at Tulsa luncheon - Andrea Eger, The Tulsa World (12/4/15). Sub. Scribe.
Oklahoma's teacher shortage is not just about salaries (Guest Post: John Lepine)*** - John Lepine, Oklahoma Policy Institute (12/14/15)
ESSA (Federal Education Legislation & It's Impact on #OklaEd):
What the end of the No Child Left Behind Act could mean for Oklahoma - Andrea Eger, The Tulsa World (12/6/15)
Senate gives final approval to sweeping rewrite of education law; next step the White House - Associated Press/The Tulsa World (12/9/15)