Wednesday, July 3, 2013

REAC3H For the Sky Taxpayer!

As I mentioned in my last blog on the June Oklahoma State School Board Meeting where we were not allowed to speak against Common Core, though there were several items on the agenda that fell under that topic, there was a presentation on REAC3H coaching in our state.

According to the Oklahoma State Department of Education website, REAC3H stands for

Regional Educators Advancing College, Career, and Citizenship readiness Higher

In fact, the SDE has an entire page on the website devoted to REAC3H.  You can find that here.   

It’s like a one stop shop of all the programs the SDE has developed, under the leadership of Dr. Barresi, to promote all Race to the Top programs for which Oklahoma never received money.  Yes, you will find Common Core (also called alternatively C3 Standards, or Oklahoma Standards or OC3 Standards – since Common Core is getting a black eye across the country, it doesn’t hurt to change the name and camouflage the problem) there as well as Teacher Leader Effectiveness.

My main concern, after the June Board meeting became the discussion on the agenda of REAC3H Competitive Grants.

Oklahoma has already adopted the Common Core State Standards for not only English/LA and Math, but also Science and Social Studies.  This is troubling because Dr. Barresi has told gatherings of people numerous times that Oklahoma would NOT adopt the Common Core for either Science or Social Studies. 

Beyond that, however, now that Oklahoma will have to train teachers and produce materials to satisfy FOUR sets of standards without any prior study on the cost of ANY of the Common Core initiative to the state of Oklahoma, why create a COMPETITIVE grant to give taxpayer money to private organizations and institutions? 

New to the budget this year is an item for Teach for America, a program that places teachers in high-risk schools to help improve performance among minorities and students in poverty. Also new is a $2.8 million competitive grant program to provide funding to private sector groups that have previously been awarded educational funds and to others that apply.

Yes, we are giving state tax dollars to PRIVATE SECTOR GROUPS.  Yes, we are making these groups vie for tax dollars when we're not even sure the cost to taxpayers of any of the C3 'reforms'.

Please note the vast discrepancy in the amounts; 

Great Expectations           $1,050,00
OK A+ Schools                   $275,000
Science Fair:  ECU                $50,000

As Doctor Barresi promised, we’re spending MORE money on public education than ever before - but wait - I don't seem to remember Dr. Barresi running a campaign based on spending more tax payer dollars on public education.  Oh well, just a minor hiccup I guess.

Don’t forget.  The State House did NOT approve the line item budget for the State Department, indicating lack of support for the SDE's education agenda.    

Maybe many of our Representatives had the same thought as I; Is there a reason we need to give Oklahoma taxpayer money to private third parties when what happens directly between a pupil and a teacher will impact that student more than any other outside source?

Maybe we need to STOP this convoluted C3 program and get back to basics of taxpayer funding of IN CLASSROOM spending to give those closest to the students the tools they need to make the difference they can.