Saturday, August 23, 2014

News Media Complicit With Ed 'Reformers'


I have come to believe all educational policy today is created on the scale of cognitive dissonance.  For example, it never ceases to amaze me that our Governor has said - in no uncertain terms in an Executive Order - that Oklahoma's education should not be federally controlled, yet we go constantly to the feds for money in order to support our spending habits.  

It's not just education policy however, that is full of this psychological theory.  The news media is tasked - ostensibly - with REPORTING news.  Note that report does not mean, "create", "stylize", "censor" - yet, the typical news media of today is doing exactly that, in every area of our lives.  

Take KOCO-TV, for example.  Monday, they added to their website this article, "Oklahoma Seeks Federal Waiver Over Common Core Repeal".  First of all, the title is completely wrong.  We did not seek a waiver because of Common Core's repeal.  Second of all, our state department of education has applied for an EXTENSION of our CURRENT NCLB Waiver, asking the feds to tweak a few of our 'assurances'.  Nothing more, nothing less.

Did ROPE want them to do that?  Of course not.  We prefer to let the waiver go, like the other states across the nation that have or simply didn't apply.

Yet this isn't the point.  The point is that I posted a very cogent, reasoned, retort to this ridiculous post, only to see KOCO censure it from the page.  How's that for excellence in journalism?  Here is the post I made that was censored.  What do you think?  Was there a reason for this to be kept from public view?
This article is very one sided I fear. While the education 'establishment' has an opinion on this topic, so do parents and non-union teacher associations. It seems odd that none of these were contacted for your piece. So that readers know:States were offered "Waivers" so the Obama administration didn't have to reauthorize No Child Left Behind - or, Heaven forbid, repeal the law and leave education to the states. The Waivers were provided to states to prevent them from being fined part of their federally granted education money if 100% of all children were NOT "proficient" (a score somewhere around what we think of as 'passing') in English and Math. It was supposed to provide 'flexibility' from the original law. Here's what most don't know. We had to:1. Adopt College and Career Ready standards aka Common Core2. Create a state longitudinal database to collect personal student information3. Create a grading system for teachers, and4. Adopt a policy for 'turning around" failing schools - this includes several options, one in which the state takes over the school for the districtThese are all the same 'assurances' we had to take to get State Fiscal Stabilization Funds (which Governor Brad Henry did) and for Race to the Top money (for which Oklahoma applied but didn't win). Seems odd, don't you think?Hmmmm...so we were forced to adopt all these things - costing our state 10's of thousands and thousands of dollars by the way - to keep from getting fined a percent of a percent of all our federal dollars? That sounds like a good plan? Really?In fact:* States lose no money if they lose the waiver, they only lose the ability to DIRECT 20% of Title 1 funds, which, in Oklahoma amounts to 0.5% of the total budget• $5,250,065,70◦ total funding for K-12 education; local, state and federal sources• $646,625,448◦ total federal education funds; 12.3% of total education funding• $148,119,558 ◦ total federal Title I funds; 22.9% of total federal education funding• $27,198,000◦ SDE estimate of the amount of federal Title 1 funds that would be required to be set aside for supplemental education services should the state lose its NCLB waiver; ◦ approximately 20% of federal Title I funds (20% is actually $29,623,912) 0.5% of total education funding* States do not get MORE federal government intervention with the loss of the waiver, it's simply a different kind of government intervention - telling the state how to spend a whopping total 0.5% of a FIVE BILLION dollar budget.You might consider researching this topic a bit more before reporting further on the subject...just a thought. You can find more information here: http://restoreoklahomapubliceducation.blogspot.com/2012/01/esea-reauthorizationdoes-it-even-matter.html