Twitter Rally For HB1622 And End Of EOI Testing!

This legislative session in Oklahoma, there have been numerous bills to reduce testing. We've written about a number of them. Now, as session draws to a close for this year, all the testing bills that have been passed by the House and Senate committees are being funneled to the floor for votes by the full Senate.

Several bills (707, 784) contain language that points directly to ACT. We have written extensively about why ACT is not an option for Oklahoma currently - mainly because ACT has their own set of standards by which students will be tested, while Oklahoma has barely begun the process of writing our own standards as dictated by last year's Common Core repeal bill (HB3399).  ROPE supports the passage of HB1622 by Representative David Derby, which stops EOI testing, while creating a process by which Oklahoma can design one end of year exam using our own Oklahoma standards. HB1622 passed the House UNANIMOUSLY and is thus supported by an overwhelming majority of Oklahoma State Representatives. There really is no reason not to use this bill over the others still circulating.

As all the testing bills move to the floor of the Senate THIS WEEK, we are asking you to help us campaign for the passage of HB1622.

FIRST: Right click on one or all of the memes in this blog, then save it to your computer.

NEXT: If you are on Facebook, replace your FB image with one of these memes.

NEXT: If you are on Twitter, Tweet out the memes to your Senator (and others if you wish) using the list below (there are House members included there too, so just pick out your Senator). This list may not be comprehensive, so once you have attached your photo to your Tweet, try typing in the name of your Senator (for example, I'd type in Sen, Ron, Sharp, and if I didn't find anything, I'd use variations of that name - Senator Ron Sharp - until I found the right Twitter handle).

NEXT: Use the hashtag, #YESONHB1622 so we can keep count of the number of Tweets sent.

NEXT: Tweet these to your friends to re-Tweet as well.

Feel free to CALL your Senator as well. You can find their numbers here.

Thanks for your help!



"Day of Silence"? What About "Day Of Christian Martyrs"? What About "Day of Geeks or Nerds"?

Today I received an email:
Good Morning Jenni:
I got an email today with regard to the Day of Silence.  My kids attend Moore Public Schools (Brink Jr. High and Eastlake Elem).  I called the elem. school and they had not heard anything about the DOS walk out or anything about the DOS.  I found your website however, the data was from 2010.  Do you have any idea how wide spread the GLSEN was taking this Day of Silence in Oklahoma schools?
I would rather my kids protest than participate at school.
I'm glad this person contacted me. I'd forgotten about the Day of Silence which is being observed in SCHOOLS all over the country THIS Friday, April 17th. Here is their mission statement and history:

GLSENs Day of Silence is a national day of action in which students across the country vow to take a form of silence to call attention to the silencing effect of anti-LGBT bullying and harassment in schools.
Founded in 1996, the Day of Silence has become the largest single student-led action towards creating safer schools for all, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. From the first-ever Day of Silence at the University of Virginia in 1996, to the organizing efforts in over 8,000 middle schools, high schools, colleges and universities across the country in 2008, its textured history reflects its diversity in both numbers and reach.
For the record, no one should bully anyone about anything, but I want to make a few points here.

Since I became aware of the "Day of Silence" five years ago, the website has stopped publicizing participating schools. Why? If this is such a worthwhile endeavor, why not continue to laud those schools taking part? This is somewhat frustrating actually, when you combine this with the fact that Oklahoma schools do not always publicize DOS activities themselves (for whatever reason). This leaves parents in the dark regarding an activity occurring at school with which many parents - as the one whose email I received - would not agree. Parents cannot appropriately direct the lives/educations of their children without adequate information about their environment.

My oldest son was bullied at school. He's not gay, he's just a quiet kid that didn't enjoy hanging out with the 'popular' crowd of kids. Where's the "Non-Cool Kids Day"?

As a Christian, I do not 'support' the GLSEN lifestyle. I try and love all people as Christ has called me to do, but I don't support this activity any more than I would support you drinking yourself to death, cheating on your spouse, defrauding others in business, or engaging in any other form of 'sinful' behavior according to my Bible. So, you may call me a bigot, or the cooler new word, "hater" if you'd like, but realize when you do, you'll be a "hater" yourself for your bigotry of my Christian views. In this vein, I object to the Day of Silence on the grounds that it runs counter to my religious views.

Ok. What does the first amendment to the Constitution say? It says, 
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
Gosh, we're kind of at an impasse here, aren't we then? I am guaranteed the free exercise of my religion, yet you are guaranteed the right to speak freely and/or assemble. It seems we're on the same road going opposite directions, so how do we stop a train wreck? Here's my plan.

Schools that decide it completely appropriate to host a "Day of Silence" must make plans to also host a "Day of Christian Martyrs" where students get to dress up as their favorite Christian martyr while giving speeches about them during passing period and lunch (the same times DOS-affirming students may use their right to 'remain silent'). During that time these students will also feel free to distribute Christian reading material (as the DOS-affirming students are called to do).

But wait, what about the Geeks and Nerds day? Shouldn't we also have a day to call out those who abuse animals on a 'Be Kind To Animals Day'? What about Wicca Day? I hope you're getting my point. This kind of thing could go on and on and on and on....

Schools - particularly those provided by PUBLIC TAX DOLLARS - are for educating young minds in the traditional subjects of reading, writing, arithmetic, etc. Unfortunately, this isn't truly the case anymore. Students are pulled out regularly for special kinds of 'counseling', for this or that event or assembly, for occupational or other therapy - then there are the sports activities and field trips. 

If one looks at the majority of A-F grades for public schools in Oklahoma, we're not making "A's". Could it be because we don't spend enough time studying the "College and Career Ready" subjects already? Could it be there are too many other activities and events taking up time better spent on task in the classroom? As a former teacher, I remember the number of hours we racked up for assemblies, field trips and testing. I remember wondering how I was ever going to impart to my kids all the knowledge they needed to have to graduate 7th grade with all the other 'extracurriculars' - and that was 12 years ago - before class time began getting sucked into the black hole of state and federal mandates.

No, I don't want a "Day of Silence" in our PUBLIC schools - I don't want anything but class time in our public schools. However, if that isn't going to happen, and our PUBLIC schools are going to allow DOS (or any other activity that offends my sensibilities as a Christian) schools must make the opportunity to have activities sharing opposing views. Anything else, is true indoctrination.

FYI: Here's a list of Student Religious Rights from a Christian attorney in the event you might be interested.