A-F Grading - Exchanging One Educational Overreach for Another

Moving into 2017 it looks as though our Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE) will not attempt to find the "pro-local-control" the Education and Workforce Committee promised of the new ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act - the replacement for No Child Left Behind - in itself a replacement for the reauthorizations of the 1965 Elementary and Secondary Education Act by every preceding president).


BREAKING NEWS: Oklahoma Representative Kevin Calvey Requests Resignation from Superintendent Hofmeister

Earlier today, I received a letter released to the press by Representative Kevin Calvey (R-82) requesting State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Joy Hofmeister, resign. Here is the text of the letter (which apparently made the Washington Times):


Questions: Drain the swamp? Betsy DeVos? Where do parents come in?

Dear President-Elect Trump,

It's November 24th, and though I run a small farm and am up early every day anyway, I'm up this morning - not readying myself to make Thanksgiving dinner - but writing to you about my frustration over your pick for US Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos.


We Don't Need Your Corporatist Or Progressive Education - The MIDDLE'S Here To Play!

Joy Pullmann at the Federalist wrote a GREAT piece today on why Michelle Rhee should NOT be named as theSecretary of EducationI loved it so much, I'm doubling down on it. 

No, neither Rhee nor anyone else of her 'ilk' should be appointed as head of DOE. 

In case you don't know - or are somehow new to education policy (or heck - just governance in the United States) - there is no middle ground. NONE. Yes, there is supposed to be a gradient of governance that tends to rest somewhere near the middle of the ideological spectrum (ideally) in EVERY area over our lives the government has usurped, yet - particularly in education - what you really have is this: 


Teacher Caucus - Oklahomans For Public Education - Link To Hofmeister Debacle - VOTE NO On OPE-Endorsed Candidates? (PART 2)

Joy Hofmeister and OPE Administrator Angela Little at
the Hofmeister watch party November 2014

Early this year, much media fanfare (Tulsa World, NewsOK, Oklahoma Watch) welcomed a new political action committee (PAC) - one started by Oklahoma teachers and parents specifically to advance public education.  It arose from a Facebook group, Oklahoma Parents and Educators for Public Education (OPEPE), and was called Oklahomans for Public Education (OPE).

Vote No on 779 Because Dark Money Funders CCOSA/OEA Use Education/Teacher Funds For Politics Instead of Raises - PART 1

I spent my entire morning reading both the Affidavit for Search Warrant for Chad Alexander's cell phones (following his 2014 Controlled Dangerous Substance possession charge in May of 2014 - which led to the current charges against State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister and others) and all 32 pages of the Affidavit Of Probable Cause including the charges, the background, the investigation - all the way through to the summary.  I suggest you do as well.  It is very enlightening. 


Homeschooling - Is It A Practice Accessible To Everyone?

Just yesterday, my article on homeschool co-ops was published in the Federalist (Homeschoolers Invent The Most Daring Ways To Educate Kids).  I hope you'll read it if for no other reason than to check out my interview with Mrs. Sam Sorbo - wife of Kevin Sorbo (God's Not Dead) - and read her explain why homeschooling is the right choice for their family of five.


Public School Proponent Believes State Enforced Volunteer Service Is the Right Route For Students

Recently ​I saw an article in EdWeek called, "The Case For Universal National Service.  Reading it made my blood boil to the point I became incensed.   
This state, once so constant at the offense of Common Core, is now a rarity truthfully.  In fact, I have pretty much given up attempting to turn the Titanic that has become Public Education after fighting the public education establishment and the layers upon layers of bureaucracy that serve as government.  It simply isn't a tenable objective anymore when combined with the ignorance of the majority of those living in our country today (much of it deliberate) as to even the functions of our state and federal government, let alone what it means to actually live in a Republic. 


I Disagree - Public Education is NOT For Sale Worldwide

Just recently, Diane Ravitch penned an article for US News and World Report in which she claims that "Worldwide, Public Education is For Sale".  Unfortunately, I could agree with none of it.  Here's what I thought after finishing the piece...


Again, What Is and Isn't The Responsibility of the Public School?

It has seemed to me lately that much of America has gone to Hell in a hand basket, thus the news from EdWeek today didn't actually help my state of mind.

Two articles appeared today in my daily inbox notifications; Ethics Education; A National Imperative and Election 2016 Is a Real Civics Lesson for Students (Video). 


OSDE Applies For Waiver For Untestable Standards In The New OAS


Though not included in their department email press releases for the week, the Oklahoma State Department of Education, under the direction of Superintendent Joy Hofmeister, have filed a waiver with the United States Department of Education (USDE) to absolve her department from having to follow at least one section of the new Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), for now.


A Chronology Of The Oklahoma Academic Standards Review Process

This last week has been an exciting one in the life of the Oklahoma Academic Standards (OAS).  Here's what you need to know.

Lies and Truths About ROPE and the Oklahoma Academic Standards

ROPE can be demonized for commenting on the new Oklahoma Academic Standards but that doesn't change the fact that national experts and Oklahoma reviewers have commented that the standards need fixing.  This fact is contained in reviews on the OSDE website for all to read.  If legislators, the Governor, and the education community choose to ignore the identified "fixes" to the standards that make them better BEFORE they're implemented, it seems reasonable then, not to complain if falling student performance follows.

Many comments have been made to our Reclaim Oklahoma Parent Empowerment Facebook page (and elsewhere across the internet) since we came out with a report containing the problems identified by at least 13 reviewers of the new Oklahoma Academic Standards from the first draft to the fourth and followed that with a report detailing at least 7 ways in which the new standards violated HB3399 (the Common Core repeal bill).  Unfortunately, many of these are blatant untruths perpetuated on social media.  In order to set the record straight and educate interested individuals, the following information is provided.


Ways In Which Oklahoma's New Standards (OAS) Do Not Conform To CC Repeal Law

or Save Our Standards Part 2

After studying the Oklahoma Academic Standards (OAS) reviews posted on the Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE) website, I produced a document that listed the consistent issues brought up by reviewers over the course of the four draft standards documents produced by the OAS writing teams.

There were 13 separate standards reviewers outside the OSDE that contributed reviews posted to the OSDE website.**  These are as follows:


Repealing Common Core Means Nothing If Oklahoma’s New Academic Standards Are Not Better than Common Core

Restore Oklahoma Public Education (now Reclaim Oklahoma Parent Empowerment) concluded a near five year odyssey dedicated to the task of repealing the Common Core State Standards in our state, when the ink from Governor Fallin’s pen dried on HB3399 in June 2014.  

As directed by the bill, the Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE) was to immediately begin the process of creating new educational standards for English/Language Arts and Mathematics to replace the Common Core Standards adopted by the Oklahoma State Board of Education as directed by SB2033 in 2010The final drafts of the new standards were to be completed by the OSDE in August of 2016 with copies presented to the Oklahoma legislature prior to the February start of that year’s legislative session.


There Is No Dana, Only Zuul - #GoOpen Open Source Initiative Will Make Every Kid The Same - Again

By Jenni White, Education Director, ROPE2.0

Wow. I honestly know why so many of my Common Core counterparts in so many states - awesome women who put their housekeeping/childcare hats on first thing in the morning and after putting the kids to bed in the evening, donned their 'outstanding researcher' hat - have quit fighting for public education. There is no winning the battle.

ESA's And Dissenting Public Educators - Do You Talk To Your Students With That Mouth?

By Jenni White, Education Director, ROPE2.0

Though we've not spent time addressing it yet this session, the Education Savings Account bill (HB2949) authored by Nelson (et. al) has already made it's way through the House Education Committee where it passed by one single vote.

ROPE has always supported ESA's. We simply believe in the ability of parents to direct the education of their children and we'll continue to maintain that stance in the face of all the vitriolic nonsense public school proponents will dish out (I'll get to that in a second).

Money and Education - It's Not Going Where You Think It's Going

By Lynn Habluetzel with Jenni White

Along with budget cuts, the appropriated budget hole for Fiscal Year 2017 is now expected to be $1.3 billion, squarely placing the BUDGET front and center with agencies coming to the realization their budgets will actually be cut this year.  I can imagine this comes as a shock when every year they have asked for increases and every year they have received it, creating a certain amount of disbelief cuts will actually happen.


Letter To Oklahoma Representatives Regarding the Final Draft of Oklahoma's New Academic Standards

Dear Representative, 

This session the Oklahoma legislature will undertake the job of approving Oklahoma's new educational standards. 

We are very excited about this prospect because we see it as a chance for our state to rise above the national rhetoric regarding Common Core repeal and the standards re-write process. Oklahoma has a chance here to shine unlike any other at this moment in time. This is why it is so important to make sure our standards are the very best possible.

It's Vitally Important That Oklahoma Get The Standards Re-Write Process Right - Other States Are Watching

Thursday, January 28th, the final draft of Oklahoma's new academic standards were published on the OSDE website and approved by the State Board of Education. We described our thoughts about the process in a press release, but I wanted to take a few more minutes to expound upon that statement.

Once the Common Core State Standards were repealed from law by HB3399 and the direction of the process for creating new standards was revealed, we have tried our best to stay informed about the proceedings and inform you.


Oklahoma State Board of Education Approves Final Draft of New (Non-Common Core) Educational Standards

Unfortunately, ROPE has a good deal of skepticism regarding the new Oklahoma Educational standards approved by the Board of Education today. Let me be clear here, the new standards were approved by the board just today, so none of us (at ROPE) would have had the opportunity to review them at this point. 

It is important to note, however, that while the OSDE press release contained comments in support for the standards from many quarters, none of these were attributed to the experts that were invited by the Standards Steering Committee last February to consult on the standards writing process.


I Fear For The Future - And I'm Not Alone

Just recently, a topic of discussion on a national list-serve of which I'm a member, turned to "project-based learning". I HATE PBL, which is essentially a way for the type 'A' personalities to show their stuff and the laziest students to hide behind their work. 

Project-Based Learning (PBL) has a very long history that goes all the way back to John Dewey - a Marxist Progressive Constructivist - who believed that children learn best by 'doing'. He developed this idea back on his rural Vermont farm watching kids do their chores (I often wonder if he was in fact simply observing because he wasn't interested in 'doing' himself...).