One Two Three, What Are We Voting For?

After spending nearly a decade heavily involved in politics, it's quite a departure for me to admit I can't name all the candidates running for Lt. Governor off the top of my head. I'll be honest...I'm not even sure I can name all 27 - or however many - gubernatorial candidates.

Sadly, I'm not dying about it. Why? I'm still plugged in enough to know who to go to for voting advice and I still READ. Yes, it's true! There are actually things you can READ to get information enough to make informed voting decisions!


What On Earth Could Be Wrong With Student Activism?

Though it definitely frustrated me to see teachers leave their classrooms and picket the legislature for more taxpayer funding of public education - shutting down some schools for as many as two full weeks - the level of activism displayed by high school students on this issue bothered me more.


Parent Guest Post: What I Learned From The 2018 Teacher's Strike

Attribution: ABC news

This post was sent to me by "Elizabeth":

I have never thought of myself as any kind of activist. I have never marched in protest or in support of anything that I can remember. It isn’t that I don’t have opinions – I definitely have them. There are often facets to issues or politics that I don’t understand or, more likely, haven’t taken the time to research.

But my blood pressure rose when I received a text from my teen after returning to school following the Oklahoma teacher strike.

“Our teacher just had us write a paper on our feelings about the walk-out!”


Can A School Force Your Child To Take State Tests?

Today I received a communication from a ROPE reader. She told me she had received a letter from her Assistant Principal in response to her request to opt her child/children out of state testing. The letter said, in part:
As guided by the Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE), indicating laws and rules set by our legislature, we are required to assess all enrolled students who are present on scheduled test days. In fact, "Because of these statutory and rule requirements, there is no "opt-out" option offered through the OSDE. In addition, 70 OS Section 5-117 states that local school boards of education do not have the authority to take actions inconsistent with state law or rules that have been adopted by the State Board of Education."
That sounds very official. Even a bit scary. 


IMMEDIATE ACTION NEEDED - Help Stop Wind Tax Credits And Put That Money Back Into The Budget For Education And Other Needs

While some are asking where money can be found to fund core government needs in Oklahoma, one simple answer is ending corporate welfare to the Corporate Wind Industry! If we don't do something truly meaningful this session, another $70 million dollars is going to LITERALLY be "Gone with the Wind" when it could have, instead, gone to meet other state needs.

OEA Makes Oklahoma Public Education Funding A Moving Target With No End In Sight

Photo from NewsOK story: also pictured, Randy Weingarten and Ed Allen

As the teacher's walkout in Oklahoma continues into its second week for many schools in the state, the questions which really need to be asked at this point are "Why?" and "What exactly do teachers want?"



The Public Education Funding Mess Is The Fault Of EVERY Citizen - So How Do We Fix It?

Since the beginning of this legislative session here in Oklahoma, teachers have been demanding raises. In March, the Oklahoma legislature passed an unprecedented tax to fund teacher raises and other educational needs, raising oil and gas production taxes to 5%, adding a $1 increase per pack on cigarettes, 6 cents on diesel/3 cents gas increases and a $5 tax on hotel motel tax (later repealed). While public education advocates celebrated, taxpayers fretted - and they have good reason to do so.


Tyranny Of The Feels: How The Democratic Process is Stifled By Personal Attacks and Threats

As Oklahoma approaches the THIRD day of teacher walkouts across the state, many citizens are finding it’s not so much the actual walkout – although this itself is hard on parents and students so close to the end of the year – it’s the behavior of some of the participants that’s most distressing.
This morning I talked to a legislative assistant I know. I asked her how things were going for her at the Capitol and she told me that her legislator’s office was constantly packed with people and that the noise in the halls was deafening. She said her time was often interrupted by chanting breaking out in the hall.

“A group of teachers came into the office behind a group who was being loud and obnoxious,” she said. “As they walked in, a woman from the group behind leaned over and whispered to me, “We’re not with them”.
I feel for the teachers who don’t really want to be at the capitol – or who want to be there to learn – or because they feel it’s their duty to support their school. It has to be more than a bit frustrating to be lumped together with people for whom the whole experience is an activism exercise.   


Public School Technology Costs Are Measured In More Than Millions Of Dollars

This morning I read an Op-Ed in the Norman Transcript written by several parents of Norman High School students - anonymously.
I want you to read the letter, but I want to make several points about this letter:


Money VS Results and The Socialist Nature of Public Schools

Recently, I posted a comment on our ROPE Facebook page about the socialist nature of public school. It was in response to another comment made by someone who disagreed with an earlier post (incidentally, I wish ALL dissenters could be as polite as this commenter - we've had a great time talking back and forth and even found things to agree on over the course of numerous exchanges).
As we were talking about the district of Glenpool - whose superintendent was able to save money to give all teachers a $1,000 bonus by cutting some services such as cleaning services - we had a lively discussion about teachers being asked to help clean their school.


Dirty Little Education Secrets Part 5: Teacher and Administrators Engage In Politics Using Taxpayer Funds


Dirty Little Education Secrets Part 4: Teacher And Administrator Bullies

Former University of Missouri Professor Melissa Click fired after
refusing to allow a campus journalist access to a campus demonstration
Bing images
When I began teaching in the Oklahoma public education system, I was finishing my thesis, taking coursework to get my Alternative Certification and teaching part time at Deer Creek Public Schools outside Edmond. My daughter (I was a single mother at the time) and I lived on about $12K that year after taxes. It wasn’t easy, but my mother had been a public school English teacher for decades, my grandfather had been a law professor and my father was beginning his career as a Journalism professor. Not only is teaching a career path in my family, but I really enjoyed it, and as a TA in the Biology Department at the University of Central Oklahoma, I regularly had overflowing sessions for my Microbiology study review, so I conceived I might be ok at it.


Dirty Little Education Secrets Part 3: Administrative and Programming Costs Suck HUGE Amounts From Common Ed Budget

Since teachers have begun to petition taxpayers and the state government for a raise, and since the taxpayers rejected the Step-Up planning proposal including tax increases to fund public education was soundly rejected by legislators, myself and others have been calling for an audit of the OSDE prior to an increased fund allotment to public education.

After reviewing the OSDE budget request for 2018 - and others - two things simply cannot escape the attention of a thinking, taxpaying public



Fact Checking the OEA Meme Campaign To Force Teacher Pay Raises


Because the OEA has spent significant time and taxpayer resources (Yes, how else do they get their funds? Teachers pay membership and teachers are paid by taxpayers.) creating this elaborate campaign to convince taxpayers it is necessary to tax the public to create a pay raise for teachers, I thought it might be a good idea just to fact check a few of their memes. Let's take the one above. 

How Do We Know Teachers Need A Raise If We Don't Do Our Homework?

In case you've been under a rock and haven't learned about the West Virginia teachers who have apparently inspired teacher walkouts in Arizona, Kentucky and Oklahoma, I thought it important to make sure anyone who wanted to do more than hear talking points and rhetoric have direct access to OSDE data.

In my next few blogs, I'm going to try and hit some of the talking points pushed by OEA (Oklahoma Education Association - the state arm of the National Teachers Association (NEA) - the UNION pushing the walkout), doing the calculations right in front of you and providing links to check my figures. I want to make sure readers have direct access to some of the more important links I'll be using for fact checking, however, so all this is public.


A Republish Of Our Review Of The First Annual Smart Start Oklahoma Conference from 2011


A Review of the First Annual Smart Start Oklahoma Conference, "Champions for Change" - How Much More than the Already-Allotted Billions of Dollars Per Year Can "Champions" Justify Spending On Unproven Early Childhood Programming In Oklahoma?

Editorial Comments: Though this was nearly 7 years ago now (it was originally posted to our SCRIBD account), while writing about teaching funding for some new blogs, I referenced this piece. It seems unbelievable that Oklahoma continues to spend so much money on preK 'education' when accepted research shows that all kids are basically on the same page academically by 3rd grade whether they attend preK or not. I wanted to move this to our blog where we could reference it. The funding/authorization of the OSPR/Smart Start Board comes from federal law.
Without further ado, the article:

Social Impact Bonds to Fund Pre-School and the Price Tag of Unintended Consequences

 A recent Hechinger Report article covers a new concept for providing revenue streams to various public programs ostensibly without tax increases. Unfortunately, Social Impact Bonds as they are called, are yet another example of how well-meaning individuals and legislators believe they can micromanage all aspects of our lives to make life fair for everyone while soaking the American taxpayer.