Tag Archives: Oklahoma

It's Official, 2015 is the New "Year of Educational Choice"

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but 2015 is almost over. And boy, what a year it has been. We finally saw a successful reauthorization of No Child Left Behind, waved goodbye as our policy friend Ben DeGrow carried the reform torch to Michigan (where he’ll be needing all the warm torches he can get), and watched as yours truly turned into a slightly snarkier six-year-old. But we can—and will—do a full rundown of 2015’s adventures later. For now, I want to focus on what the year meant for our nation in terms of educational choice. In short, it meant an awful lot. Earlier this year, I wondered whether 2011’s “Year of School Choice” might see a repeat in 2015. As it turns out, history did repeat (and even beat) itself; 2011’s educational choice gains were eclipsed by massive leaps forward across the nation in 2015.  Fifteen states adopted 21 new or expanded educational choice programs this year, compared to 13 states in 2011. That, my friends, is a whole lotta choice.

Read More...

Hoping Not to See More of the Same from Boulder, Teachers Union

It doesn’t seem that long ago the school year was winding down, and up in Boulder many teachers were calling in sick as a form of protest: sort of a collective temper tantrum. Now students and parents in the district may wonder what’s coming next. As the Boulder Daily Camera and Denver Post have both reported, 94 percent of Boulder Valley Education Association members (or about 75 percent of all Boulder Valley teachers) have voted to reject a contract offer that included across-the-board 1 percent bonuses but no permanent pay raise. Hey, I might vote against it, too — but for different reasons, I can assure you.

Read More...

Universal Preschool Promises Like Harold Hill's Shiny New Trombones

I was never really big into the whole preschool thing. My parents decided not to enroll me anywhere before kindergarten. So maybe I’m biased a little bit, but the piece “Does Universal Preschool Improve Learning? Lessons from Georgia and Oklahoma” by Lindsey Burke of the Heritage Foundation really shoots holes in many of the arguments for expanding early childhood education. Apparently, the idea that universal preschool gives kids an accelerated start into improved learning just doesn’t bear out on any large scale. Especially when you look at the Sooner State (and I think you ought to look at it sooner rather than later): More than a decade after offering students uni­versal preschool, neither Oklahoma nor Georgia has shown impressive progress in students’ academic achievement, as measured by the National Assess­ment of Educational Progress. In fact, in Oklahoma, fourth-grade reading test scores have declined since 1998 when the state first implemented universal preschool. Say what? Well, I guess you shouldn’t be too surprised — if you’ve been following what I say for any length of time. Like several months ago, when I pointed out what the brilliant Krista Kafer said about the overblown promises of government preschool pushers. They may not […]

Read More...

Keeping Effective Teachers? Colorado Would Grade Better on the Curve

An absolutely vital key to successful education is high-quality instruction. So how well is Colorado doing in keeping effective teachers on the job in classrooms like mine? (Answer below) On a new iVoices podcast, you can listen to Sandi Jacobs – vice president of the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) – talk with my Education Policy Center friend Ben DeGrow about her group’s new State Teacher Policy Yearbook and where Colorado fits in: To dig more in depth, go take a look at NCTQ’s Colorado report (PDF).

Read More...

Center for Education Reform Grades the Candidates for U.S. Senate

Is the election almost over yet? All the scary political attack ads are giving me bad dreams, and I can’t believe how gullible some politicians are to think they can buy my vote by promising me all sorts of goodies. President whatz-his-name wants to take money from someone else and give it to me. Congressman so-and-so says he’s going to make my life better. Such-and-such amendment on the ballot has to pass “for the children.” (Then again, I wonder if they realize they’re trying to buy the vote of a 5-year-old, but I digress….) Puh-lease. My parents don’t even treat me like that. Anyway, in the meantime, if you haven’t voted and you care about school choice and accountability, the Center for Education Reform (CER) has graded candidates for U.S. Senate across the country, based on their support of the D.C. school choice program, federal funds to start up innovative charter schools, and the No Child Left Behind Act. A possible 3 points for each issue makes 9 a perfect score. In Colorado, Republican Bob Schaffer received a 6 out of 9. His scores are perfect on school choice and charter schools. However, he opposed the final version of No […]

Read More...

Oklahomans Give Thumbs Up to School Choice – What Would Colorado Say?

The Friedman Foundation is one of the biggest supporters of school choice for parents in the U.S. Lately they have been going from state to state asking people their views about education. Their most recent stop is Oklahoma. Some of the findings were quite telling: Nearly two out of three Oklahomans are content with current levels of public school funding. A large majority of voters (64 percent) say Oklahoma’s level of public school funding is either “too high” or “about right.” At least 67 percent of the poll’s respondents underestimate the state’s actual per-pupil funding, which suggests that the funding satisfaction level is probably a conservative figure. More than four out of five Oklahomans would prefer to send their child to a school other than a regular public school—only 17 percent say a regular public school is their top choice….< Oklahoma voters value private schools—they are more than twice as likely to prefer sending their child to a private school over any other school type. When asked “what type of school would you select in order to obtain the best education for your child?” 41 percent of respondents selected private schools…. Interestingly, these results are largely consistent with the findings […]

Read More...