For the McCarville Report, this is Reid Mullins reporting. Today, we’re speaking with Ginger Tinney, Executive Director of Professional Oklahoma Educators. There is a bill that has worked its way through the OK Legislature, HB 1749, which would halt automatic payroll deductions by state agencies for employee dues in any “public employee association or organization or professional organization that…collectively bargains on behalf of its membership.” Additionally, there is a rally planned for the capitol on Monday who oppose 1749.
Tinney talks about HB 1749, the PTA rally at the State Capitol, the Senator Kyle Loveless bill that would take a look at spending across the various school districts, and standardized testing in Oklahoma Schools.
Department of Education
The Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE) took swift action today in response to a report that a single school district had incorrectly notified teachers they would receive professional development credit for attending an education rally at the State Capitol.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister said OSDE officials contacted the Cooperative Council for Oklahoma School Administration, the Oklahoma State School Boards Association and the school district in question to make it clear that no teacher can be coerced to attend the March 30 rally.
“As soon as we were alerted, we contacted all appropriate parties, including the school district in question, to state plainly that attendance at the rally in no way counts as professional development,” the superintendent said. “No entity should — or is lawfully able to — pressure attendance at the education rally. It is longstanding practice that attendance at such events are strictly voluntary.”
In a March 27 letter to Hofmeister, state Attorney General Scott Pruitt wrote that his office had received inquiries about a district inaccurately telling teachers that their participation in the rally was mandated professional development.
Oklahoma School Superintendent Joy Hofmeister’s plan to raise teacher pay in order to bring Oklahoma in line with the national average is strongly supported by Oklahoma likely voters, according to the most recent SoonerPoll.com Quarterly Poll.
The proposal, which would be phased in over five years, would add five paid days of instruction to the school’s academic calendar and increase teachers’ pay $5,000 across the board.
Among likely voters, 63.8 percent strongly supported the superintendent’s proposal, while another 22.4 percent somewhat supported it. Only 10.1 percent opposed the proposal.
“Polling over the last few years has shown Oklahomans support teachers getting an increase in pay,” said Bill Shapard, CEO of SoonerPoll. “This particular proposal seems to have caught the interest of voters.”
Support was high across all political party lines, all parts of the state, political ideology, and both men and women of all ages.
Among conservatives, who account for more than 50 percent of the electorate, 68.1 percent of “somewhat conservatives” and 53.4 percent of “very conservatives” strongly supported the proposal. Moderates, who make up about one-third of all likely voters, strongly supported the proposal with 67.2 percent.
Republicans strongly supported the proposal with 60.2 percent and another 22.5 percent somewhat supported it, resulting in a combined support of 82.7 percent among Republicans. Democrat combined support totaled 90.5 percent.
All parts of the state strongly supported the proposal as well. Likely voters in the Tulsa metro area led with 72.2 percent strongly supporting and a combined support of 93.4 percent. Oklahoma City area voters strongly supported the proposal with 68.7 percent and rural voters with 57.0 percent.
Also of interest was the strong support among those age 55 or older, who make up nearly two-thirds of the electorate and are less likely to have school age children. Sixty-five percent of those age 65 or older strongly supported the teacher pay raise proposal, with 66.7 percent of those age 55-64 also strongly supporting it.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister has selected Oklahoma Army National Guard Lt. Col. (Ret) Lance Nelson to serve as chief of staff for the Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE).
Nelson, whose Army National Guard retirement takes effect April 1, brings more than 30 years of leadership experience to his new post.
Serving in Iraq with the 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, Nelson managed and executed a $93 million budget for the Iraq Government. He also developed a cost analysis that, in turn, saved the U.S. government $72 million per year. In his most recent role as Antiterrorism and Force Protection Officer, Nelson analyzed potential threats and ensured the protection of 34 facilities and more than 7,000 soldiers and their families across the state.
Hofmeister said Nelson’s leadership and organizational skills are critical in strengthening OSDE’s effectiveness as a service-oriented agency.
“Lt. Col. Nelson is exactly what the Oklahoma State Department of Education needs,” she said. “He has recruited, organized and trained thousands of military personnel. He has managed and executed multimillion dollar budgets. Lance’s stalwart leadership and professionalism will be instrumental in elevating OSDE to a higher standard of excellence.”
Nelson, who began OSDE on Monday, said he is eager to take on the challenges of this new chapter.
“I am very excited to have an opportunity to continue my service to the great State of Oklahoma. I cannot think of a more important task than serving on Superintendent Hofmeister’s team and being able to share her passion and determination toward education and the future leaders of Oklahoma.”
Nelson has a master’s of business administration from American Military University. He and his wife, Jacquelyn, live in Stillwater. They have three children, ages 20, 18 and 13. The youngest two currently attend Stillwater Public Schools.
Schools Superintendent Joy Hofmeister
Writing in the Tulsa World
When parents, school leaders and educators across the state gather at the State Capitol on Monday to rally for education, the teacher shortage and over-testing are certain to be front and center topics.
(Hofmeister and members of the Board of Education are at odds: http://www.tulsaworld.com/news/education/conflict-between-board-of-education-members-superintendent-joy-hofmeister-erupts/article_621744c9-0bec-5a43-92f7-c975d3b6cb4e.html#.VRUjnR_mNAY.twitter )
While I share these frustrations, I also believe a brighter future is ahead. I commend Gov. Mary Fallin and state legislators for advances they have made in recent years on behalf of Oklahoma schools, and now it’s time to take that additional step.
Since taking office in January, as state superintendent of public instruction, I have been determined to eliminate over-testing. A tremendous step toward that goal can be achieved with legislation that replaces seven end-of-instruction exams — EOIs — with a test that matters for Oklahoma students beyond satisfying a state or federal mandate. Senate Bill 707 by Senate Education Committee chairman John Ford is a common-sense remedy.
Under the Achieving Classroom Excellence law, students must take seven EOI exams as part of high school graduation requirements. SB 707 could potentially reduce that number to one suite of assessments.
Instead of requiring EOIs that neither colleges nor career technology centers use for admissions, just imagine if Oklahoma required the ACT, which actually measures college- and career-readiness.
Currently, our teachers are forced to spend countless hours preparing students for EOI assessments that have no shelf life outside of high school. Let’s consider a state testing system in which our graduates are held accountable to tests actually used by colleges and CareerTech institutions.
Oklahoma is already officially designated an ACT state by the State Regents for Higher Education. In fact, 75 percent of our students already take the ACT. Let’s pave the way to allow all high school students to take it instead of spending millions of dollars on EOI tests that give students “permission to forget” because tests are spaced out over the course of years.
Replacing EOIs with the ACT would require sustained mastery of content with ACT’s 55-year-old, research-proven measurement for college- and career-readiness.
EOIs cost Oklahomans $7 million a year, while the ACT could meet both state and federal testing requirements for only $2.5 million annually. As part of a multiple measure approach, a sliding grade point average could be used along with the four content subject tests of ACT.
Money budgeted for EOI test-prep and test remediation could be targeted toward ACT instead. In addition, students would benefit individually as scholarship opportunities increase with rising ACT scores. Also, the WorkKeys test is part of the ACT family and already used by CareerTech centers.
Perhaps most importantly, using the ACT suite of assessments allows parents and schools to begin building a plan to improve the trajectory for weaker students long before graduation.
ACT is comparable across states, and cut scores can’t be manipulated to satisfy political considerations. ACT adds value for students.
In a year with a $611 million budget gap, we cannot afford to experiment or spend dollars on tests just to satisfy old mandates. Replacing EOIs with the ACT is the right move for our children and for our state, and SB 707 is a step in that direction.
Joy Hofmeister is Oklahoma superintendent of public instruction.
Mar 27 2015 | Posted in Education
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The leaders of the associations representing school administrators and suburban school districts offered comments regarding the recent passage of HB 1749 by the State Senate.
HB 1749, if signed into law, would prohibit public schools from offering voluntary payroll deductions to Oklahoma teachers to pay for membership dues in their professional associations.
“HB 1749 is a solution desperately seeking a problem. We agree with Senator Shortey that HB 1749 is ‘a poke in the eye’ of Oklahoma’s public school teachers. HB 1749 represents government overreach into the private and constitutionally protected decisions of public school teachers to affiliate with a professional association. HB 1749 is unnecessary in Oklahoma because we are a right to work state, and while certain groups may organize to represent the interests of their members, Oklahoma employers are never subject to the threat of strikes or organized walkouts.”
“Oklahoma teachers are hard-working, dedicated public servants who deserve our respect and support. HB 1749 is likely unconstitutional and, if signed into law, could expose our state to lawsuits that waste limited taxpayer resources. We ask that Governor Fallin veto HB 1749 and continue to work with parents and educators to address the real problems impacting student achievement; such as having a quality teacher for every student and realizing common sense testing for all students.”
Legislation aimed at eliminating payroll deductions for state teachers passed in the Senate today by a vote of 28-16, essentially blocking educators from paying their dues to the organizations that collectively bargains on their behalf directly out of their paychecks. Senator Ralph Shortey, R-Oklahoma City, voted no on HB 1749, calling the measure unfair to teachers.
“I’m disappointed that my party supported HB 1749, as it sends a disparaging message to our state educators,” said Shortey. “Oklahoma is facing a $600 million budget hole and teachers are likely to going to be asked to go yet another year or more without raises or adjustments. I refuse to support legislation that puts yet another hurdle in place for them to jump. They have one of the most challenging jobs in the world and to deny only their group the right to pay for their membership in the organization that is looking out for their best interests is just unacceptable.”
The bill does not exclude collective bargaining, but would prohibit teachers from choosing to have their union dues deducted directly from their paychecks. Other public employees like police and firefighters would not be affected by this legislation.
“If this bill ended all state payroll deductions, that would be have been a much more logical approach,” said Shortey. “However, as it stands now, HB 179 targets only teachers and basically punishes them for choosing to pay dues to the organization that benefits their professional interests. If we’re not going to eliminate similar payroll deduction options for other groups that participate in similar collective bargaining organizations, then we shouldn’t be blocking teachers from choosing to spend their hard-earned money as they see fit.”
Shortey says it’s not the state’s place to stipulate how a teacher chooses to spend their money, and as state lawmakers, it is unacceptable to treat one organization like teachers differently than any other.
“As I’ve said previously, I’d much rather put my arm around a teacher and tell them they’re doing a great job instead of poking them in the eye with more restrictions on how they choose to spend their salary,” said Shortey.
The Cooperative Council for Oklahoma School Administration (CCOSA) today announced the appointment of Ryan Owens as the next Executive Director of CCOSA.
Owens, current CCOSA General Counsel and Executive Director of the United Suburban Schools Association, will assume his duties as Co-Executive Director of CCOSA on July 1, 2015. Owens will succeed Steven Crawford who announced in January of 2015 his intentions to retire effective June 30, 2016.
Owens is a former assistant to Congressman Tom Cole and managed Cole’s 2008 campaign.
“Oklahoma’s education leaders work hard every day to ensure that students have great teachers and an equal opportunity to succeed. It is an honor beyond measure to have the trust of these professionals and to serve as their voice and advocate; advancing policies and professional development that will provide all Oklahoma children with the best possible education,” Owens said.
Current Executive Director Steven Crawford offered the following remarks, “Ryan is an outstanding young man with tremendous knowledge of CCOSA operations. He has proven himself to be a leader on educational issues and state-level public school programs. I look forward to working with Mr. Owens during the transition period.”
“Ryan has proven himself an effective leader dedicated to making sure schools and administrators are equipped and empowered to meet the needs of every child,” said Shawn Hime, Executive Director of the Oklahoma State School Boards Association. “He is a passionate and respected voice for public education at the Capitol, and I look forward to continuing OSSBA’s partnership with CCOSA under his leadership.”
Schools Superintendent Joy Hofmeister said, “I know Ryan will be a visionary leader as executive director of CCOSA and will work tirelessly to build school leadership and higher student achievement. Steven Crawford’s successor has big shoes to fill, but Ryan Owens is more than up to the task. He has a keen intellect, drive and commitment to education that will serve him well. I count Ryan as a friend and colleague who is committed to moving our state’s education system forward.”
The Cooperative Council for Oklahoma School Administration is an incorporated, not for profit organization which establishes close and continuous communication and cooperation between educators, taxpayers, and legislators to improve the effectiveness of professional school administrators and to communicate the needs of Oklahoma schools. The Council is the umbrella organization for five professional associations: the Oklahoma Association of Elementary School Principals, the Oklahoma Middle Level Educators Association, the Oklahoma Association of Secondary School Principals, the Oklahoma Directors of Special Services, and the Oklahoma Association of School Administrators.
About Ryan Owens
Ryan Owens is from Marietta, OK. After graduating from high school in 2002, Ryan went on to graduate with honors from Southeastern Oklahoma State University in Durant, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in Organizational and Strategic Communication. In 2008 Ryan graduated from the University of Oklahoma College of Law, earning a Juris Doctor degree with distinction.
From 2006 to 2008, he served in the Office of U.S. Congressman Tom Cole as a field representative and then served as Congressman Cole’s campaign manager during the 2008 election cycle.
He joined the staff of the Cooperative Council for Oklahoma School Administration (CCOSA) in December 2008 as the association’s first full-time staff attorney and government affairs specialist. Since that time, he has worked with elected and appointed officials at the State Capitol to influence the outcome of major education initiatives such as: passage of the new teacher-leader evaluation system, establishment of probationary promotion teams within the Reading Sufficiency Act, and the creation of an appeal process for students denied a diploma as a result of the Achieving Classroom Excellence Initiative.
In February of 2012 he was named Interim Executive Director of the United Suburban Schools Association (USSA), and in June of 2012 he was appointed as the permanent Executive Director of USSA.
He currently serves as the Chair of the Oklahoma Education Coalition and works as an adjunct professor in the colleges of education at Southern Nazarene University and the University of Oklahoma at Tulsa. He is currently pursuing the courses necessary to earn building principal and superintendent certification in Oklahoma.
Mar 25 2015 | Posted in Education
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