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The McCarville Report
Category archives for: Education

Hofmeister Gains Standards Committee Seat

State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister wants a standards committee created by the Legislature to be subject to the open meetings law, she told the State Board of Education today.
Sources say an ally of former superintendent Janet Barresi, Amy Ford, is chairwoman of the standards committee. Hofmeister, however, managed to get herself appointed to  the committee as well in a move approved the board.
There are three state board members on the standards committee, and board member Bill Price stepped down so that Hofmeister could replace him.
Had she tried to attend, there would have four state board members present and constituted a violation of the meetings act.

See the related story: http://mccarvillereport.com/archives/26387


Lankford Votes For Keystone XL Pipeline

Senator James Lankford released the following statement in support of Senate passage of the Keystone XL pipeline by a 62-36 vote:

“The Keystone XL pipeline infrastructure project would infuse billions of dollars into our economy and it would support thousands of good-paying American jobs, all in an environmentally responsible way. The delay of this project has been far too long. Building a pipeline should not take an act of Congress. The Administration has blocked the pipeline for six years saying they are ‘studying’ the route. No other administration in history, of either party, has ever held up a private construction project like this Administration.”


Barresi Spent $1.3 Million

Former Schools Superintendent Janet Barresi spent $1.3 million on her losing reelection campaign: http://www.tulsaworld.com/news/2014_elections/janet-barresi-tops-list-of-political-donors-in-oklahoma/article_40afba5f-9bef-51c8-9409-a6479fc6d2c5.html


Board Of Education OKs Hofmeister Budget

The State Board of  Education today approved Schools Superintendent Joy Hofmeister’s proposed budget: http://www.tulsaworld.com/news/education/state-superintendent-joy-hofmeister-offers-revised-education-budget-at-first/article_17fc4df5-c095-54e1-a875-30f28e2f7018.html


For Some Tulsa Teachers, Travel Equals The Good Life

educationThis report from the Education Action Group says some Tulsa teachers have enjoyed expensive hotel rooms and amenities while traveling: http://eagnews.org/tulsa-school-employees-stay-in-swanky-hotels-while-teachers-get-pink-slips/


Hofmeister Proposes 5-year Teacher Pay Hike Plan

hofmeister2Department of Education

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister today unveiled a proposed five-year plan to elevate teacher pay to the regional average and the number of days of instruction to the national average.

The pn ultimately would provide Oklahoma teachers with a $5,000 pay increase over 2012-13 figures and add five days of instruction to the school year after five years.

Dubbed #OKhigh5, the proposal would cost $150 million its initial year, which represents the bulk of the requested $205 million budget increase to the Oklahoma State Board of Education for Fiscal Year 2016.

Hofmeister said higher teacher pay is a critical part of resolving a significant teacher shortage. According to the Oklahoma State School Boards Association, there are close to 1,000 teacher positions needing to be filled statewide.

 “It’s no secret that Oklahoma teachers are woefully underpaid and classrooms are overcrowded,” Hofmeister said. “Schools are understaffed. A combination of low teacher pay and declining job satisfaction is driving teachers out of the profession or to other states. If we want higher student outcomes, we need to ensure we attract and retain top talent in Oklahoma classrooms.”

The proposal would provide a $2,000 pay raise and two additional days of instruction for the 2015-16 school year. Pay would increase annually until the 2019-20 school year, when Oklahoma’s average teacher salary would be $49,677 — more than $5,300 over the state’s average teacher pay from 2012-13.

Only two states — Mississippi and South Dakota — have lower average teacher pay than Oklahoma, where the average is $44,128. That is $3,248 less than the average annual teacher pay in surrounding states.

“Oklahoma teachers do an incredible job on behalf of our schoolchildren, and they need and deserve competitive compensation. I look forward to working with the Legislature and the Governor in realizing our mutual goal of showing our teachers how much we value them,” said Hofmeister.

For more information on the proposed budget, click here. (#OKhigh5 information on pages 6-8)


Loveless: Seeking Better Answers

lovelessSenator Kyle Loveless

Last March, approximately 25,000 teachers and parents from around the state rallied for education at the state Capitol. The overwhelming majority of those voices were asking for more funding for public education.

With 51 cents of every appropriated dollar funding education, we as lawmakers must look for out-of-the-box approaches to better fund classroom instruction, while ensuring other core functions of government remain stable.

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That’s why I introduced Senate Bill 15. This bill would require the administrative functions of a school district with an average daily attendance of fewer than 250 students be combined with a contiguous school district upon the retirement or resignation of the current superintendent. Senate Bill 15 would affect about 130 school districts across the state. Those same districts spend more than $7.4 million in superintendent salaries alone; which averages to approximately $360 per student.
Those funds could go directly to increase teacher pay, keeping quality teachers from going to another field or to attract better, new teachers from leaving the state. We can do all that without closing one school, if we have the political will.
Simply put, this proposal’s goal is to reduce the burden of administrative costs so smaller districts can free up more money for instructional and classroom services. We need to focus on educating our kids, not paying bureaucrats who average close to $100,000 a year while teacher pay remains stagnate.
This proposal alone won’t fix our schools but it is a start to modernizing our current system. Oklahoma pays nearly $50 million a year to administrators for salaries and benefits. If we can divert some of that money back to the students, then I see that as a step in the right direction.
I understand the importance of local school districts and their impact on the fabric of our state. Local schools are the heart of our communities and that will never change. This proposal would not close any school or facility, but would help ensure they have more resources to give our students the best education possible.
Oklahoma deserves better than relying on the way things have been done for more than 100 years, we must strive for the best course of action, even if it is a difficult one.
If we avoid doing something significant now to reduce administrative overhead, with supermajorities in the legislative branch and control of the governor’s mansion, we will have squandered an opportunity that took decades to accomplish and don’t deserve to speak about running government like a business ever again.
We must all work together to create a responsible, long-term plan to fix our education system, and I hope Senate Bill 15 will be the beginning of that process.
Gov. Mary Fallin said in her inaugural address that education is an all-hands-on-deck emergency, let’s do what we can to turn the tide and make the education of our children something we can be as proud of as our football teams.

Hofmeister Taps Education Veteran For Top DOE Post

millerA longtime educator from the Oklahoma City metro is the first person hired to a Cabinet-level leadership position in the Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE) under state Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister.

Hofmeister today announced Robyn Miller, Ed.D, will oversee policy research and development, as well as teacher quality initiatives. An official title will be determined after a new leadership structure for the OSDE is finalized in February.

Dr. Miller comes to the OSDE from Oklahoma Christian University in Edmond, where she served as chair of the School of Education since 2007.

In addition to her work advising future teachers, Miller has volunteered her time to serve Oklahoma students. She was appointed by Gov. Mary Fallin to the commission for the Office of Educational Quality and Accountability (OEQA), a merging of the Oklahoma Commission for Teacher Preparation and the Office of Accountability. On the commission, Miller represented higher education teacher preparation in setting cut scores on tests and other education-related matters.

“I am excited and grateful that Dr. Miller will be joining my leadership team. Her keen intellect, breadth of experience and commitment to education make her a tremendous asset. As both a teacher and a researcher, Robyn brings a unique, much-needed perspective to the challenges of public education,” Hofmeister said.

Her sentiments were echoed by Oklahoma Christian University President John deSteiguer.

“Dr. Robyn Miller believes in the power and importance of education, and her years as chair for Oklahoma Christian University’s School of Education have prepared her well for her new role under our new state schools superintendent, Joy Hofmeister,” he said. “Robyn’s leadership at Oklahoma Christian has ensured modern, relevant and effective programs for our education students, preparing them for success as teachers. While we will miss her, I am confident her talent and expertise will lend great support at our state’s Department of Education, preparing young Oklahomans for college and careers.”

Miller has a doctorate in curriculum and education with an emphasis in diversity from Oklahoma State University, as well as a master’s degree from the University of Central Oklahoma and a bachelor’s degree from Oklahoma Christian University.

She taught 11th and 12th grade English language arts at Edmond Memorial High school from 1985 to 1995 before launching a 20-year career as a professor in Oklahoma Christian’s School of Education.

“My entire professional career has been in education, and I am thrilled to embrace a new challenge where I can serve the state of Oklahoma,” Miller said.

Miller also was a trustee for the Edmond Public Schools Foundation from 2011 to 2014.

She is married to Frederick (Kris) Miller, and they have three children, ages 26, 22 and 15.


Henke: Parents Hold Power In Student Testing Debate

henke

Rep. Katie Henke of Tulsa says parents hold the power in the student testing debate:
http://www.tulsaworld.com/news/education/parents-hold-power-in-high-stakes-testing-debate-state-rep/article_c6a47fa4-81ea-5468-adf9-074447d45040.html


Hofmeister has fired two more key members of Janet Barresi’s leadership team

The Oklahoman reports, “New state schools Superintendent Joy Hofmeister has fired two more key members of Janet Barresi’s leadership team, bringing to six the number of state Education Department executives and staff she has terminated since taking office Jan. 12.

A spokesman for Hofmeister on Tuesday confirmed the departure of Lisa Chandler, director of assessments, and Jeff Downs, executive director of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

Also terminated was Liz Young, Barresi’s executive assistant, according to spokesman Phil Bacharach. Hofmeister has declined to comment on the personnel moves. It is also unknown how Hofmeister plans to fill the vacancies.


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