The Expect More OK! Coalition is releasing the first video of a series of pro-common core ads today in an effort to urge Oklahoma lawmakers to stand strong in their support of higher learning standards in Oklahoma classrooms.
The announcement comes on the heels of the successful delivery of over 7,000 signatures to the Oklahoma legislature in support of the Common Core State Standards.
“Lawmakers were right to stand up for higher learning standards in 2010 and they shouldn’t back down now,” Brian Hunt, Executive Director of Stand for Children Oklahoma, said. “Politics has no place in Oklahoma classrooms and lawmakers should do what’s right for the children of this state.”
The ads will be released on social media and the web beginning today and are expected to continue at a steady pace in the coming weeks.
The Expect More OK! Coalition for higher standards is a state-led alliance of state leaders, education, business, community, parent and child advocates, all of whom support, clear, consistent and higher academic standards in public education.
Schools Superintendent candidate Joy Hofmeister commented today on Rep. Jason Nelson’s HB 3399, which would allow school districts to delay the implementation of controversial Common Core standards in Oklahoma schools.
“While Rep. Nelson’s bill is a step in the right direction, it ultimately does nothing to give local school districts the authority they should have to determine their own high standards,” the Republican said.
“Delaying Common Core may give districts more time to prepare for the consequences of implementation, but the fact still remains that parents and teachers have no say in the process. I fundamentally believe local school districts and their unique community of parents and teachers should be the ones to decide what their children learn and how they learn it.
“There is no doubt that we need to set high standards for our children, and expect excellence. But forcing one set of standards on schoolchildren from New York to California is not the best way to achieve that. This issue needs to be fixed, not merely delayed.”
Governor Fallin has made the following appointments to several higher education boards.
Carl Albert State College Board of Regents
Belva Barber, of Poteau, is a law partner at Barber & Barber Attorneys at Law. She currently serves as a trustee and as the chair of the Carl Albert State College Development Foundation. Barber previously served as an adjunct professor in business law at Carl Albert State College. She received a bachelor’s degree from Oklahoma State University and a law degree from the University of Tulsa. She is replacing the late Bill Barber and will serve out his term ending in 2015 pending confirmation from the Oklahoma Senate.
Eastern Oklahoma State College Board of Regents
Loise Washington, of McAlester, is the owner of Chameleon Clothing Co. She currently serves as chair of Eastern Oklahoma State College’s board of regents. Washington previously served as the executive coordinator on the McAlester Workforce Development Council. She also served on the Oklahoma Judicial Nominating Commission. Washington received a bachelor’s degree from Oklahoma Wesleyan University. She is being reappointed to the board and will serve a seven-year term pending confirmation from the Oklahoma Senate.
Langston University Board of Trustees
Rita Combs, of Bixby, is the executive director for the Retired Educators for Youth Agricultural Programs. She currently serves on the board of directors for the Oklahoma CareerTech Foundation, Oklahoma Academy for State Goals, Oklahoma Food Policy Council, Oklahoma Landowners and Tenants Association and the Volunteer Center of Central Oklahoma. Combs received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Central Oklahoma. She is being reappointed to the board and will serve a seven-year term pending confirmation from the Oklahoma Senate.
Rose State College Board of Regents
William Croak, of Oklahoma City, is president and CEO of FNB Community Bank in Midwest City. Croak is a member of the Bank Marketing Association, Oklahoma Bankers Association and American Marketing Association. He received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Central Oklahoma and attended OBA Basic Banking School at Oklahoma State University. He is replacing Robert Croak and will serve a seven-year term pending confirmation from the Oklahoma Senate.
University Center of Southern Oklahoma Board of Trustees
Kirk Rodden, of Ardmore, is an assistant professor of government and history at Murray State College. He is currently serving as the chair of the Social Science Department at Murray State. Rodden is being reappointed to the board and will serve a nine-year term pending confirmation from the Oklahoma Senate.
Oklahoma’s education leaders prefer to be wooed by Jeb Bush and the education establishment—liberals who want to “dumb down America’s children” so they will be followers rather than leaders; so our children won’t need to decide on an occupation—the government will direct them where to work; and the government can collect all the data on our children that is needed to control them.
Parents Beware: Your children are in the “good” hands of the US federal government AND the liberal socialist elite educators!! Our own Oklahoma Republicans who are in charge of our children’s education have bought into the whole idea just as Hilliary Clinton and Marc Tucker planned back in 1992! (See letter on www.eagleforum.org) What a shame…and they really could help all Oklahoma children be able to excel and reach for goals and dreams that were once attainable! A sad day for not only Oklahoma, but also for the once Exceptional Nation of America.
ACTION TO TAKE: ASK THAT COMMON CORE BILLS BE HEARD! The following legislators are blocking the bills from being heard. Next week is the last week for Bills to be heard in Committee.
CALL: Sen. John Ford – 405-521-5634 or 405-524-0126 – 2300 N. Lincoln Blvd., Rm. 424A-Oklahoma City, OK 73105- firstname.lastname@example.org – Executive Assistant: Debbie Thurmond – Dist Address: 748 Brookhollow Lane, Bartlesville, OK 74006
CALL: Sen. Brian Bingman –405-521-5528 or 405-524-0126
CALL: Rep. Ann Coody – 405-557-7398 or 405-521-2711 or 1-800-522-8502 (House Switchboard)
CALL: Speaker Jeff Hickman – 405-557-7339 or 405-521-2711
Schools Superintendent Janet Barresi’s announced plan to try to start retaining teachers in has drawn criticism from Joy Hofmeister, who said she agrees with the recommendations, but wonders why Barresi waited until the election year to offer her proposals.
“The first step in solving this crisis is easy: respect our teachers!” Hofmeister said.
“How can someone lead our parents, educators and local school boards if she doesn’t value their ideas and respect them as professionals? There are many problems in education, but in my view, solutions start with respecting parents and teachers. Teachers can see through Barresi’s campaign gimmick, and it is insulting because of the timing of this announcement and the seriousness of our current education climate.”
As the third-grade reading law takes effect this school year, I have been contacted by a number of parents and teachers worried about the possibility that their child or pupil might be retained.
The question often posed to me is: How can we consider holding back a child from moving on to the next grade?
The question I pose to them is: How can we consider promoting a child who can’t read?
We do no favors for students who are passed on to the next grade without their having this most fundamental skill. Reading isn’t just a subject; it is a skill that is the foundation of all learning.
Education experts have noted that being unable to read at an appropriate grade level can lead to an array of other problems. According to the Annie E. Casey Foundation, 88 percent of 19-year-olds who dropped out of high school were unable to read proficiently by third grade. Seventy percent of U.S. prison inmates cannot read above a fourth-grade level.
But research has shown that with enough time on task and the right intervention, 95 percent of children can learn to read on grade level. We owe our students this chance to succeed.
It is important that I clearly communicate two important points. First, this is not one test on one day to determine if a child is promoted. Second, retention is a last resort.
I can’t stress enough that retention, as a requirement of the state law, is absolutely a last resort. Retained students would be limited to only those students who score Unsatisfactory in the reading assessment of the third-grade Oklahoma Core Curriculum Test (OCCT) and who don’t qualify for one of the state’s six good-cause exemptions. If a child demonstrates what typically would be deemed a second-grade reading level or higher on this assessment, the child will be promoted.
A student who scores Unsatisfactory on the state assessment, however, will still have the opportunity to take alternate tests; a teacher can still show a portfolio of the child’s work to demonstrate grade-level performance. There are other good-cause exemptions as well, for English Language Learners, for children on Individualized Education Plans who have been previously retained and others.
Some schools are considering transitional grades for retained students. There is nothing to stop a school from offering a transitional grade earlier than third grade.
In addition, no one, including the parent, should be surprised if a child scores Unsatisfactory. Under the law, schools are required to use benchmark assessments at the beginning of each year for students from kindergarten through third grade to identify children at risk of retention for reading. Schools must implement individualized reading plans for these children, and parents must be notified in writing about the intensive intervention.
To help ensure success for the Reading Sufficiency Act, the Oklahoma State Department of Education is requesting an additional $16 million in funding for the law.
Parents concerned about whether their child might be at risk should contact the child’s teacher.
All too often, a child’s inability to read sentences that youngster to academic struggles, limited opportunity and a lower quality of life. That will not happen on my watch.