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Four Quick Thoughts

June 29, 2012

Yesterday’s State Board of Education meeting had little public drama. It was long, and they did spend a lot of time in closed session. I was able to keep up with the meeting from Oklahoma Watchdog via Twitter. After digesting notes from various sources, I have four quick thoughts.

1. At least they didn’t publish more students’ names. The agenda listed students by case number as should have happened all along. Even though the SDE continues defending the previous practice, doing things differently now must mean something. And I wonder if this has anything to do with the change in legal counsel for the department.

2. I’d hate to be a student whose appeal came up one vote short, knowing that one board member was absent. There’s no way of knowing if that would’ve turned the tide, but you have to wonder. With 72 appeals left to be heard, we can only hope that this is as important to board members as it is to the students.

3. For some reason, the SDE decided to withhold the names of the five companies bidding on state testing. They recommended the contract be awarded to “Company A.” The documentation provided lists the prices of the contract, but not the names of the vendors. Note: it is permissible to publish the names of multi-national corporations to which you are awarding multi-million dollar contracts.

4. Bids for training for TLE came in at roughly $4.6 million. The SDE has a budget of $1.5 million. They say they negotiated the cost down to $1.7 million, but since they don’t have the money to fill that gap, they’re releasing funds to schools to use on training as they see fit. My problem is this: will the vendors make training available to schools at the $4.6 million rate or the $1.7 million rate? That will be worth watching.

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  1. Judith
    June 29, 2012 at 8:19 pm

    The change in general counsel is because the outgoing counsel accepted a new job and begins on Monday. A thank you email to her was sent to the staff. This doesn’t happen in those cases where a person is arbitrarily “walked out.”

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