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New Year’s Resolution

January 1, 2013

As many people do, I have personal and professional goals for 2013. Similar to most, I’d like to improve my health, advance my career, and relax more. I’d like to give my family everything they ever wanted. I’d like to be a better friend.

For the blog, I have but one resolution: to continue fighting for what I believe. Specifically, I believe that public education – and the students and professionals within it – deserve better. Better respect. Better funding. And better policy.

I am an unabashed supporter of public education. That isn’t to say I hug the status quo like a puppy. I actually like change. I like high standards. I like teachers and administrators who set high expectations for all children.

I just don’t like mindless reform.

These are the core beliefs that shape the way I write this blog:

  1. I believe that public education is the best tool our nation has to remain competitive in the global markets and keep our country secure.
  2. I believe that public education in Oklahoma has never been adequately funded.
  3. I believe that the realized cost savings from a blanket school consolidation plan would prove minimal compared to the myriad unintended consequences.
  4. I believe parents are the best advocates for public education.
  5. I believe that schools are as safe a place for children as any other public space.
  6. I believe that the benefits of standards-based reforms are often offset by the ensuing pressure to limit the breadth of school curriculum.
  7. I believe that math is just about as important as reading.
  8. I believe that high-stakes testing is a detriment to all subjects that aren’t math and reading.
  9. I believe that students can develop critical thinking skills and become effective writers through study of both literature and informational text.
  10. I believe the imbalance of literature and informational text in the Common Core State Standards should concern parents as well as educators.
  11. I believe that all children should benefit from the exploration that comes from studying art, music, and world languages.
  12. I believe that students in high-poverty schools endure excessive remediation and interference from state and federal agencies that constrict the learning experience.
  13. I believe that most teachers and administrators are underpaid for the jobs they do.
  14. I believe that teacher preparation programs at the state colleges and universities get a bad rap.
  15. I believe that this state is among the worst at supporting meaningful professional development for teachers and administrators.
  16. I believe that local school boards know more about the needs of their students than anybody working in the State Department of Education, the legislature, or the governor’s office.
  17. I believe that the teacher you leave your child with knows more about what’s best for your child than any of the politicians listed above.
  18. I believe that charter schools play by different rules than other public schools.
  19. I believe that the state should continue to prohibit the use of public funds by private schools.
  20. I believe state and federal testing requirements should permit schools to follow the IEPs of special education students.
  21. I believe the one good thing about the LNH Scholarship is that parents of special education students can place their children in schools that don’t have high-stakes testing.
  22. I believe that the majority education reforms beginning with No Child Left Behind have been designed to funnel money into the hands of private companies which are then not held accountable for their performance.
  23. I believe that technology is a great tool in education – when used by teachers rather than in place of them.
  24. I believe that any school focused on raising its A-F Report Card grade rather than helping each and every student succeed is committing professional malpractice.
  25. I believe that using test scores to evaluate teachers is a combination of bad math and intellectual fraud.

When the Oklahoman, various think tanks, and this state’s leaders continue attacking public education, and when I respond to them, I’ll keep these principles – and anything else I may have missed – in mind.

I expect 2013 to be wild. Happy New Year, everybody!

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  1. Jason Midkiff
    January 1, 2013 at 3:11 pm

    Very good article. Can’t think of one of your points that I disagree with. I promise to continue the fight this year with you. I hope we are successful.

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