May Wrap-Up, and Sorry for the Spam
It’s been a heck of a month. We’ve had the fallout from a failed testing cycle, the end of the legislative session, and a month of tornadoes that have done so much damage that we can’t really focus on anything else. I hope the people in Moore who have lost so much are still in the forefront of your mind; but I hope the people in Newcastle, Shawnee, Bethel Acres, Carney, Little Axe, and everywhere else in the state are in your thoughts too. These communities didn’t all lose schools, but they lost homes. People’s lives and livelihoods are impacted in ways that may not be clear at first glance. While we’re in the spirit of giving, please remember all the people who have been impacted.
Here are the top five posts from May:
- Malfeasance or Nonfeasance? – When the Oklahoman reported that Superintendent Barresi disavowed any responsibility for choosing a testing vendor, I had to ask this question. Does this admission constitute an elected agency head doing her job badly, or not doing her job at all? Those are really the only two options.
- Alert: Funding Priorities and Possible Senate Action – Astute readers know that the size of the education budget is only one dimension we have to consider. The legislature still has not fully restored education funding cuts from the last several years, even though state revenue collections are higher than ever. Compounding this is the fact that very little of the new funding will go into the formula.
- Anticipating a Testy Meeting – Last Tuesday, the SDE held a meeting for district testing coordinators. I heard from a reader that it was in fact testy: It was a little hostile, but enjoyable at the same time. For three hours DTCs were allowed to ask questions and voice concerns. We were told that SDE will have CTB’s contract renewal on the June board agenda and scores will count for A-F. McBee said beacuse it’s a state law and “out of their control.” They told us to contact our legislators because they were the only one who could say the scores are invalid. SDE bashed the WAVE and blamed student data errors on them. Obviously, with the totality of last week’s events, I didn’t feel that griping about testing was really in order. Still, I wish I had given this more attention. School districts are now dealing with the after-effects of a testing program that yields both usable and unusable data. Passing the buck to state law and the limitations of the WAVE doesn’t help DTCs or teachers or students.
- World of Jenks – The SDE has decided to open an investigation of the unusual number of parents opting their children out of field testing. Apparently, they don’t believe that this parent protest happened organically. The SDE’s conflicts with the Tulsa-area schools – Jenks in particular – is a well-documented saga. This comes off as petty, but I’m interested in seeing how the investigation proceeds. My guess is they’ll find nothing untoward and then never comment publicly on it. And that Jenks will not receive any sort of acknowledgement or apology.
- Hit Me – Again, after detailing where the education budget will go, I make the case that it’s just not enough to overcome the successive years of deep cuts that schools have endured. The cumulative impact now is that schools are cutting into the quality of instruction. It’s a disgrace.
After the May 20 tornado, I haven’t written much. I didn’t even pay as close attention as usual to the end of the legislative session. Funding is still inadequate, and the Common Core State Standards are intact, at least until next year’s session. As June approaches, there’s not much that can be done to harm public education, right? Towards the end of the month, as more information becomes available, I’ll begin covering the build-up to Summer Camp 2013 Vision 2020.
In the meantime, find somebody who needs help today. And thank you for reading.
By the way, several readers who not only subscribe to the blog posts but to the comments as well have mentioned to me that more and more spam is getting through the WordPress filters. I’m not sure what to do about that. I don’t really want to limit comments on the blog. And I’m not always in a position to remove unwanted comments. If you have any suggestions, please pass them along.