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Posts Tagged ‘Testing’

A Great Hire

October 24, 2016 1 comment

November 8 can’t get here soon enough.

I know that none of us can wait for Election Day and an end to the shenanigans of the candidates and their surrogates. That’s not what I’m talking about, though.

This:

Dr. Janet Dunlop named OSDE deputy superintendent of assessment, accountability

OKLAHOMA CITY (October 24, 2016) – Dr. Janet Dunlop has been named deputy superintendent of assessment and accountability at the Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE). In her cabinet-level position, she will oversee Oklahoma’s state testing program and school accountability measures. Dunlop will also supervise the transition of school assessments and accountability under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the new federal education law, and House Bill 3218, which eliminated end-of-instruction (EOI) exams and marks the end of a culture of excessive testing in Oklahoma public schools.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister praised Dunlop’s expertise and her commitment to Oklahoma’s public schools.

“I am excited to welcome Janet Dunlop to our department. Dr. Dunlop is a tireless advocate for the academic success of Oklahoma’s schoolchildren and brings an impressive record of experience to the position,” said Hofmeister. “I am confident that her breadth of knowledge and commitment to excellence will prove invaluable.”

Since 2010, Dunlop has served as associate superintendent of instructional services at Broken Arrow Public Schools (BAPS). During her tenure, she facilitated the district’s successful literacy initiative, aligned curriculum for grades PK-12 and oversaw the administration of school site and district-level assessments. Dunlop was also instrumental in crafting the new Oklahoma Academic Standards and was recently named the Oklahoma Assistant Superintendent of the Year by the Cooperative Council for Oklahoma School Administration (CCOSA) and the Oklahoma Association of School Administrators.

Broken Arrow Superintendent Dr. Jarod Mendenhall commended Dunlop for her service to the district.

“Dr. Dunlop played an important role in helping the district develop a revamped vision that focuses on literacy, engagement and graduation for every student,” said Mendenhall. “Her knowledge about curriculum and education is unmatched, but it’s her love for students and people that really makes her special. Although the district is losing an incredible educator, the state is fortunate for gaining such a passionate advocate for public education.”

Dunlop holds a doctorate in education with an emphasis in school administration and curriculum leadership, a master’s in educational leadership and bachelor’s degrees in English education and English from Oklahoma State University (OSU). In addition, she has held the positions of principal and assistant principal at Union Public Schools in Tulsa and adjunct professor of education at OSU. She began her career teaching English and language arts in Sand Springs, Jenks and Berryhill Public Schools.

Dunlop said she is excited to serve Oklahoma public schools in her new position.

“I am honored by the opportunity to serve our State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister and public schools in Oklahoma. With the passage of ESSA, Oklahoma is in a unique position to make choices that will improve the way our schools measure and report student learning,” said Dunlop. “In addition, with hard work, we can provide our students, parents and communities with an accountability system that provides rich and detailed information about school successes and opportunities to support our schools.”

Dunlop is replacing Dr. Kathryn Dunlap, who is retiring.

Dunlop’s first day at OSDE will be November 8.

The feds have given us flexibility to reduce the amount of state testing. So has the Legislature. Having someone well-respected with school district leadership experience helping guide the process will be refreshing.

I’ve known Janet for years. She’s one of the strongest curriculum and instruction leaders I know.

The fact that she starts in her new position on November 8 means we will have at least one good outcome on Election Day.

Less testing. More focused accountability. Light at the end of the tunnel.

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You are not a Test

I have many reasons to be proud to be part of the Mid-Del Public Schools family. We have amazing students and families. We have dedicated teachers and principals. We have a supportive community that includes Tinker Air Force Base and Rose State College. Most of all, we have our priorities in order.

You may have already seen this on Facebook, but in case you haven’t, here’s a letter that a parent of a Ridgecrest Roadrunner posted last night.

Ridgecrest Roadrunners.jpg

We all get hung up on our accomplishments, and to an extent, that’s ok. We should be proud when we do well. When a school raises test scores, I have no problem with the celebrations that follow. As little stock as I place in the A-F report cards, if I were a principal, and my school received an A, I’d hang up a big old banner too.

Still, the second paragraph of this letter to students captures what the best educators among us know to be true:

[The tests] do not know that some of you speak two languages, or that you love to sing or draw. They have not seen your natural talent for dancing. They do not know that your friends count on you to be there for them, that your laughter can brighten the darkest day or that your smile lightens a room….

What I know about the teachers and principal at this school is that they do care about student achievement. They care about getting their students ready for not just the state test, but also for the next grade or the next school. I know that they have a veteran staff and that they rally around students and families in need.

Because tests have high-stakes attached to them, we must take them seriously. One thing we know to be part of our job is to protect children from harm. Artificial consequences attached to assessments that are poor descriptors of learning and ability and worse descriptors of future success fall into this category. We should not gear instruction solely around them, nor should we act as if they don’t exist.

We also should not, as Rob Miller writes, ignore the fact that some most of our students have other priorities.

The folks making six-figure salaries for testing vendors like Pearson, ETS, CTB/McGraw-Hill, and Measured Progress believe that  children OWE them their loyalty by giving their best effort to this annual exercise: “By God, we’ve worked hard to craft these beautiful measures of student learning, the very least you could do is show your appreciation by doing your best.”

This presumption is so strong in their mind that because this is such self-evidently important work, that they cannot imagine anybody not seeing its value.

These folks live in a magical land where every child is loved, comes to school eager to learn, and loves to sit quietly for hours taking multiple choice tests on a laptop, while unicorns frolic with elves in rainbow-laden fields.

Children are smarter than this. They understand the reality that these tests are simply a means to sort, rank, humiliate and punish kids through various forms of public shaming, things like grade retention, denial of a high school diploma, and forced placement in “remediation” classes.

The testing companies say kids should love these swell assessments because they were crafted with their best interests in mind.

Of course, parents and students have to be made to believe this because otherwise, what’s the purpose of it all?

If a student is bored or tired or hungry or distracted or scared or neglected or angry or sad or just doesn’t care or doesn’t see any point or just feels like playing video games or listening to loud music or playing basketball or singing songs or painting a picture or checking out the hot girl two rows over or thinks that high-stakes testing is stupid or prefers to write open-ended answers in the form of rap lyrics or long rambling run-on sentences like this   .   .   .   if that happens, every single piece of precious data derived from these test results, ranging  from A-F report cards, to teacher VAM evaluations, to student growth calculations, to all of it is craptacular crap.

It could just be that our students love to sing and dance or run and play more than they want to test. It could be that they love to read more than they want to suffer through the reading passages selected for them on the tests. Whatever the variable, we just have to understand that when the test scores come back, they may or may not tell us anything useful.

And for that, we pay millions.

Try hard, kids. Do your best. Then go outside and play.

Hair of the Blog

January 1, 2016 2 comments

As with the rest of us, our two biggest state newspapers are waking up resolved to find hope for what 2016 will bring. Take this cheerful outlook from the Tulsa World this morning:

Meanwhile, the state Board of Equalization certified a preliminary general revenue projection for the coming budget year that is $900 million less than the year before.

That’s roughly the equivalent of overall ticket sales so far for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Unless creator George Lucas can spare some change, or the price of oil makes a meteoric climb, the new year isn’t going to feel very new. Rather, it threatens to be a rerun of 2015 with further downsizing of an already shriveling state government.

Those who argue that is not the worst thing that could happen, should say that to the face of a public school student or teacher. Ranking at the bottom of the barrel in per-pupil spending for common education is never acceptable, no matter what the circumstances.

On the promising side, Oklahoma has ridden the energy price roller coaster before and always rebounded eventually.

The last line is my favorite. The editorial board is basically saying, We know we’ll see better days. We always have, right? That’s what I call forward thinking. Surely there’s a unicorn out there somewhere!

Still, as usual, it’s better than what the Oklahoman editorial writers have given us this morning. In their 2016 wish list, they have two Thunder-related items, but just one for education: vouchers.

Education Savings Accounts: Status-quo forces in education often claim Oklahoma students’ academic performance will never improve unless huge spending increases are provided. Yet if parents were given the ability to use their child’s per-pupil allotment, as would be the case with Education Savings Accounts, those officials may be shocked by how quickly improvement occurs. ESAs would allow parents to use a portion of the tax money already dedicated to their child’s education to spend on tutoring, online learning, or private school tuition. It’s time Oklahoma lawmakers provide beneficiaries the same flexibility with education funds that they are provided for other government programs, such as food stamps. One size does not fit all students, and it makes no sense to act as though children will receive a better education if they’re assigned a school based on geographic proximity to one’s house rather than based on a child’s individual needs and parental involvement.

This is where that morning-after blurry-eyed effect hurts me. I’m going to have to go through this one sentence by sentence.

Status-quo forces in education often claim Oklahoma students’ academic performance will never improve unless huge spending increases are provided.

I’m glad to see they didn’t use the trite verbiage Education Establishment. Maybe that’s a sign of a resolution they’ve made. Actually, what those of us who teach students and lead districts illustrate is that huge cuts in state aid have hurt our ability to provide services for students. We point out that the state’s abdication of responsibility vis-à-vis funding public schools at a proper level has made providing teacher raises of any significance impossible. This, combined with mandates that create meaningless work for already over-tasked teachers, has driven quality people out of the profession.

We’re not asking for huge spending increases; rather, we want a reversal of the huge funding cuts that we’ve seen since 2008. Let me just point out that for the 2013-14 school year (the most recent available data), Oklahoma districts received less than half of their funding (48.0%) from the state. The rest came from local and federal sources. This continues a 15 year trend that shows no sign of reversing. Year-by-year, the Legislature has been less committed to funding public education, and more committed to regulating it.

School Year % Funding from the State
2013-14 48.0%
2008-09 52.0%
2003-04 53.4%
1998-99 57.1%

Yet if parents were given the ability to use their child’s per-pupil allotment, as would be the case with Education Savings Accounts, those officials may be shocked by how quickly improvement occurs.

Picture0005Actually, we wouldn’t see any improvement, because the voucher pushers in the Legislature and the newspaper also insist that we shouldn’t hold private schools accountable in any way for student achievement. In other words, they want the money, but not the rules.

As for schools, we just get the rules.

ESAs would allow parents to use a portion of the tax money already dedicated to their child’s education to spend on tutoring, online learning, or private school tuition.

As Alex Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Jason James pointed out a few months ago, a voucher isn’t going to help the poor families get into private schools to the extent that their supporters insist:

The voucher bill currently on the table, SB 609, would provide benefits to a student who “previously was enrolled in the first one hundred (100) days of the prior school year in an Oklahoma public school district.” In other words, students currently enrolled in private schools wouldn’t have access to the voucher – for now. If 609 passes, expect to see a lot of school-flipping.

Another important consideration is that private schools don’t have to accept everybody. And they shouldn’t have to accept everybody. They have a specific mission, which is why parents choose them. Our mission as a state – as a system of public schools – is to educate everybody who shows up. Given that charge, we do a damn good job, no matter what narrative serves the convenience of voucher proponents.

If voucher supporters truly believe that private schools are better education providers, they need to support doing the schools that would accept voucher students committing to two things:

  1. Accepting all students.
  2. Meeting all state and federal mandates.

Otherwise, this isn’t a serious conversation.

It’s time Oklahoma lawmakers provide beneficiaries the same flexibility with education funds that they are provided for other government programs, such as food stamps.

I’m glad the Oklahoman supports flexibility for how people qualifying for public assistance, such as public school employees, spend their benefits. On the other hand, the paper also supports cuts to the food stamps program.

To be clear, food stamps are a benefit for people living in poverty. Vouchers are a benefit for people in the middle class. Those are the students that private schools would accept. Those are the students whose families could make up the difference.

A food stamp recipient can shop anywhere. The merchant will accept the business because it has cash value. A customer spending food stamps is a paying customer, in their eyes.

A voucher recipient will not have these same choices.

It’s just not the same.

One size does not fit all students, and it makes no sense to act as though children will receive a better education if they’re assigned a school based on geographic proximity to one’s house rather than based on a child’s individual needs and parental involvement.

I agree. That’s why thousands of parents have chosen to transfer their students across school district boundaries. It’s also why I oppose many of the mandates that this paper supports.  We could provide more choices within our arguably-publicly funded schools right now, if the Legislature passed a few simple bills.

  • Replace the EOIs with the ACT.
  • Repeal ACE.
  • Cut all tests not required by the feds.
  • Take quantitative measurements out of teacher evaluations.
  • Create an accountability system that focuses less on testing.

Simpsons_24_10_P1We’re the educators. We would love to focus more on meeting each child’s individual needs. We don’t want to spend another minute preparing our most profoundly disabled students for state tests or the portfolios that serve as their proxy. We don’t want to spend another minute slowing down our gifted kids in classes that continue to get bigger while we prepare the masses for poorly-developed state tests.

The upcoming legislative session is critical. I can think of at least three term-limited legislators who would love nothing more than to pass a voucher bill. Doing so would serve as their springboard into some of the statewide races that will be up for grabs in 2018. Every vote for SB 609 – or anything resembling it – is a vote against public schools.

 

All Star Edition of #oklaed #studentsask Chat

October 25, 2015 1 comment

Here are my favorite responses to tonight’s chat questions, all in Twitter form. Since I had the chance to sit with three high school seniors while co-moderating the chat, their reactions are a factor in my choices. Drew Price, I think you were the fan favorite at my table at Starbucks.

chat at Starbucks

Q1 How can schools balance the need for increased security measures with having a welcome climate for students and parents?

Q2 What has your school or district done to make high school schedules align with research on teenage sleep patterns?

Q3 What should schools do to help students use technology more effectively and responsibly?

Q4 How can schools give students more academic choices and autonomy?

Q4b How can schools make electives as important as core classes?

Q5 Should high schools students be asked to select a major or area of academic emphasis?

Q6 What can we do to make teachers feel less rushed and less focused on testing?

Q7 How can schools help students with testing anxiety?

Q8 How can schools hold teachers and coaches accountable for the balance between homework, activities, and life in general?

Q9 Should all students have a career path chosen by the end of high school?  

Q9b What should schools do to help students explore careers?  

Q10 Should schools limit the number of AP classes students take at any one time? Why or why not?

If you want to review the entire chat, it’s up on Storify. Thanks to all who participated!

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10.25.15 #oklaed chat questions

October 25, 2015 1 comment

I hope you can join me tonight for the weekly #oklaed chat from 8:00 to 9:00. I will have three co-moderators: leadership students from each of the high schools in the Mid-Del school district.

We have a group of 24 students – juniors and seniors, eight from each school – who meet monthly to discuss a variety of issues. They are nice enough to invite me to join them, so I’ve spent a couple of days asking them to come up with questions they’d like to ask us.

Here’s where we’re headed tonight:

Q1 How can schools balance the need for increased security measures with having a welcome climate for students and parents? #oklaed

Q2 What has your school or district done to make high school schedules align with research on teenage sleep patterns? #oklaed

Q3 What should schools do to help students use technology more effectively and responsibly? #oklaed

Q4 How can schools give students more academic choices and autonomy? #oklaed

Q4b How can schools make electives as important as core classes? #oklaed

Q5 Should high schools students be asked to select a major or area of academic emphasis? #oklaed

Q6 What can we do to make teachers feel less rushed and less focused on testing? #oklaed

Q7 How can schools help students with testing anxiety? #oklaed

Q8 How can schools hold teachers and coaches accountable for the balance between homework, activities, and life in general? #oklaed

Q9 Should all students have a career path chosen by the end of high school? #oklaed

Q9b What should schools do to help students explore careers? #oklaed

Q10 Should schools limit the number of AP classes students take at any one time? Why or why not? #oklaed

We’ll start promptly at 8:00 with introductions, and begin with the questions at 8:04. About every 5 minutes, we’ll add a new question, but as always, feel free to keep the conversation going on anything that you feel remains unfinished.

And get your own students to participate, if you can. We need to hear their voices too.

See you tonight!

Two Weeks to Go: Will the Legislature Act to Curb the Teacher Shortage?

In January, Kevin Hime, Superintendent of Clinton Public Schools, did everything he could to push the Oklahoma community of education supporters to view the 2015 legislative session through a singular lens:

I have been pushing for #oklaed to have a one issue legislative session.  I believe the only issue we should be discussing until fixed is #teachershortage.  Recently looking at SDE documents I noticed #oklaed employed almost 60k teachers in 2008 and a little more than 52k in 2014.  Mathematically it looks like we should have almost 8K Teachers looking for a job but we started 2015 over 1000 teachers short.  We are setting records for alt certs and emergency certifications every year. Why is my issue so much more important than yours?  What is your issue?

One of the leading conservative minds in Oklahoma has accused us of blowing this issue out of proportion, but these numbers don’t lie. We have fewer teachers and larger classes. Imagine if we had kept all the closed positions open; we’d have several thousand vacancies!

With less than two weeks to go, how are our elected leaders doing? Let’s look at Kevin’s six criteria and assess.

Testing: In a recent survey conducted by our State Superintendent elect, testing was the first issue she needs to address.  How many teachers have left our profession because they feel students are over-tested.  If teachers are indicating in a survey that testing is the #1 issue, how can we fix teacher shortage without correcting our testing problems.

As of late last week, word reached several of us who follow the Legislature that SB 707 is still alive, but barely. Although it appears that a majority of members in both chambers support this legislation, it also appears that a small few in the leadership do not. This is not the time for the few to bully the many. This is the number one issue – even more than pay – decimating our teaching force. Some of the opposition has centered on the ACT, which the bill does not explicitly name as the replacement to the EOIs.  We have to start somewhere with reducing the emphasis on testing in Oklahoma schools. This bill does that.

Teacher Pay: Ask the governor or any legislator how are we going to fix teacher shortage and most will mention teacher pay.  So instead of starting with teacher pay start your discussion with teacher shortage.

I would love to see many changes in the way we compensate teachers in Oklahoma. Starting pay should be better, but veteran pay should be a lot better. The distance between lanes for degrees earned should be widened. And state aid should be solidified through dedicated funding that will not be exhausted in one year. The scheme that has been floated to use money dedicated for teacher retirement fails on both counts. It is not a recurring source of revenue, and it hardly moves the needle. A $1,000 raise for teachers would be appreciated, but it would move us from 48th to 48th in teacher pay. Oh wait, that’s no move at all!

Teacher Evaluations: Does anyone think VAMS, SLOs, SOOs, are any other acronym are good for teacher recruitment and retention.  Without fixing our evaluation system we will continue to struggle with recruitment and retention.

So far, nothing is fixed. We have hit pause on some things, but the terrible quantitative measurements of teacher effectiveness still loom.

Teacher’s Retirement: Just the threat to change scares current teachers.  If they change the system it will have a negative effect in the present climate.  I hate to be against an idea until I know what the idea is but change today when teachers have zero trust for those proposing the change will not help teacher retention and recruitment.

Technically, the legislators haven’t touched teacher retirement yet. Again, though, I should mention that the idea is being tossed around to divert funds for salaries – this one time only. The state treasurer is against it. The Oklahoman is against it. Don’t screw with retirement. Just don’t.

School Funding: Have you looked at Texas, Arkansas, or Kansas school buildings lately.  Recruiting teachers based on facilities if a non-starter for #oklaed. When you are 49th in school funding teachers find another state to work.

Again, we seem to be getting nowhere. During the March rally, many legislators blamed the economy. Others blamed their leadership. Here’s a fun fact: your constituents didn’t vote for the House and Senate leadership. They voted for you! Own your agenda. Represent your constituents and answer to them. Forget the leadership. Forget the lobbyists who buy your coffee, breakfast, and lunch. Make things better or admit to the voters that you failed them.

RSA, A-F,  and other REFORMS are all legislative burdens that have landed in the middle of teachers desks and hamper teacher recruitment and retention.

We seem stuck on these reforms. We still have the A-F Report Cards, and some in the Legislature are determined to make the Reading Sufficiency Act even more complicated. Let’s double the number of committees for our finishing third graders and have some for first and second graders as well. And let’s not fund any of this. And let’s make it clear to the dastardly education establishment that this is the price for keeping retention decisions in the hands of human beings.

So far, I can’t point to a success. Yes, the Legislature managed to make dues collection for teachers’ associations harder, but that’s hardly a selling point. They make promises, but promises don’t buy bread. Promises don’t restore priorities and balance to teaching. Promises don’t entice college students and recent graduates to pursue teaching careers in Oklahoma.

Action makes a difference. Nothing else.

Concidentally, the teacher shortage was the topic of tonight’s #oklaed chat on Twitter. Here are some of my favorite comments from the discussion.

Throughout the chat, we kept coming back to the fact that salary matters, but so do the working conditions of our schools.  I still believe that we’re losing teachers equally to both of these factors. We’ve tried and tried to explain this, but I don’t know if the politicians get it yet.

We have two weeks left to make them get it. Call. Write. Email. Visit. Don’t limit your time to your own senator and representative. Pick several. Call the leaders. Even if they tell you to call your own people, be persistent. They chose to lead. This is what they get.

Oklahoma Senate Directory

Oklahoma House Directory

Find their Facebook and Twitter accounts. Post articles using your own social media and get more parents and educators (and other citizens who care) involved.

We have two weeks to make sure the people we may or may not vote to re-elect listen to us and do something of value to stem the teacher shortage. Use it well.

Ten Observations on Three Years Blogging

April 25, 2015 9 comments

This blog turns three today, which is 21 in dog years. How do we celebrate 21st birthdays? I forget. Besides, I don’t own a dog.

nelson-birthday

I don’t know that there’s much significance to the blog turning three. A lot has changed during the last 36 months, and no, I’m not particularly taking credit for any of it. Here are 10 observations from my first 535 posts.

  1. Three years ago, Oklahoma educators were fed up with policy makers who were ripping apart our education system. They’ve had to slow the pace of implementing corporate reform, but they’re still on the move. We’re still fed up. The agenda is still moving forward.
  2. Parents are the best voice for public education. As many educators as there are blogging and contacting legislators, we only impact policy to a point. Parents move the needle. Even better is when parents and educators band together to advocate for children.
  3. Electing a state superintendent who respects teachers is a game-changer. There’s been a change in the mood among educators since January, but there is only one meaningful difference in terms of the elected leaders of this state. We still have the same governor. We still have the same senators and representatives dredging up the same bills. We still have RSA and ACE; A-F Report Cards; TLE and VAM (though maybe with a delay); and funding for public education is still critically low. The difference is that we have replaced the state superintendent who blames teachers for everything with one who goes to bat for them. Joy Hofmeister understands that teachers aren’t bad people. Rather they’re the people who spend all day with our children. They deserve respect.
  4. High-stakes testing is unpopular with most students, parents, and educators. It’s only certain politicians and “philanthropists” who love it. This seems obvious now, but remember that my first post was filled with frustration that we were sorting and ranking schools by test scores, without regard to poverty. Over time, okeducationtruths has become one voice among many expressing anger over this. Those of us calling for testing reform don’t always agree on solutions, but when it comes to the harmful effects of using tests to label people and schools, we’re together.
  5. I enjoy reading blogs probably more than I enjoy writing them. This isn’t a humble-brag statement. If I didn’t think I could write, I wouldn’t. I just know that I’m not the only game in town. At various times, I’ve tried to capture a list of Oklahoma education blogs and national blogs I read regularly. That list is sadly out-of-date. I’ll probably work on it again when the school year ends. Among my fellow Oklahoma educators are writers who say it better, and bloggers who are more popular. There are also some who are just getting started. I try to read them all.
  6. I treasure the friends I’ve made from blogging. These aren’t just shallow acquaintances who happen to share a common interest in saving public education. These are real people with students and families and stories and histories that make them who they really are.
  7. Sometimes I just can’t tell what’s going to be a hit. For example, last week I wrote two posts. In the first, I described how I would introduce poetry to my students 15 years ago. I spent hours on it. In the second, I heaped praise on Hofmeister for acting quickly to find a solution to a tough problem. I wrote that in 15 minutes while waiting to pick up my daughter from play rehearsal. The second post has been viewed five times as many as the first one. I’ve received several comments – both privately and publicly –stating that the first was one of my best, which is how I feel as well. That isn’t to say that people are wrong. I am probably just a poor judge of what will stick.
  8. Teachers will band together to protect their content areas. There’s a reason the APUSH legislation in both houses of the Legislature fizzled into a joint resolution with all the impact of a greeting card. My Save AP post from February is sixth for page views all time on this blog. It’s the most-viewed post that doesn’t talk about the third-place finisher in last summer’s Republican primary. Well except for one…
  9. Teacher pay in Oklahoma still hovers around the bottom of the country. My January post discussing teacher pay jumped to number three when it made another viral run around social media in March. In 1970, Oklahoma teachers made 80% of the national average. In 2013, Oklahoma teachers made 80% of the national average. In between, there’s been little fluctuation. At the rally in March, we heard every excuse imaginable from our elected leaders about why teachers can’t have raises right now. This from the same crowd who don’t want to hear excuses from legislators. What they’re really lacking is resolve, and it’s apparently a generational problem that spans decades and knows no partisan preference.
  10. Blogging anonymously was fun, but getting to know my readers has been better. At edcamp in February, I was able to participate in a roundtable discussion about advocacy and blogging with the likes of Joy Hofmeister, Jason James, Rob Miller, Kevin Hime, and Claudia Swisher. At this year’s education rally, I had many candid conversations with people about what they’re dealing with at their own schools. I wondered how taking off the mask would impact the blog. It’s more popular than ever. Page views, Twitter followers, and Facebook likes affirm that. I just wish I had more time to write.

As Rob explained this morning, we still have much to keep us angered. We don’t fight for self-interest. If that were our motivation, many of us would have changed careers years ago. We fight because we want our schools to be places that help children thrive rather than places that demoralize them. We want teachers to be taken more seriously than tests. Thanks for reading; here’s to another year!

birthday paddlin

 

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