The folks pushing State Question 744, a measure that would increase
Friday, July 30, 2010
The folks pushing State Question 744, a measure that would increase
Saturday, July 24, 2010
When's the last time you heard someone say they're moving into the Oklahoma City school district so they can send their children to the Oklahoma City Public Schools?
Dumb question, I realize. "Most parents don't have a path through the [Oklahoma City Public Schools] system like they'd like to see for their children,” former Oklahoma City mayor Kirk Humphreys said a couple of weeks ago in The Oklahoman. "Parents say they are happy with the elementary school experience for their children, but if they live in Oklahoma City after fifth grade ... they send their children to private school or homeschool." (Which is altogether terrific, I hasten to add.)
In any case, this came to mind today when I read a blog post by Gary Wolfram, an economist at Hillsdale College in Michigan. Dr. Wolfram, who has written for OCPA before, asks an even more outlandish question: "When was the last time you heard someone say that they wished they could move to Detroit in order to enroll their child in Detroit Public Schools?"
If we want to improve public education -- in Michigan, in Oklahoma, or anywhere else -- we're going to have to change the incentives.
"Oklahoma students who began an anti-bullying campaign, 'Stand for the Silent,' have organized a rally at the state Capitol next month," The Oklahoman reports today. "The students organized after hearing the story of 11-year-old Ty Field, who committed suicide after reportedly being bullied."
Friday, July 23, 2010
I received an e-mail yesterday from Dr. Brian D. Ray, president of the National Home Education Research Institute. "New research on college students who were home educated shows they are doing very well," he writes.
Dr. Michael Cogan, director of the Office of Institutional Research and Analysis at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota, compared home-educated students to those from conventional-school backgrounds at one Midwestern university. Controlling for various background demographic, pre-college, and other factors, multiple regression analyses revealed that the home educated earned higher first year and fourth year GPAs.
Other multivariate analyses found that the homeschool variable did not significantly contribute to the fall-to-fall retention or four-year graduation models. That is, having been home educated had neither a positive nor a negative impact on these academic outcomes. In simple terms, however, students who were homeschooled did achieve a higher retention rate (88.6 percent) compared to the overall population (87.6 percent). And the home educated achieved a higher graduation rate (66.7 percent) when compared to the overall population (57.5 percent). ...
Bivariate analyses showed the homeschooled students (26.5) reported a significantly higher ACT-Composite score when compared to the overall cohort (25.0), and the home educated (14.7) earned more college credit prior to their freshman year when compared to the overall population (6.0).
Home-educated students (3.37) earned a significantly higher fall semester GPA when compared to the overall cohort (3.08). Further, homeschooled students (3.41) earned a higher first-year GPA compared to the overall group (3.12). Finally, the home educated (3.46) earned a significantly higher fourth-year GPA when compared to the freshman cohort (3.16).
Thursday, July 22, 2010
The educational landscape is changing, and not only in places like Milwaukee (where an astonishing three out of four students are educated someplace other than their traditional, geographically assigned public school). Right here in Oklahoma, as blogger Wesley Fryer points out, online learning is starting to take off. I wonder what the OEA thinks about all this.
The 2009 Oklahoma Youth Risk Behavior Survey, which "provides data representative of students in grades 9-12 in Oklahoma public schools," informs us that "5.6 percent of students had carried a weapon (e.g., a gun, knife, or club) on school property on one or more days during the 30 days before the survey."
Oklahoma not only is trailing most states in fourth-grade reading scores, but when compared with one state’s students its results look even worse, according to a new study released yesterday by the Foundation for Educational Choice, the Oklahoma Business & Education Coalition, and the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs.
The study, Reforms With Results: What Oklahoma Can Learn from Florida’s K-12 Education Revolution, compares the educational gains made by Florida students over the past 10 years with the progress of Oklahoma students. Examining data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress’s (NAEP) fourth-grade reading test, the study finds that Florida, and 35 other states, are outperforming Oklahoma. In addition, Florida’s Hispanic students, who for years were lagging in academic performance, are now scoring higher than the average of all Oklahoma students on NAEP’s fourth-grade reading exam.
“Fourth-grade reading is a critical measurement of student performance and a great predictor of students’ futures,” said Dr. Matthew Ladner, the study’s author. “If students can’t learn to read how then can we expect them to read to learn in their later years? Florida understands this, and so should other states.”
In 1998, Oklahoma students outscored Florida students, on average, by 13 points on NAEP’s fourth-grade reading exam. In 2009, however, on the same test, Florida students scored 9 points higher than Oklahoma students, almost a grade level ahead according to NAEP. In addition, between 1998 and 2009, Oklahoma’s Hispanic students improved their average score by 3 points on NAEP’s fourth-grade reading test. Florida’s Hispanic students, meanwhile, increased their average score by 25 points.
“Contrary to what some might think, Florida’s progress is not a product of more money but rather the result of an aggressive series of educational reforms,” said Bill Price, chairman of the Oklahoma School Choice Coalition. “Recently, Oklahoma has adopted some of these reforms, and if Florida is any indication it would be wise to expand them.”
Price is referring to several recent reforms including an alternative teacher certification path that will enlarge the potential pool of quality teachers in Oklahoma, which the legislature enacted in 2009. In addition, the state improved its charter school law and created a private school choice program in 2010—the Lindsey Nicole Henry Scholarships for Students with Disabilities Program—for students with special needs. However, according to the study, Oklahoma’s state testing, school choice opportunities, and accountability measures still need to be strengthened.
“Florida’s experience shows that a number of strategies must be employed to raise student achievement levels, especially among disadvantaged youth,” said Phyllis Hudecki, executive director of the Oklahoma Business & Education Coalition. “Just as Florida did, we must look at our own areas in need of improvement and make necessary changes to ensure our students are receiving educations that prepare them for life.”
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
HT: RiShawn Biddle
SQ 744 would cause serious harm to the state of Oklahoma, says a new analysis by a liberal policy analyst.
What's really interesting to me in this whole debate is the fact that Oklahoma voters, by a 2 to 1 margin, acknowledge that more school spending won't improve student learning.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Thursday, July 15, 2010
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
"The Tulsa Public Schools Board of Education has approved a new vision statement for the district," KTUL reports. "The new slogan is 'Excellence and high expectations with a commitment to all.' It replaces 'The District of Choice.'
Now I can understand why the old slogan might make some public-school folks uncomfortable, what with it containing the c-word and all. But sorry, you're just gonna have to cope. As none other than Sandy Garrett has said, "School choice is a reality, and we should just get used to it." Because it's only going to spread.
Monday, July 12, 2010
"Most parents don't have a path through the [Oklahoma City Public Schools] system like they'd like to see for their children,” urban developer Kirk Humphreys said yesterday in The Oklahoman. "Parents say they are happy with the elementary school experience for their children, but if they live in Oklahoma City after fifth grade ... they send their children to private school or homeschool."
Saturday, July 10, 2010
Oklahoma's state Board of Education recently adopted the "voluntary" Common Core State Standards. In a new podcast, Greg Forster of the Foundation for Educational Choice explains how The Blob ultimately will consume these Common Core State Standards.
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Monday, July 5, 2010
An Oklahoma public school district paid $150,000 to a private company to educate some students, and guess what happened? The earth continued to rotate around its axis.
Ho hum. Public dollars flow to private educational institutions all the time.
Thursday, July 1, 2010
Some Edmond parents are claiming their special-needs student was mistreated in two Edmond public schools.
If only the parents had some other options, like choosing a private school, for example.
Oh, wait a minute, they do.
When it comes to the various forms of school choice, this blog has generally been a big tent (note, for example, the many posts under the labels "Charter Schools" and "Virtual Schools"). But Cato Institute scholar Adam Schaeffer pointed out something yesterday that I think needs to be highlighted:
Charter schools often provide a safer, better alternative to traditional public schools. That’s good. Charter schools also destroy private schools, decrease educational options, pull private-school students into the government education system and thereby add significant new costs to taxpayers.