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The Morning Bell: 'Quitting was not an option'

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Carlotta Walls LaNier, one of the "Little Rock Nine" visited with me for an interview on Oct. 26, 2017. 
Carlotta Walls LaNier, one of the "Little Rock Nine" visited with me for an interview on Oct. 26, 2017. 


Yesterday was a treat. I had the chance to meet and interview Carlotta Walls LaNier, who was one of the "Little Rock Nine," the small but determined group of black students who attended Central High School in 1957. 

I'll have a story in Sunday's Oklahoman on the 60 year anniversary since the school desegregation case that captured the nation's attention, along with a look at what school desegregation has looked liked in Oklahoma since then. 

I tweeted some video from my interview with LaNier, which you can watch here

One of the questions I asked LaNier, who was 14 in 1957, was if she ever considered leaving the school or had any doubts:

"There weren't any doubts," LaNier told me. "In fact, it got competitive to the point where I know you don't want me here but I'm determined. I have a right to be here and I'm going to do my best. Quitting was not an option."

Modern segregation - Last year I wrote about how Hispanic student segregation in Oklahoma City schools mirrors the segregation of black students in the pre-busing era of the 1970's. You can read that story here

--SUPPORT FOR STANDARDS: Oklahoma's teacher of the year makes a pitch for the state's new higher testing standards. "Our state had reached a point where we could no longer continue to compare ourselves solely with ourselves and use those results meaningfully to declare our success," wrote John Hazell in a column for the Tulsa World

--SUPPORT FOR BUDGET PLAN: Numerous education leaders and groups expressed support for a state budget plan that relies on an increase in the gross production tax. The state Senate essentially endorsed the idea of an increase in GPT, which could put pressure on the House to pass a budget that includes a tax increase on oil and gas production. 

Here's a look at some of the responses from Oklahoma's education community:

"The Oklahoma Education Coalition supports the most recent revenue plan, which includes a $3,000 teacher pay raise, an update to the minimum salary schedule, and a 4% gross production tax of new wells, which will grow in revenue over time.

"Teachers desperately need a raise. Public education and other core services are in grave need of a stable state budget. Recurring revenue will allow our state to rise up and provide the level of services, attention, and care all Oklahomans deserve and expect." - Pam Deering, Oklahoma Education Coalition Chairperson

“The Senate’s passage of a bipartisan budget resolution calling for more diversified revenue sources and challenging House members to pass a budget plan represents meaningful progress. We’re optimistic this will help break the budget impasse." -Shawn Hime, executive director Oklahoma State School Boards Association

“Today our state legislators have an opportunity to prove their support for Oklahoma teachers and students by taking action on a sustainable budget plan to fund education, including increases to teacher salaries which are so richly deserved. We call on our elected officials to stop playing politics and to use this special session to show Oklahoma students, families and teachers that they are committed to change and value the importance of education for our state. All Oklahomans should take this opportunity to contact your legislator to make it clear that we expect less talk and more action. The future of this great state depends on it.” OKCPS Supt. Aurora Lora

--LIMEADES FOR LEARNING: Sonic said its ninth annual Limeades for Learning campaign provided $1 million to help pay for nearly 1,000 public school teachers' projects, including some in Oklahoma. The campaign, which ended this week, was conducted through a partnership with DonorsChoose.org, a national award-winning and consumer-driven cause campaign. The campaign encouraged Sonic's guests and fans to tell the corporation how to use its $1 million donation.

Got a question, comment or news tip? Hit me up at bfelder@oklahoman.com. Have a great weekend!

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Ben Felder

Ben Felder is an investigative reporter for The Oklahoman. A native of Kansas City, Ben has lived in Oklahoma City since 2010 and covered politics, education and local government for the Oklahoma Gazette before joining The Oklahoman in 2016.... Read more ›

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