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The Morning Bell: 91 districts on four-day school weeks

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Good Monday morning! Here's what's happening in the world of #oklaed...

In a slight decrease from last year, 91 school districts are operating on a four-day school week this year. 

While that's lower than last year's 97, it remains nearly double the number from just two years ago. 

Many school districts have dropped one day a week in an attempt to save money during tough budget times. 

However, when it comes to four-day weeks, along with other growing trends, such as emergency certified teachers, it can be hard to determine the impact on students and their academic achievement. 

In Sunday's OklahomanI wrote about the lack of research around four-day weeks and emergency certified teachers. 

"I don't know the impact of an emergency certified teacher on a student because I don't know of any research on the impact," said Lee Baxter, one of seven members of the state Board of Education, which is tasked with approving each emergency teaching certificate.

"But I do know what the impact is if we don't approve them and the impact is huge class sizes or ultimately no teachers in the classroom."

OKCPS Calendar 

Oklahoma City Public Schools' continuous calendar — with its early August start date and two-week breaks in October and March — is once again up for debate.

The school board will consider its merits at tonight's meeting.

While most families, teachers and school district officials prefer the existing model, which includes a three-week winter break, opinions vary among board members, reports Tim Willert

Candidate filing begins

Today marks the start of the filing period for school board candidates in many districts across the state, including in 18 school districts in Oklahoma County. 

--Ron Millican, who is serving his second term as the District 7 representative on the Oklahoma City Public School board, will not seeking re-election. Millican represents 10 schools in south Oklahoma City.

Principal to run for state House

Ronny Johns, principal of Ada Junior High School, is running for House District 25, reports the Ada News.

“I have been teaching, coaching, and involved in the Ada School System for the last 31 years," Johns said in a statement. "Education runs in my blood; my parents were both educators for decades, my wife is in education, her parents as well, and now my daughter has followed and is a counselor at Ada High. I am extremely proud to be a family focusing on educating our youth.”

Is another teacher's caucus in the works? 

Bresson Edelen and Leslie Flores run to steak their claim of land during the Oklahoma Land Run celebration at Mustang Trails Elementary on Monday, April 22, 2013, in Mustang, Okla. Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman
Bresson Edelen and Leslie Flores run to steak their claim of land during the Oklahoma Land Run celebration at Mustang Trails Elementary on Monday, April 22, 2013, in Mustang, Okla. Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman

Calls to end Land Run reenactment 

Following a request to end re-enactments of the Oklahoma Land Run at Edmond elementary schools, Edmond Public Schools’ officials met with members of the group Live Indigenous OK, according to a story in the Edmond Sun

The group stated the Oklahoma Land Run re-enactments don’t paint a clear picture of what really happened during the Land Run.

Does consolidation push oversimplify issue?

Education leaders in Oklahoma say Gov. Mary Fallin’s executive order on school consolidation oversimplified a very complicated issue, reports Emily Wendler of KOSU. You can listen to her report her, which includes a visit with Robert Romines, superintendent of Moore Public Schools. 

--In taking a closer look at the executive order, we found that the consolidation of services in Oklahoma school districts that spend less than 60 percent of their budget on student instruction could affect nearly 500 districts

Possible conflict of interest in Bixby investigation

Bixby Public Schools administrators and the school board vice president are engaged in the school district’s internal investigation of a student’s rape allegations despite possible conflicts of interest, reports the Tulsa World

School board Vice President Lisa Owens has participated in both special meetings — Nov. 9 and Nov. 30 — at which the board has met behind closed doors to discuss the investigation led by the board’s contract attorney. But her own son, whose initials do not match those of any juvenile suspects included in public law enforcement records about the case, is a Bixby football player. The incident under investigation took place during a football team function. 

Is school choice agenda hampered by president?

The Trump administration's school choice agenda may be hurt most by President Donald Trump himself. Erica Green of the New York Times explored how Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is having a tough time expanding school choice policies, in large part because of her boss. 

“The fact that she’s in the Trump administration has not helped the parent choice,” said Howard Fuller, a professor at Marquette University in Milwaukee. “People who are on the ground, one of the things we now have to fight is guilt by association with Donald Trump.”

That does it for today's Morning Bell. Got a question, comment or story idea? Email me at bfelder@oklahoman.com. 

Have a great Monday!

Related Photos
Bresson Edelen and Leslie Flores run to steak their claim of land during the Oklahoma Land Run celebration at Mustang Trails Elementary on Monday, April 22, 2013, in Mustang, Okla.   Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman

Bresson Edelen and Leslie Flores run to steak their claim of land during the Oklahoma Land Run celebration at Mustang Trails Elementary on Monday, April 22, 2013, in Mustang, Okla. Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-1daf9a7cfeed6196dadaf0297b46a9d0.jpg" alt="Photo - Bresson Edelen and Leslie Flores run to steak their claim of land during the Oklahoma Land Run celebration at Mustang Trails Elementary on Monday, April 22, 2013, in Mustang, Okla. Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman" title="Bresson Edelen and Leslie Flores run to steak their claim of land during the Oklahoma Land Run celebration at Mustang Trails Elementary on Monday, April 22, 2013, in Mustang, Okla. Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman"><figcaption>Bresson Edelen and Leslie Flores run to steak their claim of land during the Oklahoma Land Run celebration at Mustang Trails Elementary on Monday, April 22, 2013, in Mustang, Okla. Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman</figcaption></figure>
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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