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The Morning Bell: Oklahoma's school funding gap widens

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New funding data from the National Center for Education Statistics shows Oklahoma remained 48th in the nation in per-student education spending. 

Oklahoma's per-student spending is $1,668 behind the regional average of $9,744. A year ago, the regional gap was at about $1,500. (Region includes Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico and Texas.)

"This isn't difficult math. We're striving to compete with neighboring states for jobs and businesses while failing to keep pace with their investments in education," said Shawn Hime, executive director of the Oklahoma State School Boards Association. "We're already a decade behind our neighbors when it comes to education investment. It's time to catch up and dream big for our children. The need for a long-term education funding plan to ensure competitive teacher pay and the classroom resources necessary for student success is dire."

You can read the entire report here

Bullying a major factor for many who choose virtual charters

Forty-one percent of students who attend a virtual charter school in Oklahoma left their previous school because they were victims of bullying.

Nearly 34 percent attend a virtual charter school because of past problems with school administration or staff.

Those were some of the findings from a survey commissioned by the Oklahoma Statewide Virtual Charter School Board, which oversees the state's four virtual charter schools and their combined 12,000 students. You can read more in my story in today's Oklahoman

Court documents in Bixby investigation include admission by players

Written statements from five juveniles “admitting their various levels of participation in the sexual assault of the victim and the video recording of the sexual assault" are included in public court documents that were filed Tuesday in the sexual assault investigation involving Bixby High School football players. 

The Tulsa World's Andrea Eger also reports that one juvenile and his parent came forward to police the night before investigators seized school employee and juvenile suspects’ cell phones and admitted that the boy video-recorded the sexual assault and consented to having his cellphone searched. They told police they were concerned about protecting potential evidence on the cellphone because a parent of one of the suspects “had recently offered to purchase” that juvenile’s cellphone.

State chamber backs school choice reforms

In a new report, the Oklahoma State Chamber is proposing a variety of school choice policies, including an expansion of open transfer policies for public schools, establishment of a public charter school authorizer and creation of Education Savings Accounts. The City Sentinel has more

Students take part in warm up activities during the Oklahoma City Kids Marathon rally to kick off the WHY WE RUN weekly lesson plans to help educators connect the Oklahoma City bombing to the Kids' Marathon at Stanley Hupfeld Academy at Western Village in Oklahoma City, Okla. on Friday, Jan. 5, 2018. Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman
Students take part in warm up activities during the Oklahoma City Kids Marathon rally to kick off the WHY WE RUN weekly lesson plans to help educators connect the Oklahoma City bombing to the Kids' Marathon at Stanley Hupfeld Academy at Western Village in Oklahoma City, Okla. on Friday, Jan. 5, 2018. Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman

'Why we run' curriculum connects kids with bombing

Four thousand children are expected to run April 29 in the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon. An effort to make sure they understand what it's all about was launched last week during a rally at Stanley Hupfeld Academy, The Oklahoman's Kathryn McNutt reports

The Kids Marathon has been a part of the annual Run To Remember since the beginning, but new this year are age-appropriate weekly lessons to teach children "Why We Run."

The 16-lesson curriculum connects the marathon to what happened April 19, 1995, and "the good that overcame the evil," said Kari Watkins, executive director of the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum.

"Why We Run" has weekly lessons for students up through the third grade and for students in grades 4-6. Each lesson has information about the deadly bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building or the memorial, something about running or fitness, and a character trait.

Varying start dates has group seeking uniformity 

Oklahoma public schools have at least 28 different school-year start dates, which has a group of Oklahomans pushing for a statewide start date in early September.

"Our goal is to define what a state-funded school year is," said Barbara Bowersox, one of the leaders behind Oklahomans for School Calendar Reform, a group seeking to put all schools on the same calendar, or at least the same start date.


Related Photos
Students take part in warm up activities during the Oklahoma City Kids Marathon rally to kick off the WHY WE RUN weekly lesson plans to help educators connect the Oklahoma City bombing to the Kids' Marathon at Stanley Hupfeld Academy at Western Village in Oklahoma City, Okla. on Friday, Jan. 5, 2018.  Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman

Students take part in warm up activities during the Oklahoma City Kids Marathon rally to kick off the WHY WE RUN weekly lesson plans to help educators connect the Oklahoma City bombing to the Kids' Marathon at Stanley Hupfeld Academy at Western Village in Oklahoma City, Okla. on Friday, Jan. 5,...

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-0c9dbfde66cc2a8c5601f2ec795f445d.jpg" alt="Photo - Students take part in warm up activities during the Oklahoma City Kids Marathon rally to kick off the WHY WE RUN weekly lesson plans to help educators connect the Oklahoma City bombing to the Kids' Marathon at Stanley Hupfeld Academy at Western Village in Oklahoma City, Okla. on Friday, Jan. 5, 2018. Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman" title="Students take part in warm up activities during the Oklahoma City Kids Marathon rally to kick off the WHY WE RUN weekly lesson plans to help educators connect the Oklahoma City bombing to the Kids' Marathon at Stanley Hupfeld Academy at Western Village in Oklahoma City, Okla. on Friday, Jan. 5, 2018. Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman"><figcaption>Students take part in warm up activities during the Oklahoma City Kids Marathon rally to kick off the WHY WE RUN weekly lesson plans to help educators connect the Oklahoma City bombing to the Kids' Marathon at Stanley Hupfeld Academy at Western Village in Oklahoma City, Okla. on Friday, Jan. 5, 2018. 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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