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The Morning Bell: Fighting for a vote on teacher pay

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In last week's episode of Political State, Alicia Priest, who is president of the Oklahoma Education Association teachers union, joined me to discuss her organization's support for a budget proposal and teacher pay. 

She also talked about how she sees education advocacy groups working this year as they look to lobby lawmakers to support the proposal. 

"I think that teachers see that their community supports them and that all these legislators that have run have said I support teachers," Priest said. "Now is the time for them to show that."

Higher ed: The percentage of Oklahomans who have attained postsecondary education has changed very little in the past decade, according to the latest Vital Signs report by the United Way of Central Oklahoma. The analysis tracks five key areas important to quality of life for the period from 2007 to 2016, including educational achievement.

The report shows more than 18 percent of Americans age 25 and older earned a bachelor's degree during that period, while not quite 16 percent of Oklahomans did. The report used data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

New Indian Ed director sought in Muskogee

Muskogee Public Schools is seeking a new Indian Education director to replace David Walkingstick. According to the Muskogee Phoenix, a dispute had arisen between the school district and Walkingstick, who had been the MPS Indian Education director for more than 11 years. Neither Walkingstick nor school officials would discuss what the dispute involved.

Edmond offering Parent University 

"Digital Dangers" is one of 12 topics that experts will discuss at Edmond Public Schools' third annual Parent University from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Feb. 12.

The free event will be held at the district's administrative center, 1001 W Danforth.

"The goal of Parent University is to provide our parents access to some of the experts in our community who have valuable suggestions and solutions to the many questions that arise when raising children in today's world,” Associate Superintendent Debbie Bendick said.

Sessions will be led by licensed counselors, Edmond police officers, family therapists, teachers and college prep specialists. The sessions will last 45 minutes and run simultaneously at 6 p.m., 6:50 p.m. and 7:40 p.m. You can learn more here

Leaving the classroom

In response to a survey showing the reasons teachers are leaving Oklahoma classrooms, educators in Norman said there weren't any surprises. 

“It just affirms in another way what we’ve been saying for the past  few years,” Norman Public Schools Superintendent Nick Migliorino told the Norman Transcript.  “A lot of it is around funding in general, and pay is a huge part of  that.”

Migliorino said NPS would have received about $6 million more in funding if  education funding had not decreased since 2008. He also said there has  not been a statewide teacher pay increase for 10 years.

Devon awarded Science Giants grants totaling $50,000 to assist with STEM education at West Field Elementary and Deer Creek Intermediate schools in Edmond and Crooked Oak High School in Oklahoma City.

West Field Elementary received $25,000 to create two Nature Explore outdoor classrooms for grades K-2. Each outdoor classroom will have a sand and water center, a building area, a nature art center and tools such as magnifying glasses and tape measures.

“Devon’s grant helps us reach our goal of expanding STEM education to our youngest students,” West Field Elementary Principal Lisa Crosslin said. “Learning outdoors gives students a chance to explore nature, increase their observational skills and think critically.”

Ada’s Early Childhood Center is using a $65,000 grant to fund technology and professional development to  students and teachers, reports the Ada News. The OETT grant has provided 120 iPads so teachers can embed collaboration, creativity, problem solving and critical thinking, thus creating a complete authentic learning environment for their students. 

Now students use their new technology to take pictures create stories, record time-lapse videos and other activities, opening doors to problem-solving and critical-learning skills in an authentic learning environment. The new technology helps create a more small, personalized environment throughout the site.

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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