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The Morning Bell: Charter school growth has slowed locally

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Chris Brewster, superintendent of Santa Fe South Schools, talks with students from the student council as they prepare for the back to school bash in the new Santa Fe South High School inside Plaza Mayor in Oklahoma City in Oklahoma City, Monday, Aug. 7, 2017. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman
Chris Brewster, superintendent of Santa Fe South Schools, talks with students from the student council as they prepare for the back to school bash in the new Santa Fe South High School inside Plaza Mayor in Oklahoma City in Oklahoma City, Monday, Aug. 7, 2017. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman

Charter school growth has slowed down nationally and in Oklahoma. 

Until 2013, the total number of U.S. charter schools was increasing by 6 to 8 percent each year, reports Education Next. Since then, that number has fallen steadily, to less than 2 percent in 2016.

The authors of the Education Next article write, "As charters have become a more significant presence, especially in their target cities, they are encountering scarce facilities, increased competition with one another, and heightened political opposition."

Some of those obstacles exist in Oklahoma, where 27 non virtual charter schools opened from 2011 to 2015. Last year, just one charter school opened and two opened this school year.

I recently wrote about the slow down in new charter schools opening in Oklahoma but how the pace of growth is likely to speed up again. 

"I think you have seen some communities become saturated with (charter schools) to a point where it might be a little harder to open new ones," said Chris Brewster, superintendent of Santa Fe South Schools, a K-12 charter with multiple locations in south Oklahoma City.

Scholarship fund to require compliance

At least 60 private schools receiving tax-credit scholarships have been given three months to comply with a state law that prohibits discriminating against applicants based on disability, reports Jennifer Palmer of Oklahoma Watch

An Oklahoma Watch article on Jan. 17 spurred an investigation into the program by the Oklahoma Disability Law Center, a legal advocacy group for people with disabilities. The center will be monitoring the fund’s compliance checks.

Sexual violence education 

In a column for NonDoc, Jessica Fisher writes about the importance of sexual education in an era when sexual assault is gaining more attention. She also references a proposed bill related to the subject: 

In Oklahoma, lawmakers may consider a bill during the 2018 legislative session that aims to educate students about recognizing and preventing sexual violence. House Bill 2734 by Rep. Jacob Rosecrants (D-Norman) would establish age-appropriate curriculum and require instructors to undergo training in consent and healthy relationships with the goal of increasing teacher-student discussions. The bill would ensure the material is medically accurate and approved by the Department of Health. Federal funds available through Title IV-A of the Every Student Succeeds Act. could be used at the state level to implement the program.

Coding training in Putnam City

Two Putnam City elementary schools are using iPads to teach kids coding, robotics and even video production. Students at Western Oaks and James L. Dennis Elementary Schools are now learning career skills once reserved for college level training through a grant from the Oklahoma Educational Technology Trust.

“The school doesn’t look like it did when I was in grade school,” comments OETT chairman Bob Stafford.

State superintendent tours TAP building

State superintendent Joy Hofmeister praised Woodward Schools for its new program called TAP (Technical Application Program) during a visit this week. 

The TAP building is a transformed annex where an applied learning program takes place, reports the Woodward News.

“I am just still amazed that this program is only six months along and it is already doing this well,” Hofmeister said.

During her tour, Hofmeister was briefed by High Plains Assistant Superintendent Barclay Holt regarding the development of the idea for TAP and the execution of the program that was accomplished through the collaboration of High Plains Technology Center leadership and instructors and administrators and teachers with Woodward Public Schools.

Higher ed task force

Dozens of recommendations by the state's task force on the future of higher education were adopted formally Wednesday in the group's final meeting.

The report will be presented Thursday to the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education. The regents are expected to approve the report, which includes recommendations ranging from fully funding concurrent enrollment to developing a statewide outreach strategy for helping military students earn a degree.


Related Photos
Santa Fe South students prepare for a back-to-school event in 2017. [The Oklahoman archives]

Santa Fe South students prepare for a back-to-school event in 2017. [The Oklahoman archives]

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-1e8be5ed907a35e848113ea7745a1d53.jpg" alt="Photo - Santa Fe South students prepare for a back-to-school event in 2017. [The Oklahoman archives]" title="Santa Fe South students prepare for a back-to-school event in 2017. [The Oklahoman archives]"><figcaption>Santa Fe South students prepare for a back-to-school event in 2017. [The Oklahoman archives]</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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