The Morning Bell: A look at school choice efforts this year
Unable to gain large-scale advances in the Oklahoma Legislature over the last few years, school choice advocates have instead focused on small gains that have slowly expanded the state's voucher program to specific student groups.
This year, ESA and voucher advocates would like to see the scholarship program expanded to more student groups.
"I'd like it to be (expanded) to children of veterans, the other possibility is homeless kids," said Bill Price, a member of the state Board of Education and a supporter of school choice policies. "There are some other student populations that are particularly sympathetic, and that is probably the direction to go until we get enough momentum to get the full-fledged education savings account."
You can read more about the continuing school choice debate and what to look for this legislative session in this story from this week's Oklahoman.
Public-private split in school sports
Blanchard superintendent Jim Beckham will make a proposal today to the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association board of directors that would split nonpublic schools from public schools in all OSSAA postseason activities.
The proposal would replace Rule 14, which forces private schools to play a classification higher than its average attendance based on success. It was established in 2011.
“It has proven not to work,” Beckham said. “I think it's had enough time to actually prove it does work or it doesn't. Obviously, to me and a lot of others it hasn't worked.”
The Oklahoman's Jacob Unruh has more.
School archery squads prepare for state shoot
Moore West Junior High hosted its fourth "Moore West Shootout" last weekend at Norman Archery. The tournament is a tune-up for the "Archery in the Schools" state shoot Feb 14-15 at State Fair Park in Oklahoma City.
Eight high school teams, 13 middle school squads, 10 elementary school teams and a total of 574 archers competed in the tournament.
New program to train future teachers
Tulsa Public Schools has launched an initiative aimed at recruiting and training aspiring teachers in response to an ongoing teacher shortage affecting Oklahoma, reports the Tulsa World.
Tulsa Teacher Corps is aimed at filling the hundreds of instructional vacancies that the state’s second-largest district must deal with every year.
“As we continue to grapple with our state teacher shortage, Tulsa Public Schools is focusing not only on hiring seasoned educators, but also on training and developing new teachers in our first cohort of the Tulsa Teachers Corps,” said Devin Fletcher, the district’s chief talent and learning officer.
Oklahoma pastor: Standing in the gap for our school children
"Our public schools deserve the choice not to be a battleground for politicians," writes Clark Frailey, lead pastor at Coffee Creek Church in Edmond and a leader with Pastors for Oklahoma Kids.
In a recent guest column published in The Oklahoman, Frailey wrote, "The free public education, while guaranteed by our state constitution, is not actually granted by a government, but is a provision of God. Faith convicts us that all children deserve the chance at a great education."
Five things about OKC's new acting superintendent Rebecca Kaye, who prior to coming to Oklahoma City Public Schools worked for Atlanta Public Schools, where she was policy and governance advisor to the superintendent
Lawton's MacArthur High School has been recognized as a 2018 Oklahoma School of Character (KSWO). Last year, the school received two nationally-recognized "Promised Practices in Character Education" awards for their MAC Football Program and their work with the Relay for Life.