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Morning Bell: DACA decisions, Father's Day and moving past testing

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Gerardo Rico poses for a photograph in Oklahoma City, Tuesday, June 12, 2018. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman
Gerardo Rico poses for a photograph in Oklahoma City, Tuesday, June 12, 2018. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman

Happy Monday, and happy belated Father's Day. Nearly one in 10 Oklahoma children have had a parents in prison, which means many kids were apart from an incarcerated father yesterday. 

However, the Edmond-based nonprofit OK Messages Project gives incarcerated parents a chance to connect with their children through videos. This Father's Day, more than 1,000 children across Oklahoma popped in a DVD and watched their dad read to them from prison, reports The Oklahoman's Josh Delaney

Because of distance, expense and unstable family structures, many of the children have not visited their father in years. Some don't know what he looks like.

“We do this three times a year,” said Cheri Fuller, executive director of OK Messages Project. “We go and do the film shoots at the prisons for Christmas, Mother's Day and Father's Day. These kids who don't have their dads, it's like we're sending their dads home for Father's Day. The majority of these dads don't ever get to visit with their kids.”

While this program isn't directly school related, it's a good reminder of some of the challenges Oklahoma students face. 

DACA decisions could be made soon 

Congress could take action soon on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, the Obama-era executive order that allowed children brought into the country illegally to gain access to employment and relief from deportation.

I wrote this week about the continued political tug of war that DACA recipients are caught in. 

"My life feels like it has a clock on it that keeps getting reset," said Gerardo Rico, a young man I wrote about (pictured at the top of today's newsletter). 

The U.S. House could take up some immigration bills this week, which includes permanent residency and eventual citizenship for DACA recipients, according to multiple reports of a "discussion draft" that was shared on Thursday. However, that legislation would tie DACA protections to funding for a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.

State supt encouraged by state's direction

Oklahoma is improving its educational standards along with raising teacher pay, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister said.

Hofmeister was the keynote speaker at the Norman Chamber’s annual legislative luncheon last week, reports the Norman Transcript

“One of the things that we have been able to do, only because we had a legislature that was willing to work with us, was to get rid of unnecessary testing — testing that wasn’t working,” Hofmeister said.

Allen resident calls on board president to resign

Dissatisfaction over the way the Allen Board of Education is handling its upcoming capital improvement projects has prompted an Allen resident to call for the resignation of board President Robert Hammonds, reports the Ada News.

Allen resident Michael Bailey urged Hammonds to step down last week because Hammonds and his partner, Danny McDougal, sold a parcel of land to the school district several months ago. Hammonds owned 25 percent of the property, and McDougal owned the remaining 75 percent.

That does it for today's Morning Bell. Have a great Monday!

Related Photos
Gerardo Rico poses for a photograph in Oklahoma City, Tuesday, June 12, 2018. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman

Gerardo Rico poses for a photograph in Oklahoma City, Tuesday, June 12, 2018. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-189c56699e67b6905074484bf421ccab.jpg" alt="Photo - Gerardo Rico poses for a photograph in Oklahoma City, Tuesday, June 12, 2018. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman" title="Gerardo Rico poses for a photograph in Oklahoma City, Tuesday, June 12, 2018. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman"><figcaption>Gerardo Rico poses for a photograph in Oklahoma City, Tuesday, June 12, 2018. Photo by Sarah Phipps, 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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