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Morning Bell: There are plenty of educators on next week's primary ballot

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Elementary school principal Sherrie Conley, left, who is running for state representative in District 20, gets out of a vehicle driven by friend Jana Robins, right, as she goes door-to-door campaigning in Goldsby, Okla, Thursday, June 14, 2018. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
Elementary school principal Sherrie Conley, left, who is running for state representative in District 20, gets out of a vehicle driven by friend Jana Robins, right, as she goes door-to-door campaigning in Goldsby, Okla, Thursday, June 14, 2018. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

Good Friday morning. Sherrie Conley (pictured above) is part of a wave of about 100 educators, including dozens of Republicans, who are running for office in Oklahoma this year. The wave of educator candidates comes in the aftermath of a teacher walkout that shut down public schools for two weeks this spring and opened an unusually bitter chasm in the state's ruling party.

"Yes, I'm a Republican, but I have an opportunity to see what happens to our people when core services are cut and when we don't take care of our families," said Conley, 57, whose hometown school district went to four-day weeks to cut costs in the state's budget crisis.

Many of those education candidates will be on next Tuesday's primary ballot. While the so-called "teachers caucus" of 2016 failed to get more than a couple educators elected, this year's group is bigger and comes at a time when education is probably even more of a spotlight issue. 

Sean Murphy of the Associated Press has more, including on Conley, which you can read here.  

The Trump administration has proposed merging the departments of education and labor. 

According to Education Week, the proposal is the centerpiece of a broader plan to remake the entire federal government. The new agency, which would be called the Department of Education and the Workforce, would be "charged with meeting the needs of American students and workers from education and skill development to workplace protection to retirement security," according to a White House outline of the plan.

"President Trump campaigned and won with his promise to reduce the federal footprint in education and to make the federal government more efficient and effective. Today's bold reform proposal takes a big step toward fulfilling that promise," U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos said in a statement. "Artificial barriers between education and workforce programs have existed for far too long. We must reform our 20th century federal agencies to meet the challenges of the 21st century.  This proposal will make the federal government more responsive to the full range of needs faced by American students, workers, and schools."

Education Week has a great explainer on what is known about the proposal, which includes a chart of how the new cabinet would be organized. The plan would require congressional approval, which is a tough lift. 

The Journal Record released its legislative session wrap up cartoon poster and it includes a lot of teacher walkout references, such as teachers protesting, the Oklahoma Education Association president, Rep. Kevin McDugle scolding teachers via Facebook Live and Dr. No (Coburn) pushing back on the taxes to fund the pay raise. See the poster below. 


OKCPS Wall of Fame inductees announced

The Foundation for Oklahoma City Public Schools announced Wednesday it will recognize three people at the organization's 34th annual Wall of Fame Humanitarian Awards dinner later this year. One f the honorees includes Rick Bayless, a graduate of Northwest Classen High School, and an award-winning chef. He is best known for winning the title of Bravo's Top Chef Master.

Also to be inducted are:

• Legand L. Burge Jr., a Douglass High School graduate and retired U.S. Air Force colonel. He is founder and president of LLBurge & Associates LLC, a minority-owned information technology services company.

• Faye Norton, graduated from Capitol Hill High School and started her own business, Designer Hardware by Faye, in 1982. It was the second female-owned company in the industry at that time and was sold in January 2014.

"The Wall of Fame celebrates individuals who built on the foundation of what they learned in OKCPS to make a difference," said Mary Mélon, president and CEO of The Foundation for Oklahoma City Public Schools. "Rick, Legand and Faye demonstrate OKCPS students can succeed in any field they choose, and that a community's investment in public education pays lifelong dividends."

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

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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