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Morning Bell: Planning for winter through coat-a-kid

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Rhianna Wheeler slips into her new winter jacket in Morgan Riklin's kindergarten classroom at Shidler Elementary School, located on S. Byers, just south of downtown. Nearly 400 students in need received new coats on Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2016. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman
Rhianna Wheeler slips into her new winter jacket in Morgan Riklin's kindergarten classroom at Shidler Elementary School, located on S. Byers, just south of downtown. Nearly 400 students in need received new coats on Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2016. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman

Good Tuesday morning. Students and staff at Choctaw-Nicoma Park schools start a new school year today. 

Already this year donors have contributed nearly $30,000 to The Foundation for Oklahoma City Public School's annual Coat-A-Kid program. These donations will purchase 1,400 new winter coats for Oklahoma City kids in need. One donor has committed to coats for three entire schools that are close to his business in northeast OKC. Want to help? Learn more here

Four day schools weeks

KGOU recently took a closer look at four-day school weeks through the eyes of students. “You don’t get Fridays off in the adult world,” one student said about her younger brother. “And it could go one of two ways: It could help him rest up and be ready for that, or he could just sweep off his feet when he gets there and just fall flat on his butt.”

Many superintendents say teacher hiring is worse

A state-funded pay raise has been good for the spirits but done little to slow Oklahoma's chronic teacher shortage, according to a new survey of school districts.

About 280 districts completed the survey by the Oklahoma State School Boards Association, which found 494 teaching vacancies as of Aug. 1, despite a heavy reliance on underqualified teachers and part-time instructors.

Fifty-seven percent of superintendents said hiring was more difficult this year than last year while about 35 percent said it was the same.

"While raises have helped recruit and retain teachers to a degree, the full impact remains to be seen as several teachers had secured jobs in other states this year prior to the Legislature's passage of the raise," Norman Public Schools Superintendent Nick Migliorino said Monday.

Cornett on education

With the Republican runoff for governor just a few weeks away, Mick Cornett and Kevin Stitt continue to crisscross the state for votes. Education is a topic that comes up often and Cornett recently spoke about the issue of teacher pay raises and education expectations during a stop in Duncan. 

The Oklahoman's Chris Casteel had this report: Republican gubernatorial candidate Mick Cornett said Saturday that Oklahoma needs to change its mindset about education and not use inefficiency in the public school system as an excuse for low funding.

“I'm glad the teachers got the pay raise,” Cornett told about a dozen people at a Duncan diner.

“I'd like to see what we can do from here. But I do think going forward, this state has to show more appreciation for educators. And we have to continue to raise the expectations on what we're doing on education.”

Asked at an event in Lawton on Saturday about administrative costs in public schools, Cornett said every large public and private organization has inefficiencies.

There is sometimes an attitude toward education, he said, that “when it's efficient, we'll fund it."

“Well, that's not going to work either. You have to always be working on the efficiency and continue to fund it.”

Cornett still offered no specifics on education or the other topics he emphasized Saturday — health, infrastructure and criminal justice reform.

You can read the rest of the story here

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

Related Photos
Rhianna Wheeler slips into her new winter jacket  in Morgan Riklin's kindergarten classroom at Shidler Elementary School, located on S. Byers, just south of downtown.  Nearly 400 students in need received new coats on Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2016, courtesy of a joint effort by Love's Travel Stops and The Foundation for Oklahoma City Public Schools.  Love's is funding $120,000 worth of projects in the Oklahoma City school district projects and and initiatives through the foundation. Included in that amount is $70,000 for the Coat-a-Kid program, which provides new winter coats. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman

Rhianna Wheeler slips into her new winter jacket in Morgan Riklin's kindergarten classroom at Shidler Elementary School, located on S. Byers, just south of downtown. Nearly 400 students in need received new coats on Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2016, courtesy of a joint effort by Love's Travel Stops and...

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-2543c6ee4f0ed85b01ef1e05569e401e.jpg" alt="Photo - Rhianna Wheeler slips into her new winter jacket in Morgan Riklin's kindergarten classroom at Shidler Elementary School, located on S. Byers, just south of downtown. Nearly 400 students in need received new coats on Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2016, courtesy of a joint effort by Love's Travel Stops and The Foundation for Oklahoma City Public Schools. Love's is funding $120,000 worth of projects in the Oklahoma City school district projects and and initiatives through the foundation. Included in that amount is $70,000 for the Coat-a-Kid program, which provides new winter coats. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman" title="Rhianna Wheeler slips into her new winter jacket in Morgan Riklin's kindergarten classroom at Shidler Elementary School, located on S. Byers, just south of downtown. Nearly 400 students in need received new coats on Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2016, courtesy of a joint effort by Love's Travel Stops and The Foundation for Oklahoma City Public Schools. Love's is funding $120,000 worth of projects in the Oklahoma City school district projects and and initiatives through the foundation. Included in that amount is $70,000 for the Coat-a-Kid program, which provides new winter coats. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman"><figcaption>Rhianna Wheeler slips into her new winter jacket in Morgan Riklin's kindergarten classroom at Shidler Elementary School, located on S. Byers, just south of downtown. Nearly 400 students in need received new coats on Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2016, courtesy of a joint effort by Love's Travel Stops and The Foundation for Oklahoma City Public Schools. Love's is funding $120,000 worth of projects in the Oklahoma City school district projects and and initiatives through the foundation. Included in that amount is $70,000 for the Coat-a-Kid program, which provides new winter coats. Photo by Jim Beckel, 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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