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Morning Bell: Should Oklahoma recognize bilingualism on a diploma?

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Daisy Bonilla holds a certificate with the Seal of Biliteracy. 
Daisy Bonilla holds a certificate with the Seal of Biliteracy. 

Good Thursday morning! 

Thirty-two states include a Seal of Biliteracy on a student's diploma or transcript, which confirms the high school graduate is proficient in English and at least one other language.

There is an effort underway to include the seal on Oklahoma diplomas. 

"I believe (Oklahoma) students miss out compared to students in other states (with the Seal of Biliteracy) who are able to apply to universities and demonstrate that they are bilingual," said Taylor Tribble, president of the Oklahoma Association for Bilingual Education "It's one thing to say you're bilingual, but to actually have a state seal recognizing you are officially bilingual, I think that holds a lot more weight."

Tribble's organization is advocating for the state to adopt the Seal of Biliteracy for inclusion on diplomas, something officials with the state Department of Education have expressed support for. You can read my story on the effort here

Debate over school funding

From the Journal Record: Oklahoma’s funding formula is notoriously complicated and attempts to keep the funding per student level statewide and prevent affluent districts such as Edmond or Broken Arrow from seeing double the funding that poorer districts such as Mid-Del or Muskogee public schools would, reports Catherine Sweeney of the Journal Record. 

But while some education officials have supported this status quo, others said that its spirit should be preserved but that changes to the law could allow more flexibility. You can read Sweeney's story here, which offers a good primer on the education funding debate and what to expect in the coming months. 

Deer Creek incident being investigated

The Oklahoma City County Sheriff is investigating an incident at Deer Creek Intermediate School that left two teachers injured and a student being questioned.

On Friday, News 9 received a call from a concerned parent, stating that a student, at Deer Creek Intermediate School, may have stabbed and punched a teacher.

Remembering the Katz sit-in

In writing about the Katz Drugstore sit-in of 1958, John Thompson recalled the role students played in one of the most pivotal civil rights events in Oklhaoma City history. 

"The sit-ins were also rooted in the energy and moral consciousness of our children," Thompson wrote for NonDoc. "(Clara) Luper’s 8-year-old daughter, Marilyn, suggested the actions. The decision to mobilize occurred spontaneously, as one of the kids said, 'Let’s go to Katz.' Rather than ask permission from their parents, 13 children walked into the drugstore and ordered Cokes.

OG&E to help fund teachers' projects

Oklahoma Gas and Electric and the OGE Energy Corp. Foundation Inc. will provide $70,000 to help fund teachers' projects for the 2018-19 school year.

Funding for qualifying projects will be provided through DonorsChoose.org, a crowdfunding platform for educators.

OG&E and the OGE Energy Corp. Foundation will match funds for projects requesting books, educational kits, games, and lab equipment if they meet certain criteria.

New this year, OG&E will help fund up to $500 for projects that promote or teach energy efficiency and/or projects requesting EPA-rated products for the classroom.

College savings plan sweepstake begins

The Oklahoma 529 College Savings Plan's inaugural Pigskin Piggybank Sweepstakes is underway. One Oklahoma family will win $5,529 for college, plus $5,529 for the winning student's school.

The sweepstakes is open to Oklahoma residents who are parents, grandparents or legal guardians of a child or grandchild who is also an Oklahoma resident. Both new and current OCSP account holders may participate.

Sweepstakes entry, official rules and additional information are available at www.ok4saving.org/Pigskin. The sweepstakes concludes Oct. 31, when the random winner will be selected.

The College Savings Plan serves almost 30,000 account owners with more than $850 million in college savings assets. For more information about the Oklahoma 529 College Savings Plan go to www.ok4saving.org or call 877-654-7284.

That does it for today's Morning Bell. Got a question, comment or story idea? Send an email to bfelder@oklahoman.com.

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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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