education

Report: Experienced Teachers Needed in Oklahoma Classrooms

Jun 2, 2015
woodleywonderworks / Flickr Creative Commons

Oklahoma City, Tulsa and the surrounding metros have some of the most inexperienced public school teachers in the state, according to a report submitted to the U.S. Department of Education Monday.

The report, written by the Oklahoma State Department of Education, found that districts with large populations of minority or poor students tend to have the least experienced teachers.

child reading
John Morgan / Flickr Creative Commons

The Oklahoma Legislature has approved a bill making it easier for Oklahoma third-graders to advance to fourth grade even if they can't demonstrate basic reading skills.

The House and Senate both voted Friday to approve a bill that extends the use of "reading teams" for the next three school years.

The teams that include a child's parent, teachers and reading specialist would be allowed to promote third-graders who score unsatisfactory marks on state-mandated reading tests.

a school classroom with empty chairs
comedy_nose / Flickr Creative Commons

About 15 percent of Oklahoma third graders could be held back after earning unsatisfactory marks on a state-mandated reading test.

State education officials announced preliminary results from this year's Oklahoma Core Curriculum Test on Friday.

The results showed that at least 85 percent of the 50,000 third graders who took the exam will advance to the next grade. Students who performed the worst could be held back unless they qualify for one of several exemptions under the Reading Sufficiency Act.

Racial Disparities In School Suspensions Found Across State

May 3, 2015
Thelma R. Parks Elementary School in Northeast Oklahoma City, which had the highest overall suspension rate in Oklahoma City at 42.1 percent.
Jacob McCleland / KGOU

Minority students are being suspended at higher rates than their white classmates not only in Oklahoma City Public Schools, which triggered a federal probe, but also in other districts across the state, U.S. Department of Education data show.

The disparity is often greatest between black and white students, but also occurs between white students and American Indian and Hispanic students.

See student suspensions by school and race.

Oklahoma House Democratic Leader Scott Inman (D-Del City), flanked by state Reps. Ed Cannaday and Donnie Condit, during Monday's press conference marking 25 years since the passage of HB 1017.
HouseDems OK / YouTube

Members of the House Democratic Caucus and several longtime Oklahoma teachers and administrators marked the silver anniversary of a landmark overhaul of the state's education system Wednesday, and called for further changes.

Gov. Henry Bellmon signed House Bill 1017 on April 25, 1990. It used a $560 million tax increase over five years to reduce class sizes, boost minimum teacher salaries, and fund statewide curriculum standards, testing, and early childhood programs.

Thelma R. Parks Elementary School in Northeast Oklahoma City, which had the highest overall suspension rate in Oklahoma City at 42.1 percent.
Jacob McCleland / KGOU

The higher number of black student suspensions starts at an early age in Oklahoma City, where 12 elementary schools suspended more than 40 percent of their black students in 2011-2012.

Data from the U.S. Department of Education show black students in elementary schools are consistently suspended at higher rates than their white peers in Oklahoma City.

Oklahoma City Public Schools superintendent Rob Neu addresses reporters during an April 21, 2015 news conference about the district's discipline practices toward minority students.
Oklahoma Watch / YouTube

Oklahoma City Public Schools superintendent Rob Neu said Tuesday the district is revisiting its code of conduct, and if kids aren’t threatening the safety of others they need to stay in school.

During a press conference, Neu told reporters he also wants the district to get better at intervening before problems get out of hand. He also emphasized that connecting with the student, parents, and community is vital to the solution.

A class in the assistant principal's old office at Burcham Elementary in Weatherford.
Emily Wendler / KOSU

Oklahoma has gained 40,000 new students since 2008, but funding from the legislature hasn’t kept up with the growth. More students and less money means some schools are running out of space and have been dipping deep in to their savings accounts. They are making do, but it’s at a tipping point for some districts. Either they get more funding and add more space, or the class sizes get bigger and bigger.

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt
Oklahoma Attorney General E. Scott Pruitt / Facebook

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt says religious freedoms are under attack in Oklahoma and he's telling public school districts across the state he's ready to protect them for allowing citizens to distribute Bibles in schools.

a school classroom with empty chairs
comedy_nose / Flickr Creative Commons

State education officials said Oklahoma’s new testing vendor “is absolutely not” tracking students on the Internet when monitoring social media in accordance with the state’s contract.

A provision in Measured Progress’ contract with Oklahoma calls for the New Hampshire-based education and testing vendor to monitor online platforms such as Twitter and Facebook for issues regarding testing. The company is supposed to report those issues to the state Department of Education.

Pages