Will OSU Regents raise tuition? You betcha!
OSU Regents meet Friday in Tulsa to determine — among other things –tuition and fees for the coming year.
They will go up. They always do.
Even last year, a banner year for higher ed funding, saw the state’s public universities and colleges raising tuition by an average 5.8 percent.
This year was hardly banner. State Regents got far less than they asked for, and fear that campuses won’t have enough money to cover mandatory cost increases like health insurance premiums and utilities, let alone give any pay raises.
State Regents also haven’t decided whether to honor legislative earmarks to pay for capital projects at some campuses, meaning OSU could lose up to $2 million it wanted for ag research and outreach.
Yet in the midst of this uncertainty, OSU leaders are asked to define tuition and fee rates for fall. Those rates then must be approved by State Regents, who last year kept all increases under 10 percent.
Who knows how all this will work out. Parents of OSU students really have no idea what they’ll be paying in two months. Right now tuition and fees average $4,996 a year at OSU. A 10 percent increase would add another $500 to the bill.
Would that be a big deal to you? And what other options do you think universities have? Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org
When I was in middle-school, fancy calculators were the newest technology. Cell phones, personal computers and iPods were dreams of the future.
Today, my four-year-old plays on our multiple home computers, while my nine-year-old stepdaughter would love her own cell phone and has owned an iPod for years.
Thank goodness I’m not a school teacher trying to implement all this technology into the classroom. I’d be totally lost.
The George Lucas Educational Foundation asked teachers to ask their students which technologies they’d like to see in the classroom. The foundation recognized that while students have grown up immersed in a world of technology, the typical school relects little or none of this gadgetry.
Here’s what the students came up with:
Laptops: Students don’t want to carry heavy books, paper and folders. If the workplace is computer-oriented, why isn’t the classroom?
Cell phones: One new service lets students create electronic flash cards to help with studying for tests.
Public-Address Systems that play music between classes.
Web cams so students can talk to other kids across the world.
Bluetooth: A wireless-connectivity standard that lets electronic devices exchange information.
Video Cameras to tape the class and study it later or download it to the school Web site.
Some schools are probably already trying to implement these suggestions, and more you can find at www.edutopia.org.
What would you suggest?
When I was a high school senior, I took English Comp I and II at my local community college.
I was able to earn six hours of college credit before graduating high school.
At the time, I would have told you the main perk was that the scheduling allowed me to get out of school earlier each day than my non-college going peers.
But there was one surprise. I was a good English student in high school, so the relative rigor of the college class caught me off-guard. I couldn’t fudge my way through my assignments, I actually had to put some effort into the work.
That was probably the biggest benefit to my experience. I got to experience what it really takes to succeed in college — or at least in Comp I and II. I went back to that community college after graduating high school and earned my associate’s degree.
I don’t remember what the tuition was when I was concurrently enrolled two decades ago, or whether it was a struggle for my family.
Today’s high school seniors have a much better deal. They can take six hours of college credit for free, thanks to legislation passed several years ago. State Regents reimburse colleges for most of the cost of these classes.
Are you or a relative taking advantage of concurrent enrollment? I want to hear your story. Email me at email@example.com
At one middle school in Virginia, high-fives are out.
So is holding hands. And hugging could get students in big trouble.
Kilmer Middle School, in a D.C. suburb, has a no-touching rule that some say goes too far.
Student Hal Beaulieu got busted recently for putting his arm around his girlfriend’s shoulder. The 13-year-old was let off with a warning, but a repeat offense could put him in detention.
“I think hugging is a good thing,” Hal said in an Associated Press story. He and his parents are asking the school board to review the rule.
The school principal defends the policy, saying it aims to make sure students are comfortable in crowded hallways, and also to ward off gang handshakes and finger poking that can turn into fights.
I wonder if the rule applies to school athletics. You can’t tackle another football player if you can’t touch. And what if a coach pats a player on the back?
And what about prom? I guess slow dancing would be a no-no.
Does the no-touching rule at this school seem reasonable to you?
This came from the Census Bureau. It’s a bit premature, but interesting nonetheless.
“Summertime is winding down, and summer vacations are coming to an end. It’s back-to-school time! It’s a time that many children eagerly anticipate — catching up with old friends, making new ones and settling into a new daily routine. Parents and children alike are scanning the newspapers and Web sites looking for upcoming sales to shop for a multitude of school supplies and the latest clothing fads and essentials,” according to a Census Bureau press release.
Among the tidbits the Census sent, mere weeks after school let out in the state, are:
The amount of money spent at family clothing stores in Aug. 2006. Only in November and December were sales significantly higher. Similarly, sales at bookstores in Aug. 2006 totaled
$2.1 billion, an amount approached in 2006 only by sales in January and December.
For back-to-school shopping, choices of retail establishments abound: In 2005, there were 24,659 family clothing stores, 6,305 children and infants clothing stores, 26,416 shoe stores, 9,501 office supplies and stationery stores, 23,195 sporting goods stores, 11,077 bookstores and 9,589 department stores.
The number of children and adults enrolled in school throughout the country in Oct. 2005 — from nursery school to college. That amounts to about one-fourth of the U.S. population ages 3 and older.
Pre-K through 12
The projected number of students to be enrolled in the nation’s elementary and high schools (grades K-12) this fall.
Projected percentage of elementary and high school students enrolled in private schools this fall.
Percentage of elementary and high school students with at least one foreign-born parent in Oct. 2005.
Percentage of children ages 12 to 17 who participated in sports as of 2003.
Percentage of children 12 to 17 who were enrolled in school and academically “on track” (i.e., enrolled in school at or above the grade level for peers their age) as of 2003.
Percentage of children ages 12 to 17 who were in a special class for gifted students or did advanced work in any subject, such as honors and advanced placement classes, as of 2003.
Percentage of children ages 12 to 17 who had ever attended or been enrolled in first grade or higher and had changed schools at some point as of 2003.
Number of school-age children (ages 5 to 17) who speak a language other than English at home, about one in five in this age group. Most of them (7.5
million) speak Spanish at home.
Average number of children participating each month in the national school lunch program in 2006.
Learning and Earning
Percentage of high school students who were employed as of Oct. 2005.
Percentage of full-time college students who were employed as of Oct. 2005.
How Many Schools?
Number of public elementary and secondary schools in 2003-04. The corresponding number of private elementary and secondary schools was 28,384.
Number of students who were home-schooled in 2003. That was 2 percent of all students ages 5 to 17.
The number of public charter schools nationwide in 2004-05. These schools enrolled 887,000 students.
Teachers and Other School Personnel
Number of teachers in the United States in 2006.
Average annual salary of public elementary and secondary school teachers in Connecticut as of the 2003-2004 school year — the highest of any state.
Teachers in South Dakota received the lowest pay — $33,200. The national average was $46,800. High school principals earned $86,938 annually in 2004-05.
Average hourly wage for the nation’s school bus drivers in 2004-05.
Custodians earned $12.61, while cafeteria workers made $10.33.
Number of computers available for classroom use in the nation’s elementary and secondary schools as of the 2005-2006 school year. That works out to one computer for every four students.
Percentage of public schools with Internet access as of fall 2003.
83% and 43%
Percentage of children ages 3 to 17 using a computer and the Internet, respectively, at school as of fall 2003.
Among children ages 3 to 17 accessing the Internet in fall 2003, whether at home, school or elsewhere, the percentage who used it to complete school assignments. This was the most common reason for children to use the Internet.
Among children ages 3 to 17 using a computer at home in fall 2003, the percentage who used it to complete school assignments. This was the second most common home computer use for children, behind playing games.
OSU students studying the science of life had to deal with the sickening smell of death this week.
A large, walk-in size, freezer in the Life Sciences West building malfunctioned nearly one month ago leading to the slow thawing and rotting of animals used for student research.
According to a story in the OSU student newspaper, the doors to the freezer were jammed and physical plant workers didn’t try to fix the problem until the stench of leaking, rotting flesh filled the building.
Inside the freezer were snakes, fish, rats, frogs and — get this — an adult camel that may have been donated many years ago by a zoo. Posthumously, of course.
One research assistant who helped clean up the mess yesterday said it was “very gross and mushy.”
I’m sure it was.
Two Pauls Valley high school students will compete against the nation’s best up-and-coming auto mechanics and technicians.
Christopher Johnson and Jesse Cobb, both juniors at Mid America Technical Center in Wayne, are among the 100 chosen — two from each state — to repair a bugged Ford Fusion in front of the automaker’s Dearborn, Mich., headquarters on June 26.
The teams will face off in a timed challenge to diagnose, repair and drive across the finish line in the 2007 model off-kilter cars.
“Skilled auto technicians are in growing demand from consumers and the automotive industry,” the automaker said in a press release. “With the increase in hybrids and alternative fuel vehicles, plus ever more computer-controlled systems, trained automotive technicians are essential to keeping our vehicles well-serviced and in safe, working order. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show 34,000 new technicians will be needed every year through 2014, across the country.”
The top 10 winning teams winners receive scholarships and prizes valued at more than $6 million total to help further their education and training as auto technicians and engineers.
Teams won a berth in the finals with the combined best scores on comprehensive qualifying exams and hands-on competition in their states.
I spoke yesterday to Ginger Tinney, executive director of the Association of Professional Oklahoma Educators, which has 3,000 members.
Although I called Tinney to talk about teacher job fairs, the issues of teacher recruitment, retention and enticement to remain in Oklahoma are intertwined and came into our discussion.
While I don’t think throwing money at something always fixes it, it is clear that money is what drives many of Oklahoma’s teachers — especially young, newly minted professionals — to Texas and elsewhere.
Granted, the cost of living is greater in many Texas locales, and some districts that offer the greatest pay do so because they are hard-to-work places or need Spanish-speaking teachers. These include those in the inner city, West Texas, etc.
Other voracious recruiters are, in my experience, rapidly growing near-city (note I didn’t say suburban) districts that have to meet changing needs and meet them yesterday.
Aldine Independent School District, a predominantly Hispanic district of 58,000 students about 15 miles north of downtown Houston, is known around the state for being especially aggressive in recruiting teachers and paying them well. Starting salaries for Aldine (pronounced All-deen) teachers are $40,000 to $69,000. Bilingual teachers receive a $4,000 signing bonus as well.
If you’ve flown into George Bush Intercontinental Airport, you’ve flown into Aldine ISD.
So, there definitely is a pay differential, which brings me back to Tinney.
Market conditions affect teachers the same as computer programmers or nurses. She said market conditions would become more pronounced.
Add to this the facts that 50 percent of teachers quit within five years and fewer people are seeking education degrees.
Tinney predicted districts increasingly may have to offer housing assistance, signing bonuses and ensure they put on the hard sell when they pitch teachers to commit.
In other words, aggressive recruitment looks like a fact of life, and districts may have to find the money to compete with their peers statewide and nationwide.
Your thoughts on this?
What makes a good school?
Is it dedicated teachers who go above and beyond? Is it visionary, unshackled administrators? Is it enthusiastic students? Involved parents? Strict adherence to test scores? Disregard of test scores?
Tulsa’s John Burroughs Elementary won a Title I Academic Achievement Award this year. The school, 100 percent of whose students qualify for free lunches, sits near rebounding neighborhoods and some of north Tulsa’s most grand historic homes in the Reservior Hill area.
Its students are poor yet have performed well in recent years on state tests. In a submission for the Title I award, Burroughs Principal Kartina McDaniel described things the school does. They include:
-Closely aligning curriculum with the Oklahoma Priority Academic Student Skills, or PASS
-Using benchmark testing to determine students strengths and weaknesses and intervening when necessary
-Providing additional tutoring to students, and providing a fifth-grade writing academy before the fifth-grade writing test
-Providing a daily, uninterrupted 90-minute reading block
-Using an additional 30 to 45 minutes a day to enhance reading instruction
-Monthly data team meetings to review students’ progress and make adjustments
-Attempts to incorporate professional development opportunities into the school’s weekly routine
-Partnering with businesses and churches for academic incentives, “community awareness projects,” building social skills and involving parents
-Offering parent academies that address parents’ needs
I’d like to hear what you think makes a good school. E-mail me and let me know.
Next time your kid says he wants to join the circus, think twice before you burst out laughing.
I just returned from a vacation in the Florida Keys and Sarasota, which was home for many decades to the Ringling family of circus fame. The Ringling estate is one of the area’s top tourist attractions. One ticket will get you access to two Circus museums, the opulent Ringling Museum of Art and the family’s decadent bayside mansion.
But circus life is not just in Sarasota’s past — the legacy continues among the town’s youth.
Sailor Circus, founded in 1949 as a Sarasota High School program, is open to students ages 8 to 18. Now operated by the Police Athletic League of Sarasota, the program aims to teach students the skills and responsibilities of the circus. But it’s not all trapeze and tumbling, set preparation and selling snacks. They students also learn the trust, drive and cooperation needed to accomplish goals.
Sailor Circus no doubt has launched a few high-flying careers. But more importantly, it has helped some at-risk youth gain the confidence and determination to turn their lives around.
What do you think about such a program? Could it work here? We aren’t a circus town, but there is a huge rodeo culture here. How about a Cowboy Camp that teaches bronc riding and barrel racing to less advantaged youth?