You can count on Jim Purcell to liven up a statistical report.
Purcell is the numbers guru at the State Regents for Higher Education. He compiles detailed, informative reports about the status of students, colleges and education funding in Oklahoma.
At today’s Regents meeting, he started a presentation about education trends with excerpts from a message sent in 1744 from The Indians of the Six Nations to William & Mary College.
“Several of our Young People were formerly brought up at the Colleges of the Northern Provinces: they were instructed in all your Sciences: but, when they came back to us, they were bad Runners, ignorant of every means of living in the Woods, unable to bear either Cold or Hunger, knew neither how to build a Cabin, take a Deer, or kill an Enemy, spoke our Language imperfectly, were therefore neither fit for Hunters, Warriors, nor Counselors; they were totally good for nothing.”
Purcell went on to talk about college-going rates and employment trends, but his introductory tale sure made me chuckle.
Maybe this is a no-brainer, but I found a Peterson’s survey about why students take AP courses interesting.
Although College Board oversees the AP program and wasn’t involved with the survey, Peterson’s is well-known for its education guidebooks and test preparation materials.
According to the approximately 300-student survey:
-AP courses are becoming ever more common.
-Last spring more than 1.2 million students around the globe took 2.1 million AP exams.
“This is no surprise considering the variety of benefits derived from taking AP courses and performing well on tests: earning college credit, demonstrating college-level proficiency to an admission committee and in-depth study of a subject. The powerful combination of these benefits was found to be the impetus behind taking AP courses for nearly half of college-bound students,” according to a Peterson’s press release.
-Almost one-third of college-bound respondents said they take AP classes primarily because it will look good on their transcripts.
-The best time- and money-saving benefit—earning college credit with a high score on the AP exam—was the primary reason for less than one in five students.
-Love of subject matter was indicated only by a few as a sole reason for taking AP classes; less than one in ten students selected it as the primary factor.
-Of students exploring seeking a graduate degree, four out of five took AP courses in high school. Of the remaining 20 percent who did not take AP courses, two-thirds wished they had.
-Likewise, nearly 50 percent of students looking into continuing education took an AP course in high school, and more than half of those who didn’t wish they had.
Three public school foundations have been selected as recipients of the 2007 Outstanding Program Awards for Local Education Foundations from the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence.
Recipients are the Century Club Campaign sponsored by the Bixby Educational Endowment Foundation; the Principal for a Day Program sponsored by the Edmond Public Schools Foundation and the Academic Quest/Leadership Training Program sponsored by the Poteau Schools Education Foundation.
The awards, which recognize innovative programs of public school foundations in Oklahoma, will be presented at the Fall Forum for Local Education Foundations on Oct. 23 at the University of Oklahoma.
The Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence is a nonprofit organization that recognizes and encourages academic excellence in public schools. OFE provides free training and resources to new and established local education foundations across the state.
“We wanted to honor these programs for the positive impact they have in promoting academic excellence in their communities,” said Karen Rose, director of Local Education Foundation Outreach for the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence. “In addition, we want to recognize these amazing programs at our Fall Forum so that other public school foundations in Oklahoma can be inspired by their success and perhaps develop similar programs in their own districts.”
Incoming Oklahoma City Public Schools Superintendent John Q. Porter will begin his duties July 1.
I caught up with Porter on his cell phone while he was attending an education conference.
He has been busy since he was introduced in April as the district’s next superintendent. Porter probably has tallied some decent frequent flier miles commuting between the Washington, D.C., area and the middle of the country. He even has attended at least one school board meeting.
Lawyer Porter previously was a deputy superintendent for the 140,000-student school system of Montgomery County, Md.
Interestingly, Porter graces the cover of the inaugural issue of Education Week’s Digital Directions magazine. This isn’t the first time he has been on the cover of an education-related magazine.
Digital Directions conducts a Q&A with Porter. He describes how fellow information officers at school districts have contacted him for advice on how to ascend to the top job. Porter also explains how he expected to return to private industry when he ended his stint with Montgomery but fell in love with education.
“But over time … I became hooked and developed a great passion for education. I felt I had something to give back, and when I was promoted to deputy [superintendent], it gave me the opportunity to really see the breadth of what it meant to be overseeing a school district,” he told the magazine.
Best of luck to the new super, who seems ready to hit the ground running. Keep an eye on The Oklahoman for a profile of Porter.
Meanwhile, check out the OKCPS press release announcing his selection.
It’s been a soggy walk to class for many Oklahoma college students this summer. In some areas, it’s rained nearly every day since classes started leading to sodden papers, muddy flip-flops and washed-out sidewalks.
At Southwestern Oklahoma State University in Weatherford, the heavy rains have caused up to $100,000 in damages. While classes haven’t been interrupted, a retaining wall near the tennis courts collapsed, and Upward Bound offices, the Commuter Lounge and some basements flooded so the flooring must be replaced.
I asked OSU Interim President Marlene Strathe last week how the Stillwater campus landscape is fairing.
She said it’s a challenge just keeping the grass mowed, and some areas of campus are starting to get overgrown, along with water collecting in low-lying areas.
How is your campus managing the abundance of tropical weather? E-mail me at email@example.com
I am turning into a micro-library here at my cubicle on The Oklahoman’s eighth-floor newsroom.
In recent weeks, my unsolicited additions have included:
The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Massage
What’s there to say about this except, why me? Not only am I single, but my hands tire quickly. That, and a lack of patience, were why I never learned to play the beautiful guitar I still have in my closet. A masseuse or rock guitarist I am not. However, the book, like the other idiot’s guides I have seen, is complete and useful.
The Insider’s Guide to the Colleges 2008 Edition
Well, I began college long enough ago to not want to share when that was. Can’t let the interns hear that there are thirty-somethings in the building. They might reconsider their career choice.
The staff of the Yale Daily News writes the annual compendium, which purports to tell future students what they really want to know about their colleges from students there. It’s also a pretty impressive book. I just wish I cared enough to read it. If I were going to college or had a college-age child, it likely would be one of several books I would use for a varied perspective before spending tens (even hundreds) of thousands of dollars.
It’s description of my alma-mater, the University of Tulsa, was a bit cheerleaderish but nevertheless a pretty good look at the school. I had a good enough experience there.
OK, this is great. I’m gonna hate having to part with it at our book grab. It’s a book about bugs, and three “Squash Me!” critters on the front — look to be a bee, mosquito and grasshopper — make bug sounds when you push the button. This is definitely a great way to elicit confused looks from co-workers.
The book’s pictures and ways to engage children are adorable (If you were an insect, what kind would you be? Check out the book to find out.), and it’s full of interesting facts about bugs. Did you know that one square yard of forest floor can contain as many as 1.5 million bugs. Sure, some of them are tiny and live in the soil, but they’re still there.
Buzz may have been intended for someone else here, but I got it and I’m holding onto it, at least for a little while.
This doesn’t include the Copy Editing for Dummies that I received a month or two ago and gave as a joke to a departing co-worker. Or the education policy books I often receive.
So, send me your books! New ones, please. Preferably ones that make noises.
Hot off the presses today is the Southern Regional Education Board’s 2007 Fact Book for Higher Education.
Despite the long title, there are lots of interesting statistics about Oklahoma in the publication, which notes that across the region, college is becoming less affordable at the same time as population changes continue.
* Enrollment of women increased 20 percent from 1995 to 2005, and the enrollment of black and Hispanic students went up 51 percent. Forty-six percent of Oklahoma freshmen who enrolled in public four-year colleges in 1999 graduated by 2005.
* The Hispanic population represented 47 percent of the state’s population growth from 1996 to 2006. By 2018, Hispanic students are expected to rise from 5 percent to 17 percent of Oklahoma’s public high school graduates. Black students are projected to decrease slightly from 9 percent to 8 percent of the state’s public high school graduates, and white students are expected to decline from 67 percent to 49 percent. American Indian students are expected to increase from 17 percent to 23 percent of graduates.
* For students in the middle fifth of family incomes, the cost of tuition and fees alone for one year at a public four-year college went from 5 percent of annual income in 2001 to 8 percent in 2006.
Read more at www.sreb.org
OSU Regents, meeting today in Tulsa, are recommending tuition and fee hikes of 9.9 percent — which for the sake of simplicity, we’ll just call 10 percent.
For an Oklahoma student working toward their bachelor’s degree, the increase equals about $500 a year.
That’s a lot, or not much, depending on your situation. I don’t know a lot of college students who want to spend half a grand more on tuition. That money could pay for a Spring Break trip to the beach, buy an X-box 360, get 100 pizzas from Little Ceasar’s or hire a private tutor or two so they don’t have to take calculus AGAIN.
But then again, would those students rather that OSU keep tuition the same and not be able to give 3 percent raises to faculty, or pay higher health insurance premiums? If top faculty leave because they can get better jobs elsewhere, the quality of student education will certainly suffer.
It’s quite the dilemma and I’m glad I’m not making the tough choices. It reminds me of the adage, “A cheap education is not good, and a good education is not cheap.”
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?