I just wrapped up writing about the 2008 National Merit Scholarship winners in July.
But already, the list of nearly 200 Oklahoma students who are semifinalists in the 2009 National Merit Scholarship Program is out.
The 195 students are among 1,600 nationwide who will go on to compete for $35 million in college scholarships. About half will win, according to the National Merit Scholarship Corporation.
I did a few breakdowns of the list of Oklahoma semifinalists:
143 attend public schools.
42 attend private schools.
9 are homeschooled.
1 goes to a charter school.
Three schools yielded more than 10 semifinalists:
The Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics, with 22.
Jenks High School, with 14.
Holland Hall School in Tulsa, with 13.
The students qualified by earning the highest scores among state test-takers on the 2007 Preliminary SAT exam.
The list of seniors will be narrowed down to a list of finalists before the scholarship winners are announced in the coming months.
Click here for a list of all the Sooner semifinalists.
Prepare yourself: There are a lot of numbers in this blog.
But what they reflect is important: the amount of money given to districts with a lot of children living in poverty. That actually makes Title I the largest federal school funding program, for which figures were released today.
Oklahoma received 15.8 percent more in Title I school funding allocations this year than last year, the seventh-highest percentage increase of all the states, according to a report by the Center on Education Policy.
Title I funding nationally totaled $13.8 billion, and all states had increases except for Wisconsin.
The 2008-09 allocations, which in Oklahoma total $148.5 million, are based on the number of low-income children in the 2005 calendar year. Oklahoma was one of 17 states that saw a more than 10% increase in the number of low-income children from the 2004 to 2005 calendar years.
Oklahoma’s percentage of low-income children spiked 16.8 percent, a smaller jump than only Vermont, Hawaii, Maine, Nebraska and Idaho.
This spreadsheet shows how much each district in the state was allocated. Districts will likely receive less than their allocations after state adjustments for things like boundary changes and charter schools.
The districts in Oklahoma with the highest allocations are:
Oklahoma City – $22,277,435
Tulsa – $18,109,977
Lawton – $4,477,234
Putnam City – $4,431,600
Midwest City-Del City – $2,982,065
The districts in Oklahoma with the lowest allocations are:
Stidham – $8,545
Peckham – $0
Plainview (the one in Cimarron County) – $0
Reydon – $0
Straight – $0
Click here if you’re interested in how districts in other states fared.
I spent the last week at Columbia University in New York learning about the missions and challenges of community colleges across the nation.
The Hechinger Institute fellowship was an amazing opportunity to hear from college leaders, policy analysts and researchers about two-year colleges, which educate nearly one-half of our nation’s college students.
But one of the most inspirational moments took place not in the historic halls of Columbia’s Teachers College, but on the airplane ride home.
On the short flight from Dallas to Will Rogers, I met a young man named Luis. The high school senior from Boulder, Colo., was enroute to his sister’s home in Oklahoma City and then to apply for enrollment at Oklahoma City Community College.
Luis, who lives in a Colorado housing project, wants to study music and business. American Idol aside, this first-generation American has a passion for singing but knows he needs a college degree to succeed in any field.
He can’t afford the University of Colorado, but was told by a high school counselor to check into community colleges. While out-of-state tuition at OCCC is less than he’ll pay if he stays in Colorado, he hopes to qualify for financial aid as an emancipated minor.
Today, I planned to go through my notes from my week in New York and prepare a schedule of stories about community colleges. Instead I’ve been thinking about Luis and the journey he’s taking. It seems so much more momentous than anything I’ll do.
Susan Simpson, Education Writer