Educators should be paid like babysitters, says EducationNews.org columnist Robert Archer, who’s going on his 13th year as an English teacher in Washington state. They should be paid baby-sitting wages not to insult them over the work they do, but because he figures they would make more money. Archer admits he doesn’t have all the kinks worked out for his idea, which is based on what his children’s babysitter charges, but it’s an intriguing one to read nonetheless — just click here.
Meanwhile, this article from Education Week illustrates what some school districts nationwide are facing as the economy stumbles. Their actions, such as halting new school construction, are compounded by worries about future hits if sales tax revenue declines further as consumer spending constricts.
And this bit of news out of Tulsa gives a glimpse into how the state’s largest district is dealing with both factors: teacher pay and a tight budget.
Share your thoughts on teacher pay and school funding — particularly the views in the above links — below in the comments section.
-PERSONAL LOOK AT DISTRICT LAYOFFS: More than 60 central office employees in the Dallas school district were shown the door at the start of this week, and more cuts – including teachers - could be on the way later today as officials try to remedy an $84 million budget shortfall. Here’s a view on the situation from Donald Claxton, who briefly headed the communications department at Oklahoma City Public Schools under former Superintendent John Porter after working in the Dallas district.
-BOYCOTT MOVES TO THE BALL FIELD: An Illinois state senator from Chicago took his stab at school funding reform to last night’s playoff game between the Cubs and the Dodgers last night. Sen. James Meeks also led a student boycott of lower performing schools at the start of the year.
-CONFUSING STUDENT ASSESSMENTS: This Washington Post story talks about a literacy program’s assessments that start on a seemingly arbitrary scale of 2 to 16 and then switch to the letters J through P. I’m not questioning the scale or the program there, but the article did make me think about whether parents can always understand how their students are evaluated.
The reading time with students is part of a national effort to break the world record for the number of children reading the same book with adults on the same day.
Some of my favorite books to read at the age of Garrett’s audience today — prekindergarten through second-grade children — were the “Amelia Bedelia” stories.
What are your favorite childhood books?
There was a parade of top teachers as district Teachers of the Year crossed a stage at the Oklahoma State Fair on Tuesday for recognition. Then later, there was a parade of prizes after Heather Sparks was named as the 2009 Oklahoma Teacher of the Year.
The announcer joked over the loudspeaker that he felt a bit like Bob Barker just before introducing the priciest of them all: a new car!
Sparks’ entire prize package is valued at $50,000. The Oklahoma City School District, where she teaches, received an additional $5,000 cash award.
Here are the awards Sparks received:
$100 savings bond, Education Retirement Services
$250 cash award, AFT-Oklahoma
$1,000 gift card, American Fidelity Assurance Company
$1,000 cash award, Stillwater National Bank of Oklahoma City
$2,000 cash award, Data Recognition Corporation
$5,000 cash award, Masonic Fraternity of Oklahoma
(When asked what his mother should do with all the money, Sparks’ youngest son, 10-year-old Harrison, told me she should give it all to him.)
$1,750 stipend, Marvin Stokes Endowed Lecture at East Central University
36 hours graduate tuition waiver, Oklahoma State University
36 hours graduate tuition waiver, University of Central Oklahoma
36 hours graduate tuition waiver, Northeastern State University
36 hours graduate tuition waiver and 16 hours undergraduate tuition waiver for the winner’s child or a local student, University of Oklahoma
One-year full tuition waiver for the winner’s child or a local student, University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma
One year of professional services, AFT-Oklahoma
One year of professional services, Oklahoma Education Association
One year of professional services, Professional Oklahoma Educators
Classroom Performance System, eInstruction
SMART Board with projector and accompanying software, SMART Technologies
Technology training workshops, SMARTer Kids Foundation
Framed certificate, Oklahoma State Fair
Glass trophy, Midwest Trophy Manufacturing Company
Rose bouquet and plaque, Professional Oklahoma Educators
Lapel pin, Oklahoma Chapter of the National State Teachers of the Year
Art print, American Fidelity Assurance Company
Book, Oklahoma Historical Society
Gift basket and one-year family zoo membership, Oklahoma City Zoological Society
Laptop computer, Oklahoma Schools Insurance Group
Toyota Prius for one year, Gulf States Toyota
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.
This is a follow-up to a story link I posted a while back.
Hundreds of students in Illinois are spending the first day of classes trying to enroll in higher-performing schools instead of in seats at their home sites. Students and their parents say they hope their protest will highlight disparities in Chicagoans’ education along the socioeconomic divide.
People on both sides of the issue have compelling arguments: one side saying the protest sends the wrong message to kids, the other saying that taking a stand is their best shot at rectifying an unequal education system. Which camp do you fall into?
Read the full story here, and then share your thoughts.
Parenting expert Michele Borba recommends having your child help you make a list of supplies, then look for store flyers to find the best deals. Younger children that can’t write can cut out photos of the supplies they want.
Together you can make a budget with your child, and then hit the store to gather the goodies. Borba said allowing your child to pay for the items (using a gift card or your credit card) also can help teach them financial responsibility.
Borba also recommends that families stock up on supplies that are real bargains. Sure you may only need five notebooks, but if they are 5-cents each, why not buy 50?
What advice do you have for buying school supplies? E-mail me at email@example.com or comment here.
Susan Simpson, Education Writer
The annual meeting of CareerTech educators and administrators started today in a new location — downtown Oklahoma City. (Previously, meetings have been held in Tulsa.) But CareerTech state director Phil Berkinbile had another locale in mind in his opening address — DisneyWorld.
He said Walt Disney’s dream started with a drawing of a mouse and a vision of greatness. CareerTech doesn’t have Mickey Mouse but it does aim “to help make dreams and success a reality for Oklahomans,” he said.
The CareerTech system of vocational technical schools across the state helps tens of thousands of high school students and adults each year gain job readiness skills, and for many, a start on a college education.
But the system also struggles with higher operating costs amid stagnant state funding, loss of many Baby Boomer instructors to retirement, and a significant high school drop out rate.
Still, CareerTech graduates add $2 billion annually to the state’s economy, Berkinbile said.
Now that’s a mouse that roars.
Susan Simpson, Education Writer
Phillips Academy Andover looks more like a college campus than a traditional high school. Of course, it is one of the nation’s most prestigious college-prep boarding schools.
It’s also where one graduate of the Knowledge Is Power Program in Oklahoma City will head this month to continue her studies.
Alexis Walker was accepted to the school in Andover, Mass., which happens to be my husband’s hometown. He attended the town’s public high school, but he still showed me the boarding school from the outside during one of my visits.
A few interesting facts he shared with me about the campus: It’s where high-profile people like Presidents George W. Bush and John F. Kennedy, Jr., as well as New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick went to school. It’s also where Uncle Tom’s Cabin author Harriet Beecher Stowe is buried.
Four of Walker’s classmates also were accepted to selective boarding schools, KIPP spokeswoman Mautra Jones said.
From left to right: Annetta O’Leru, Karice King, Kadijah Newton, Christian Walker and Alexis Walker.
-Annetta O’Leru, St. George’s in Newport, R.I.
-Karice King, Lake Forest Academy in Lake Forest, Ill.
-Kadijah Newton, Chatham Hall in Chatham, Va.
-Christian Walker, The Hotchkiss School in Lakeville, Conn.
The students all received scholarships worth $35,000 or more per year to attend. Jones said 29 students have received almost $2.5 million in scholarships to boarding and private high schools since 2006 when KIPP graduated its first class.