Go to about 2:35 and you can see the studnets of Edwards Elementary. They even get a special shout out at the end (4:05).
Oklahoma City Councilman Ryan invited Oklahoma City School Board Member Lyn Watson onto his weekly show. Here’s what she had to say about the happenings of District 1.
OKLAHOMA CITY – Now that many lawmakers are calling for a freeze on judicial pay and the salaries of all statewide officeholders, state Rep. Jason Nelson said it’s time to also freeze school superintendent salaries.
“Last year we saw hundreds of instances of superintendents getting pay raises while furloughing teachers and increasing class sizes,” said Nelson, R-Oklahoma City. “If it doesn’t make sense to give statewide officeholders a pay raise while Oklahoma is climbing out of recession, the same thing holds true for school superintendents at a time when education budgets have been cut. They should not be getting pay raises when teachers are being asked to do more with less.”
In a recent report, Oklahoma Watchdog found that 356 Oklahoma district superintendents (more than two-thirds) received some form of compensation increase this year. The combined expense of those raises was an extra $1.4 million annually.
Oklahoma Watchdog found that 37 of the superintendents receiving raises oversaw districts placed on the State Department of Education’s “Needs Improvement” list and 16 of those individuals received raises of $5,000 or more .
The Board of Judicial Compensation recently recommended pay increases for judges. Since the compensation of judges and statewide officials is linked, both would get a raise under that proposal.
State Rep. Scott Inman, leader of the House Democratic caucus, has been one of the most vocal critics of potential pay increases for statewide officeholders even though none of those officials could receive a salary increase during their current term in office.
Nelson said the Del City lawmaker should now join him in opposing superintendent pay raises.
“To protect school funding, we have to do more than oppose phantom pay raises that no current statewide officeholder is eligible to receive,” Nelson said. “It is ridiculous to complain about phantom pay raises for current statewide elected officials while ignoring $1.4 million in real pay raises for superintendents across the state.”
Last year, Nelson filed House Bill 1746 to require schools to spend at least 65 percent of funds on direct instructional activities within three years.
That bill included a provision that would have prevented superintendents from furloughing teachers without first having their financial plan reviewed by the State Board of Education so that classroom teachers would be protected.
“My legislation would have protected teachers from layoffs and furloughs, yet it was opposed by superintendents and their allies, including Representative Inman,” Nelson said. “I hope he and other opponents will now join me in standing up for teachers.”
Nelson praised State Superintendent of Public Instruction Janet Barresi, who announced she would not accept a pay raise when the issue was first raised this month.
“Superintendent Barresi did the right thing for Oklahoma students,” Nelson said. “Given that many local school superintendents are paid more than the governor or state superintendent, there is clearly no reason for local administrators to get a pay raise at the expense of teachers and classroom funding. It’s time to freeze superintendent pay.”
Oklahoma City schools Superintendent Karl Springer left me a voicemail last night referring to yesterday’s post about the Dallas district layoffs. Here’s part of his message:
“Hi Wendy, it’s Karl Springer. Hey, I’ve been reading your blog on the Dallas Independent School District. We have openings in Oklahoma City for some teachers – several elementary positions. Be nice to be able to get some of those people from Dallas to apply.”
If you know someone who was affected, you might want to pass this information along. A list of vacant positions is available here: www.okcps.org/jobs/okcpsvacancy.pdf.
Expected layoffs came today for teachers across the Dallas Independent School District. This is a simple post to send you over to the Dallas Morning News’ education blog, where you can read posts from those teachers and their colleagues about the impact today is having. Some comments are rather poignant.
CutoutDissection.com. It’s more than a Web site. It’s also the legal name of a North Carolina 19-year-old formerly known as Jennifer Thornburg.
Thornburg changed her name and started a Web site by the same name to protest animal dissections in schools, according to this article.
Separately, Oklahoma City science teacher Sherry Groeger-Godwin was selected from Northeast Academy as one of 185 middle and high school teachers nationwide as a fellow in the year-long 2008 New Science Teacher Academy. The program is designed to curb what the National Science Teachers Association says is a high attrition rate of science teachers.
Groeger-Godwin is one of four teachers selected from Oklahoma. The others are Holdenville resident Orvilla Coleman of Moss Public School in Holdenville, Mead resident Angela Joines of Silo Public School in Durant, and Pryor resident Leland “Terry” Newton of Union Intermediate High School in Broken Arrow.
Share your thoughts on dissections and science education in general in the comments section below.
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.
First, a follow-up to a story earlier this week that bullying affects one-third of Oklahoma children. Newsweek magazine published this timely article about just how those who are bullied come to be targeted. The link is counterintuitive according to the article: children who are bullied start out as children who show aggression early in their lives.
And second, two stories related to reading. TIME magazine reports that reading — by all accounts a sedentary activity — may actually help young girls lose weight. And this New York Times story talks about the new idea of linking books and video games together.
Share your comments on these stories below, or share links to other national education news that caught your attention.
-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.
That’s why the Education Writers Association is planning a glossary of terms for journalists.
Some of the terms EWA may define for reporters like me are: scaffolding, data-driven decision making, intervention, mainstreaming, critical thinking, rubric and formative assessment.
I used to have a rubric’s cube …. but not sure what those other words mean. (Yes, I know it’s a Rubik’s Cube!)
Of course, journalists have their own brand of jargon that educators may not understand. A “lede” is the beginning of a news story. A “mug” is generally a head-shot and not a police line-up.
What edu-speak do you use or not understand? Let me know and we’ll figure it out.
Susan Simpson, Education Writer