Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Random Ramblings about #oklaed

Okay, its been about 6 weeks since my last post. Sorry for the absence, but its been a crazy couple of weeks. I just completed my Doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction (FINALLY!) and just changed jobs. I am now the Superintendent of Alex Public Schools. For the record, just as in Clinton, the words on this page reflect my personal views and are not necessarily the views of Alex Public Schools or the Alex Board of Education. 

  • About the Election:  
    • How can you justify voting to re-elect the current State Supt when she doesn't even know how many tests a 5th grader takes? JB's answer was 2; the correct answer is 5 (reading, writing, math, science, and social studies) if you only count OCCT. It is 6 if you include the "item try out" test this year, maybe 7 if you include the required Arts Assessment.  JB went on to say the test only takes about 2 hours. If you look at the test administration manual (you can look at page 4 by clicking here), the suggested multiple choice test times for Math, Reading, Science, and Social Studies are 7.5 hours. The Writing test has a suggested time of 90 minutes (you can look on page 4 here).  
    • Talk about Double Talk! Did anyone else notice during the Flash Point debate how JB said she works with educators everyday to seek input into reforms, but then told Kirk Humphreys (who was a little more than biased in my opinion) she wouldn't listen to educators and couldn't work with teachers, principals and superintendents to implement reforms? Which is it? You listen to professionals or your don't? Make up your mind.

    • The Daily Oklahoman ran an article suggesting we give JB another 4 years to get some of the mistakes she made in her first term corrected? You have got to be kidding me. How sad is that.
    • Can you really smear your opponent for not being sensitive to the needs of special needs students after you intentionally released their names and addresses to your campaign AND printed their names, disabilities, and GPA's (illegally I might add) in a State Board of Education meeting agenda? 

    • Next time JB says she works with educators and educational stakeholders, I want somebody to ask for names, places, and dates! I'm betting a vast majority of people she claims to work with are either teachers from the charter schools she helped start, a political policy adviser from FEE or ALEC, or works for a vendor.
  • About Education in General:

    • HB2625 only weakens the RSA law if you have a general distrust in the decision making of educators! 2625 gives local control over the extenuating circumstances of local children. I know at my school we will take the grade placement committee option very seriously. I trust teachers and school personnel to make the best decision possible. Why doesn't our State Supt or our Governor trust teachers? If you trust a teacher to supervise children from August through May, but do not trust them to make educational decisions, then I submit you view teachers as baby sitters and not professional educators.
    • If the AF accountability system is as accurate, valid, and simple as the public has been led to believe, then why did it take 10 versions over several weeks to get a final result? I know my former school's AF grade was incorrect, how many others are wrong? 
    • CCSS vs. PASS vs. C3 vs. OAsS vs CCR, vs OCCRA vs PARCC vs ACT vs ACE vs RSA vs ETC. Seriously, what #oklaed  needs is a acronym department!
    • Testing - I agree with the educational philosophy of 'test less and teach more'. I'm all about data driven decision making, and I fully believe in using diagnostic & formative assessments to drive instruction. There has got to be a middle ground where policy wonks can have the accountability system they desire and teachers can have the testing they need to be better at their jobs.

    • Shouldn't everyone be striving to give children the love of learning?
    • Wouldn't it be nice if teachers were valued like other professionals? Maybe our pay wouldn't be so low that teachers leave the profession to go manage a Wal-mart or drive a truck in the oil field. If you are like me and believe the greatest educational tool ever invented was a teacher, then you must also believe the profession of teaching can't survive on the charity of good Samaritans and those who couldn't do anything else. As Kevin Hime has said ever since I've known him, "you can't have teacher quality until you have teacher quantity". I have always understood this to mean that until we have multiple GREAT teachers applying for the same job every time, there will always be a place for the ineffective teacher to go. Kids deserve a great, inspirational, effective teacher in every classroom!