Saturday, November 29, 2008

2009 Stamp Preview

The 2009 Stamps have been announced and you can find a commemorative preview at the postal web site. There was also a preview of another new stamp, this one honoring comedian Bob Hope. It looks like another great opportunity for you to use the stamps and what they represent in your lesson plans.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Obama's Secretary of Education

This blog post at Newsweek exams a variety of potential people for this position. The post tackles the issue from a number of perspectives and raises possibilities from a variety of education backgrounds.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving 2008

I hope all of you have a great Thanksgiving with family and friends. We celebrate twice, once with Katherine's family and later in the day with my family. The gatherings are so special and it is a way for us to all be together again despite our busy lives.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Urban League's Awards Luncheon

OEA members and staff attended the Urban League's 2008 Equal Opportunity Summit Awards Luncheon where State Superintendent Sandy Garrett and INTEGRIS Health were honored for their leadership and contributions in improving urban education.

Oklahoma City Public Schools Superintendent Karl Springer and Tulsa Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Keith Ballard shared their thoughts and ideas about turning their districts into the best urban education districts in the country.

Dr. Ballard addressed a number of issues including funding. He told about a recent experience with the father of a teacher who was disappointed his daughter went to teach in Kansas. The district there was paying her $10,000 more a year. The father wanted his daughter to move back but she couldn't take the pay cut.

Dr. Ballard said raising Oklahoma's per pupil expenditure to the regional average would bring that man's daughter back to Oklahoma and keep quality teachers in state. He also said raising the per pupil expenditure is important because our kids deserve the best.

His concerns can be addressed by HOPE-SQ 744. Oklahoma can get to the regional average by its passage. Help us make a difference by supporting HOPE.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Honoring Family on Veteran's Day

While I think of them often, today, on Veteran's Day, I want to give special thanks to my family members who served our country in the military and returned home from their duties.

Grandpa Huebner-WW I
My Dad-WW II
Uncle Wayne-WW II
Uncle Wally-WW II
My Father-in-law-Cold War/Berlin Wall Construction
Uncle Dick-Korea
Uncle Bill-Korea
Uncle Don-Vietnam
Uncle Ray-Vietnam

Check out the photo tribute to the surviving WW I Vets.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Mixed Reviews for KIPP Schools

“Realistic Expectations” Urged for KIPP Schools

SchoolsExpert says existing research offers positive but mixed picture

EAST LANSING, Mi., (November 10, 2008) – With its reputation for high standards, highly committed teachers and longer school days, the Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP) has been widely hailed as a model for urban education. A new policy brief concludes that available evidence indicates that KIPP is indeed providing good opportunities for students, but it also warns that some claims are exaggerated; the current evidence incomplete and policymakers should proceed with cautious optimism.

The policy brief What Do We Know About the Outcomes of KIPP Schools? is written by Professor Jeffrey R. Henig, an expert on urban education reform and charter schools at Teachers College, Columbia University. It was released today by the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice.

KIPP, which is a charter school provider, operates nearly 50 schools in the U.S., including ones in Washington, D.C., Houston, and New York City. KIPP schools have drawn praise for their work with urban, poor and minority students. A large-scale study of KIPP using a randomized design is underway, but it is not expected to be completed for five years. Because policymakers and others are already looking to the KIPP model for guidance, Henig’s brief takes a close look at the seven strongest existing studies, which together offer several important insights into the strengths and weaknesses of the model.

Henig’s brief presents several positive findings:

*Students who enter and stay in KIPP schools do tend to perform better than comparable students in more traditional public schools.

*The better performance does not appear to be attributable to selective admissions.

*KIPP students tend to be minorities, and many have performed poorly in previous schools.

But the brief also raises at least two serious questions:

*KIPP student turnover appears to be high and “selective.” Those who leave tend to be lower-performing students to begin with and to have performed less well while at KIPP. “Such attrition, if it were taken into consideration, would reduce the size of gains in reports that simply compare KIPP eight graders with those in their host districts,” Henig writes. But the evidence, he adds, is not enough to suggest that attrition alone accounts for the academic advantages that KIPP students appear to enjoy.

*While the enthusiasm of KIPP teachers is high, heavy demands on them and on KIPP leaders tend to promote high teacher turnover “and an unrelieved pressure to find and train new people,” Henig writes.

Henig notes that the extended-day policy at KIPP schools – 9.5 hours per day, plus summer and Saturday classes – has attracted a great deal of attention. But hard evidence does not yet link KIPP’s longer school day to the program’s success. Moreover, attempts to transport this part of the model to other schools may be met with objections from many parents and taxpayers.

Henig writes that KIPP is a model worth studying. However, at this point he does not recommend treating it as a prototype or a substitute for broader, systemic school reforms. It offers “a possible source of information and guidance” to education policy questions. But, he concludes, “Policymakers and others should have realistic expectations. There are significant unanswered questions about how expansion might affect outcomes, especially in relation to the difficulty of sustaining any gains attributable to KIPP’s heavy demands on teachers and school leaders.”

Find Jeffrey R. Henig’s report What Do We Know About the Outcomes of KIPP Schools? on the web at:

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Republicans Control Oklahoma Legislature

Congratulations to the winners of the Oklahoma House and Senate races. For the first time in state history, the Republicans will be in control of the legislature. I look forward to working with the leadership teams of both parties as we advance the cause of public education.

Oklahoma has a great opportunity to address the needs of our schools so they can provide a quality workforce for business. Oklahoma can send a strong message to the rest of the country about the greatness of our state by investing in education. That investment will bring businesses to Oklahoma and make us competitive with the rest of the USA and countries around the world.

Our opportunities will be achieved by investing in our kids.

Friday, November 07, 2008

More Speculation on Obama's Secretary of Education

Here is another list of potential appointees for the top education post. Some of the names are ones you've heard about and others will surprise you.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

President Obama's Secretary of Education

There are a number of names being discussed for the Secretary of Education cabinet position. Colin Powell will not serve, Caroline Kennedy is mentioned, and a number of other names including Linda Darling-Hammond, James Hunt and Janet Napolitano are part of a list compiled by Paul Basken for The Chronicle of Education.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Early Voting Continues

The early voting period ends today at 6pm. If you're worried about long lines on Tuesday, you can vote today, but don't be surprised if the lines are long today. When the early voting period opened on Friday, the line was long both getting in to vote and finding a place to park.

Make a difference---VOTE.