Saturday, April 18, 2009

Tulsa Rally Against SB 834-Ask the Governor for a Veto

Four hundred people, including teachers from several districts, attended the anti- SB 834 rally held in Tulsa on Thursday night. The rally got tremendous press coverage, including one station's helicopter, as a number of elected representatives spoke before the crowd. You can go to Channel Six and see a good video about the event.

Greer Nichols, Broken Arrow President, got the crowd fired up and chants of veto could be heard throughout the rally. Greer turned it over to the speakers that included Representatives Jeannie McDaniel, Eric Proctor and Lucky Lamons, and Senator Kenneth Corn who is running for Lt. Governor. Also speaking were TCTA President Denzel Kesterson and me.

You can contact Governor Henry and ask him to veto the bill by going here.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

SB 834: House Approval as a Bad Bill Moves Forward

It's time for everyone to contact the Governor and ask him to veto SB 834.

Senate Bill 834 passed the House with a vote of 60-39. The bill is now headed back to the Senate. Senators have the option of accepting the amendments made in the house or rejecting the changes and sending the bill to conference. If the changes are accepted, the bill will head to the Governor's desk. We believe the Senators will accept the changes and the bill could be on the Governor's desk as early as next week. We need you to click here and tell the Governor to veto SB 834. Governor Henry has been a true champion of education. He is our ally not our enemy.

Only one Republican voted in the best interests of kids, teachers and communities--Representative Lisa Billy. Please contact Representative Billy and thank her for her courage to do what was and is right.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

SB 834: Putnam City Protests Deregulation Bill

The Putnam City Association of Classroom Teachers and community members stood at major intersections during rush hour to alerting the public to SB 834, the bad deregulation bill sitting in the House of Representatives. Pictured above are those who gathered at NW Highway and Meridian.

As thousands of cars drove by, many drivers honked their horns and waved in support of the effort. The smiles and waves of the drivers made it all worth while and when traffic stopped at the lights, PCACT members handed out information on the bill to give many more details about its impact on kids and teachers.

The bill will be up for a vote sometime this week. Please continue to lobby your State Representatives, even if they have given you a firm answer. Make sure they continue to pledge a no vote. If they support SB 834, let them know this is a bad even with the recent amendments. Click here to email your representative.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Not on the Test--Tom Chapin

Since it's test time, here is Tom Chapin to put everthing into perspective with the best song and video. Tom can be found here.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

NCLB Issues: Restructuring Schools Won’t Raise Student Achievement

A policy brief by William J. Mathis debunks the NCLB school restructuring alternatives.


Research predicts failure for NCLB’s ultimate sanctions, concludes new report

EAST LANSING, MI, (April 8, 2009)—A new policy brief finds little evidence that sweeping school restructuring—mandated by the federal government for so-called failing schools—will raise student achievement.

The report is titled NCLB’s Ultimate Restructuring Alternatives: Do They Improve the Quality of Education? It was written by William J. Mathis, adjunct associate professor of school finance at the University of Vermont and a superintendent of schools. The report was released today by the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice.

Mathis’s brief examines the impact of the specific school restructuring approaches required under the federal No Child Left Behind law. Under the law, enacted in 2001, schools are required to be restructured if they fail to make “adequate yearly progress” (measured by meeting test score targets) for six consecutive years.

NCLB school restructuring can take one of the following forms: takeover of the school by the state; turning management of the school over to a private firm; shutting down and reopening as a charter school; or reconstitution of the school by replacing some or all administrators, staff, or faculty. A fifth option provided under the law endorses “any other major restructuring of a school’s governance arrangement.”

The brief reviews the existing body of research on each of the five restructuring options and finds that “there is little or no evidence to suggest that any of these options delivers the promised improvements in academic achievement” but notes that “negative side effects are frequently recorded including increased segregation, substantial, short-term drops in achievement scores and organizational instability.”

Mathis concludes: “Given that these approaches are being proposed for the nation’s most troubled schools, the solutions [currently set forth by NCLB] are likely to be woefully inadequate” and that “reliance on these restructuring options could actually deter schools from exploring more promising approaches of achieving the goal of a sound basic education for every child.”

In light of such findings, Mathis recommends against relying on restructuring sanctions to promote school improvement and encourages the support of research on the effectiveness of other school improvement strategies. He also recommends support for strategies that have been shown increase school improvement including early education, small school communities, and strong counseling and social support systems for students.

Find William Mathis’s report, NCLB’s Ultimate Restructuring Alternatives: Do They Improve the Quality of Education? on the web at:

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Friday, April 03, 2009

SB 834: A Bad Bill Moves Forward, Part 2

SB 834 Passes House Education Committee

Signs You Gave to Representatives Who Opposed SB 834 Were Ordered Taken Down By House Leadership On the Morning of the Vote

SB 834 passed out of the House Education Committee with a party line vote of 9-5. The bill is headed to a vote on the House floor. Several amendments were made to the bill. However, none of the rights that provide a voice for teachers were reconsidered. There are still no requirements for:

*Collective bargaining

*FAIR due process

*Guaranteed salaries beyond the state minimum.

Committee members added language that simply retains the informal pre-termination hearing before the school board for career teachers, however that EXCLUDES:

*Trial de novo

*Your right to bring forth witnesses

*Your right to submit evidence

*Your right to confront and cross exam witnesses

Your career would be dependent on a simple vote of the school board without any due process safeguards. Other amendments were made to the bill. The bill now requires:

*Certified teachers

*Payroll deduction of dues

*Districts to maintain current curriculum standards including minimum graduation requirements

*Continuing education courses for school board members


*Find out if your superintendent and board members are for or against 834. Many legislators have repeatedly said that superintendents and school board members are pushing SB 834.

--If your superintendent and/or school board members support the bill let your co-workers and community members know that the administrators support legislation detrimental to public education.

--If your superintendent or school board member opposes the bill, inform your legislative and political organizing specialist and your legislators.

*Attend local school board meetings and try to get on the agenda to speak about your position on SB 834.

*Continue to correspond directly with your representatives by phone and email. Click here to let your house member know you oppose this bill.

We are making a difference and we will defeat this bill.