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February 27, 2015

Editor's Blog

Superintendent Hofmeister and High-Stakes Testing

02/25/15

Superintendent Hofmeister and High-Stakes Testing

Many Oklahoma citizens felt that their voices weren’t being heard by former State Superintendent of Public Instruction Janet Barresi, so voters showed her the door. It appears that Supt. Hofmeister has listened to parents and educators who have seen what a focus on high-stakes testing is doing to children in the classroom – taking away valuable instruction time, diverting dollars to testing companies and pushing educators to teach to a test that may not be an accurate or appropriate assessment. According to information provided by the State Department of Education today, two bills, Senate Bill 707, by state Sen. John Ford, and House Bill 1272, Rep. Dennis Casey, “direct the State Board of Education to develop recommendations for high school graduation requirements,...

Posted at 09:50 AM | Permalink | Comments

Oklahoma Legislators Need a Lesson Plan

02/19/15

Oklahoma Legislators Need a Lesson Plan

Here are a few quick essay questions for Oklahoma legislators.   Define the term American Exceptionalism and discuss its connection to AP US History. Write an argumentation essay using the following prompt: Vouchers are bad for public education. (note: the term “voucher” may be used interchangeably with the terms “school choice,” “parental choice,” and “Education Savings Accounts” or ESAs) Examine the rhetorical power of using words such as “choice,” “opportunity,” “scholarship,” “prosperity,” and “school options” when naming and/or discussing legislation dealing with the destruction and defunding of public education. With the radical ideas coming out...

Posted at 06:34 PM | Permalink | Comments

Cookies for Breakfast

01/27/15

Cookies for Breakfast

I love breakfast. It’s my favorite meal of the day. But sometimes I’m in a big hurry to get to work, so I don’t have time to sit down and eat, much less prepare anything. Because donuts and drive-throughs are really not my favorite thing, I like to have something healthy to grab and go on those busy days. This breakfast cookie recipe has become a go-to item for me. It meets all of my criteria for a fast bite on the way out the door. First, it’s full of healthy stuff. It’s good, and it pairs well with coffee. And, if your kids aren’t drinking coffee yet, the cookies are very nice with a glass of milk. And what kid wouldn’t want to eat cookies for breakfast? They also make a great after-school snack. I don’t know yet if they freeze...

Posted at 07:46 AM | Permalink | Comments

AAP Urges Parents to Vaccinate Children to Protect Against Measles

01/23/15

AAP Urges Parents to Vaccinate Children to Protect Against Measles

In a press release today, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) responded to the measles outbreak that began at Disneyland in California, “urging parents, schools and communities to commit to protecting our nation’s infants, children, adolescents and adults with the most effective tool we have – vaccination.” "A family vacation to an amusement park – or a trip to the grocery store, a football game or school – should not result in children becoming sickened by an almost 100 percent preventable disease," Dr. Errol Alden, the group's executive director, said in the written statement. "We are fortunate to have an incredibly effective tool that can prevent our children from suffering. That is so rare in medicine," Alden said....

Posted at 09:36 AM | Permalink | Comments

Gist Like Barresi?

01/20/15

Gist Like Barresi?

The Tulsa World’s big headline today, Tuesday, January 20, is not about Garth Brooks. It’s about Tulsa Public Schools’ possible superintendent candidates. While we can’t know for sure, according to Andrea Eger’s article, it appears that Deborah Gist and Millard House II are the two finalists for Superintendent Ballard’s job.  My first and only encounter with Ms. Gist was when she appeared on a panel with former Oklahoma State Superintendent Janet Barresi. They had been invited to speak at the Circle Cinema after a showing of the anti-public school propaganda film (my words) Waiting for Superman. What a serious waste of time that “documentary” is, by the way. If you liked Janet Barresi and her high-stakes testing, pro-charter...

Posted at 10:35 AM | Permalink | Comments

Expanded Medicaid Makes Economic Sense

01/15/15

Expanded Medicaid Makes Economic Sense

While Gov. Fallin says that expanding Medicaid in Oklahoma under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) would be too expensive, a new study released this month shows that expanding Medicaid pays off in unexpected ways. Researchers at Yale University studied children who had received expanded Medicaid benefits in the 1980s and 90s. Not only did the children enjoy better health as adults, they also contributed more to the U.S. tax system and were more likely to attend college. It makes sense that people who have access to health care will be better able to attend school, complete an education, find good jobs and contribute to society. “Although it will take years to know the long-term impact of current expansions of Medicaid undertaken as part of the Affordable Care Act, this study...

Posted at 07:36 AM | Permalink | Comments

Oklahoma Schools Near the Bottom

01/08/15

Oklahoma Schools Near the Bottom

Sadly, according to Education Week’s “Quality Counts” report card released today, Oklahoma’s education system ranks 48th out of the 50 states and the District of Columbia in quality of education. Our letter grade was a D+. States ranking lower than us were New Mexico, Nevada and Mississippi. Oklahoma’s “chance-for-success” index, which measures the impact that education (or the lack thereof) has on people, was low as well. We ranked 43rd. No surprise there. If we are not supporting and investing in education, we can’t expect to have successful citizens. If you’re interested to know the top state, it was Massachusetts. OK, so the information is there and it looks pretty bleak for our state. My fear is that Oklahoma...

Posted at 04:41 PM | Permalink | Comments

Why Thank-you Notes Matter

12/31/14

Why Thank-you Notes Matter

I experienced two small events in the past couple of weeks that made me think about the importance of thank-you notes. They’re small packages of cheer and goodwill that not only lift the spirits of the receiver, but give the writer a little burst of happiness as well. The first incident happened just before Christmas. I was at the park walking my dog, and I saw a friend pushing her two boys on the swings. The older one is 5 years old, so he was proudly showing me how he had learned to “pump” by himself and then jump out of the moving swing. I asked him what he was going to get for Christmas, and he told me. Then his mom asked me if I knew of anything she could do with him that would help him see that other children aren’t as privileged as he is. I’m not...

Posted at 10:39 AM | Permalink | Comments

Throw Us a Lifeline

12/18/14

Throw Us a Lifeline

I almost choked on my oatmeal this morning when I read in the Tulsa World that Gov. Fallin was patting herself on the back for providing tax breaks that would give Oklahoma families more money in their pockets. Well, thanks for the $30. I would rather let the state keep my money if they would spend it on the services that government is supposed to provide such as roads and schools. Instead, our policy makers would rather give tax breaks to oil companies (that would drill whether they got a break or not) and millionaires than improve mental health services, heath and education for Oklahoma families. I believe most parents would give up their tax cut to have properly funded public education. And, the thing is, we’ll be paying for those cuts somewhere – anyone noticed higher...

Posted at 11:21 AM | Permalink | Comments

Spare the Rod, Raise a Sweet Child

12/10/14

Spare the Rod, Raise a Sweet Child

I always love seeing my kids when they come home for the holidays. My two oldest kids weren’t able to come home for Thanksgiving this year, but my youngest daughter and her boyfriend made it, which was all the more special because Thanksgiving was her 23rd birthday. As we were catching up on life, talking about her first semester of graduate school and the stresses of adult life -- working, going to school, teaching and just figuring out where she sees herself fitting into the world -- she shared an interesting story. She and her boyfriend work at the same restaurant as servers, and she said one day the employees were all sitting around a table talking about their childhoods. My daughter said that she was the only one in the group that wasn’t spanked (I believe her...

Posted at 09:39 AM | Permalink | Comments

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About This Blog

Our editor-in-chief, Betty started working for TulsaKids when her youngest child was 3 years old. That daughter will be starting graduate school in the fall. Her son is now 27 and her middle daughter is 24. TulsaKids and her children literally grew up together (and she lived to tell about it)! Betty is an avid runner, cook (loves to eat) and coffee snob. She is an award-winning writer and most recently was honored with a Great Plains Journalism Award as Best Blogger of 2013. Last year, she wrote and illustrated her first children’s book, “May Finds Her Way” (2013 The RoadRunner Press). Watch for her every Tuesday on KTUL Channel 8’s Good Morning Oklahoma and Thursdays on KTUL’s Good Day Tulsa.

She enjoys getting reader feedback on articles, blogs or with suggestions for the magazine. Email her at editor@tulsakids.com

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