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July 28, 2014

Editor's Blog

Oklahoma is Not OK for Kids

07/22/14

Oklahoma is Not OK for Kids

As the long-time editor of a parenting publication, my inbox is filled every day with statistics and information, both good and bad, about children and families. Today, I had an email from The Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy giving statistics on the welfare of children in Oklahoma. Sadly, our state is not so great if you’re a child. The information is contained in the 25th Edition of THE KIDS COUNT Data Book (kidscount.org), and was released by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Every year, Kids Count looks at 16 key indicators in order to assess how well children are faring in each state. Areas that are covered include: Economic Well-Being, Health, Education and Family and Community. Oklahoma ranks 39th among 50 states. We dropped from 36th, so the state is not...

Posted at 08:54 AM | Permalink

What to Cook When the Kids Come Home

07/17/14

What to Cook When the Kids Come Home

My youngest daughter and her boyfriend were here last weekend for a short visit. We did the usual stuff, which made me appreciate Tulsa all the more -- the Friday Night Art Crawl, Monet exhibit at Philbrook, running at the river, followed by coffee on Cherry Street and a stroll through the Farmers Market. Since they’re typically not big meat-eaters, and at any given time, may be eschewing meat altogether, I pulled out the vegetarian recipes for the weekend. With all the fresh and inexpensive vegetables available in the summer, it’s easy to cook up something delicious. My daughter requested these veggie enchiladas – they’ve always been a big hit in our family – so I wanted to share the recipe. You can use more of the vegetables you like and less of...

Posted at 08:05 AM | Permalink | Comments

Oklahoma Values: What About Our Women and Moms?

07/12/14

Oklahoma Values: What About Our Women and Moms?

I have two daughters, and I hope that collectively we women can leave a better nation to our daughters. Young women in the United States have almost limitless opportunities – if they are fortunate enough to get a good education; if they have opportunities to work their way up in their jobs; if they avoid getting pregnant before they’re emotionally and financially ready to have children; if, when they have children, they can afford daycare, food and healthcare. If you’re a woman, there are a lot of ifs. My daughters are lucky. Both received excellent educations through Tulsa Public Schools (although if they were in school these days, I don’t think the experience would have been as good with the high-stakes testing and ridiculous, unfunded, meaningless...

Posted at 04:53 AM | Permalink | Comments

Your Kid’s Not Cool? No Worries

06/17/14

Your Kid’s Not Cool? No Worries

If you’re concerned that you may have a nerdy kid on your hands, rejoice! According to a new study, those late-bloomer, cautious young teens are more likely to become competent, successful young adults who have good relationships with peers. The study, published in the journal Child Development and conducted by researchers at the University of Virginia, found that those idolized popular kids of early adolescence who were dating and doing god-knows-what-that-they-probably-shouldn’t-be-doing, actually ended up not doing so great as adults. (Didn’t John Waters already show us this in all those movies like The Breakfast Club and Sixteen Candles?) And, if, god forbid, you’re trying to be a “cool” parent to boost your child’s popularity...

Posted at 12:04 PM | Permalink | Comments

Why Should We Care About Washington State?

06/05/14

Why Should We Care About Washington State?

Watch out Oklahoma public school parents. Oklahoma could end up like Washington state where no matter what school your child attends, it’s failing. Yes. Almost every school in Washington is a failing school for not meeting the No Child Left Behind mandate of 100% proficiency in math and reading. Can any school attain that? As John Higgins, a reporter for the Seattle Times wrote in his article “Loss of No Child Left Behind waiver means schools will be ‘failing’,” No Child Left Behind requires all children to pass state math and reading tests this year. But even the Accelerated Progress Program at Lincoln school in Seattle — for students who score highly on cognitive and achievement tests — would be considered failing under the...

Posted at 07:59 AM | Permalink | Comments

Clowning Around

05/27/14

Clowning Around

I had two clowns in my office this afternoon. No, not my co-workers. They were real, live clowns from the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. One of them, Victor Rossi, is from France and the other, Asa Walker, is from Kansas. Both will be performing in the circus at the BOK Center this weekend. The first show is on Sat., March 31 at 3 p.m., followed by one at 7:30 p.m. and then on Sunday, June 1 at 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. The pair of pared-down fellows were giving me the low-down on circus life. It was kind of a warm up to my own “Greatest Show on Earth” – I was invited to be the Guest Ringmaster on Saturday afternoon. I’m pretty nervous about it, but the clowns assured me that even they get a little nervous, too, right before the curtain...

Posted at 02:30 PM | Permalink | Comments

05/20/14

Logic Is Not a Requirement for Serving in State Government

The logic portion of my brain is imploding. Does Governor Fallin want teachers, administrators and parents to have local control over their schools or not? I guess it depends…. It’s just so hard to keep track. First, she supports State Superintendent Barresi’s top-down, high-stakes testing stranglehold on Oklahoma’s school children, the most recent being the Reading Sufficiency Act. You know the one -- the one that came from Jeb Bush’s Chiefs for Change. You know, the Jeb Bush in Florida? Here are the current members, which include Janet Barresi: http://chiefsforchange.org/members-page/ I’m not sure how this can be construed as local control of our schools. And here’s an interesting article about how corporate interests are...

Posted at 06:47 PM | Permalink | Comments

05/09/14

Oklahoma Third-Grade Failures

According to the OK State Department of Education, one-third of third-graders in Tulsa Public Schools did not make a sufficient score on the Reading Sufficiency Test to be promoted to fourth grade. They have a couple more chances to make it by either showing their reading skills through a portfolio or taking another reading assessment. So, one-third of TPS eight-year-olds are hearing that they’re failures today. Maybe I’m looking at the glass as one-third empty, but I can’t help it. I can’t help thinking what a sorry, pitiful way this is to evaluate children’s abilities. Do children need to know how to read to be successful in school and in life? Yes. Most certainly they do. But what is the best, most effective way to achieve this goal? Do we...

Posted at 02:28 PM | Permalink | Comments

Tulsa Performing Arts Aren’t On City’s List

05/05/14

Tulsa Performing Arts Aren’t On City’s List

It’s Monday, and I just spent a weekend enjoying the arts in Tulsa. My husband and I went to art exhibits on Friday evening in the Brady Arts District, we heard Jimmy Webb perform at Guthrie Green on Saturday, and went back to see James McMurtry on Sunday. And we weren’t alone. Hundreds of our fellow Tulsans were out enjoying the beautiful weather and performances as well. And most of us were spending money in the area. The arts have transformed downtown from a ghost town to a walkable community gathering spot. We couldn’t find a parking space on Friday night. (I’m not complaining. It’s a great problem to have.) So, you can imagine my shock and disappointment when I saw that the proposed city budget is eliminating the Tulsa Performing Arts...

Posted at 05:32 PM | Permalink | Comments

Woody Guthrie Center Celebrates First Year

04/29/14

Woody Guthrie Center Celebrates First Year

I love the Woody Guthrie Center, so I have to tell you about some things happening there this week. To celebrate its one-year anniversary, Deanna McCloud WGC executive director; Ken Levitt, WGC board and executive director of the George Kaiser Family Foundation; and Bob Santelli, GRAMMY Museum executive director, made some important announcements. Santelli was here from Los Angeles to welcome the Woody Guthrie Center as an affiliate partner with the GRAMMY Museum in L.A. What does this do for Tulsa? The WGC will have access to the GRAMMY Museum’s exhibitions, and the partnership will offer new educational opportunities such as student internships and expanded resources for those doing research. Now I’m getting to the good part. To celebrate the first...

Posted at 11:52 AM | Permalink | Comments

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About This Blog

Betty Casey started editing TulsaKids when her youngest child was 3 years old. That daughter is now a freshman in college. Her son is 24 and her middle daughter is 21. TulsaKids and her children literally grew up together (and she lived to tell about it)! Betty's blog ranges from commenting on current parenting issues and upcoming articles to personal reflections about being the mom of three children, who are now wonderful young adults.

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