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April 23, 2014

Editor's Blog

01/22/14

We’re Number 44! Let’s Give Our Policy-Makers an F

The Education Week Quality Counts report card on American public schools is out and Oklahoma ranks 44th in per-pupil spending. I had high hopes that Oklahoma’s embarrassing ranking would be a call to action by our lawmakers to increase school funding. What business, what family, what organization wants to come to a state that doesn’t fund its public schools? And what teacher would want to teach in Oklahoma? We also have a teacher shortage. Hmmm. Could there be a connection? Rather than stepping up and calling for decent school funding, we have two Oklahoma Legislators, Reps. Jason Nelson, R-Oklahoma City, and Tom Newell, R-Seminole, who want to funnel public school money to private schools by providing funds for poor children to go to private schools. Well,...

Posted at 09:50 AM | Permalink | Comments

Cake in a Cup

01/21/14

Cake in a Cup

Sometimes you want something sweet, but you don’t want too much, and you don’t want to go to too much trouble to make it. I have the answer – cake in a mug. It’s so easy. Easy as in you can make it in 5 minutes. There’s no baking involved and you won’t be tempted to over indulge in a large leftover cake because there are no leftovers. I made a chocolate cake in a cup last night and my husband and I split it. It was kind of like having a cupcake. Here’s the recipe: Spray the inside of a coffee mug with cooking spray. To the mug, add: 7 Tablespoons of cake mix. I used Betty Crocker Double Chocolate Fudge, but you can make any kind of cake you like – spice, white, German chocolate – anything. 6 Tablespoons of...

Posted at 10:58 AM | Permalink | Comments

School Bullying by the Oklahoma State Department of Education

01/17/14

School Bullying by the Oklahoma State Department of Education

Bullying has a negative effect on the social environment of schools, creates a climate of fear among students, inhibits the ability to learn, and leads to other antisocial behavior. Other detrimental effects of bullying include impact on school safety, student engagement, and the overall school environment. Bullying is dangerous because if left unattended it can rapidly escalate into even more serious violence and abuse. Just as you have gateway drugs, bullying is gateway behavior. Too often it is the first step down the road to one of the tragic incidents of school violence we all have watched in horror on the evening news. This Web site is dedicated to preventing bullying behavior. I took the above verbiage straight from the Oklahoma State Department of Education’s...

Posted at 08:47 AM | Permalink | Comments

Want Your Teens to Be Kind? Have Them Brush Up on Their Bronte

01/08/14

Want Your Teens to Be Kind? Have Them Brush Up on Their Bronte

Take heart, English teachers! Hold your heads up. There is now research supporting the usefulness of reading literature. Try this great comeback when your students say, “Why do we have to read this stuff? What does it have to do with our lives?” Just say, “It can help you get a date. Or maybe maintain a relationship.” In a study published in the Oct. 2013 journal Science, researchers found that reading literary fiction pumps up people’s emotional intelligence – things such as empathy and reading other people’s body language. In the study, subjects were asked to read literature for just a few minutes, and then the researchers measured results. They found that after reading literary fiction for even a short time, people –...

Posted at 05:06 PM | Permalink | Comments

If Facebook is Dead, What’s Next?

12/31/13

If Facebook is Dead, What’s Next?

If you have teens, are you Facebook friends with them? It has been interesting to watch the evolution of Facebook with my young adult children. I can’t remember when I joined the legions on Facebook, but I know it was several years ago when businesses were just starting to sign up. My own interest was piqued after a Parenting Media Association convention, so I started an account not really knowing what I was doing. I inadvertently linked my personal Facebook to TulsaKids, so now we’re inextricably bound, even though I don’t manage any of the magazine’s social media, which includes our Facebook page, e-newsletter, website and Twitter. Abby Rodgers is our web and social media editor, and I am thankful for that. I have at times wanted to get off of Facebook...

Posted at 05:42 AM | Permalink | Comments

Real or Fake – What is Yours?

12/16/13

Real or Fake – What is Yours?

I did it. I finally succumbed to the pressure. I bought an artificial tree this year. Maybe it’s not a big deal to you, but it was to me. To me, there were two kinds of people: Fake and Real. Not that the two can’t mix and find harmony. I grew up real, and my husband grew up fake, so he never did understand my need to go out and get a real tree. Before we were married, I visited his house at Christmas and saw that artificial tree standing perfect and straight in the living room. I wasn’t sure that I could stay with a person who had a fake tree at Christmas. I remember thinking, “They have a fake tree!” We always had a real tree when I was a kid, and I continued that tradition with my kids. Most of the time, we would go cut our own tree. It was fun...

Posted at 08:42 AM | Permalink | Comments

12/06/13

What Are These Mysterious Oklahoma Values

Kim Archer’s article “Fallin Warns Feds on Schools” in today’s Tulsa World almost made me spit out my oatmeal. Apparently, Gov. Fallin has issued an executive order stating that the federal government can’t be messin’ around in Oklahoma’s public schools. Moreover, the article says, “The order specifies that all state agencies ‘will aggressively oppose any future attempt by the federal government to force the state to adopt standards that do not reflect Oklahoma values.’ What are “Oklahoma Values”? I hear this term thrown out a lot by our policy-makers, but what does it mean? I’d like to have Gov. Fallin define them. Here are a few “Oklahoma Values” that she and the Oklahoma...

Posted at 06:14 AM | Permalink | Comments: 9

Traditions in the Middle Ages

12/02/13

Traditions in the Middle Ages

If you think you are done with holiday traditions once your kids leave home, think again. They actually become more important. Why? Because when you’re doing things with your toddlers, they haven’t yet stood the test of time to actually become traditions. Once your children are older, those sugar cookies you baked and frosted every year become sweet memories to repeat even into adulthood. My three children, ages 22, 24 and 26, were all home for Thanksgiving. One drove in from Arkansas with her boyfriend. The other two showed up late Wed. night from Texas. My son flew in from Dallas and my daughter drove from Austin (with traffic and getting lost, it was a long trip). I started dozing off, and I felt like I was being awakened every hour to another kid standing over me...

Posted at 06:06 PM | Permalink | Comments

Writing a Children’s Book is Not Child’s Play

11/07/13

Writing a Children’s Book is Not Child’s Play

I recently wrote and illustrated a children’s picture book (ages 4-8) called MAY FINDS HER WAY, published by The RoadRunner Press in Oklahoma City. When people find out, even those who know me pretty well, they say something like, “You illustrated it too?” in an incredulous voice. Yes. Art is not my current profession. I’ve been kind of busy the past few years doing other things. However, I’ve always found time to make art. I just don’t talk about it. How do you bring up something like that anyway? “Hey, guess what, I can draw!”?  I’ve included a couple of the illustrations here that I took with my iPhone…. Whether or not I can draw, I will leave up to people who see the book. I will warn you that,...

Posted at 05:01 PM | Permalink | Comments

11/05/13

Was That a Threat?

The long-awaited, controversial A-F assessment of your child’s school will be released by the State Department of Education this week. After several miscalculations by the State Department and many postponements, the grades are ready to be released, despite claims by third party researchers at Oklahoma State University and the University of Oklahoma that the system is essentially a meaningless assessment. What was supposed to be a “transparent” assessment of public schools so that parents could quickly and easily see which schools were making the grade has become so fraught with errors that no parent could ever take this report card seriously. And Gov. Fallin has weighed in on the controversy by telling those pesky state superintendents to keep their mouths shut...

Posted at 04:24 PM | Permalink | Comments: 5

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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