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April 1, 2015

Editor's Blog

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: 2

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

Could Your Child Get a Disease from Day Care?

11/18/14

Could Your Child Get a Disease from Day Care?

The University of Michigan Division of General Pediatrics conducted a national survey about parents’ views of daycare policies and vaccines. The sample of American parents of children ages 0-5 indicated that most parents think that daycare providers should know and review the immunization status of the children in their care, and should require that the immunizations be up-to-date. Here are some interesting statistics from the survey: Three-quarters of parents think daycare providers should check vaccination records every year. Two-thirds of parents think they should be informed of the number of children at the daycare center who are not up-to date on vaccines. 41% of parents support a policy to exclude under-vaccinated kids from daycare until they become up-to-date....

Posted at 12:07 PM | Permalink | Comments

Treats Don’t Have to Be Sweet

10/22/14

Treats Don’t Have to Be Sweet

Here are some fun little treats for your little monsters that will fill them up before they venture out to fill up on candy. These are easy. Really. I know you don’t have time to spend hours making party food or Halloween-themed dinner sandwiches. I made the Jack-o-Lantern hot sandwiches pictured here in minutes. All it takes is a cookie cutter and three ingredients (well, four, if you count the egg wash that you put on top). I got a set of three Halloween cookie cutters on sale at Williams-Sonoma for a little over $5. I now have a jack-o-lantern, a bat and a cool skeleton. I like these cookie cutters because they are made so you can push out the dough so it doesn’t get stuck. Here’s the lowdown on the non-sweet jack-o-lantern treats. INGREDIENTS:...

Posted at 07:42 AM | Permalink | Comments

Toddlers and Screens and the Importance of Parents

10/13/14

Toddlers and Screens and the Importance of Parents

An article by Douglas Quenqua in Saturday’s New York Times poses the question “Is E-Reading to Your Toddler Story Time, or Simply Screen Time?”  Because screens are relatively new, there is limited research in this area, but the studies that have been done point to a difference. According to a 2013 study, the kids who were read to using traditional books had higher reading comprehension than the ones who were read to from e-books. The article points out that learning to read and learning language is a process better accomplished through human interaction than human-to-technology interaction. Another study on language learning with 9-month-old babies revealed that these babies learned more Mandarin Chinese with a human instructor than they did via a DVD, even...

Posted at 12:06 PM | Permalink | Comments

Pumpkin Decorating for Toddlers

10/07/14

Pumpkin Decorating for Toddlers

If you’d rather not scoop out the “guts” of a pumpkin and get out the knife to try to carve out a jack-o-lantern face, I have a great option for you that is easy and toddler-friendly. You can use this method on real pumpkins, or buy a craft pumpkin at a craft store. Craft pumpkin bonuses are that you can keep them, and they don’t deteriorate over time in the hot weather. The only supplies you actually need, besides the pumpkins, are painters’ tape and acrylic paint. Beyond that, you can use paintbrushes or foam brushes, stick-on spider webs and spiders, jewels or anything you can imagine. Take a stroll through a craft store, and you will probably get lots of inspiration. The idea, of course, is that any design you make with the...

Posted at 12:07 PM | 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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