The new academic framework has been crafted to replace the Common Core standards that Gov. Mary Fallin repealed last year. Educators gave short presentations—then opened the floor up for questions and comments.
Math teacher Sherry Read's classroom is a total mess. The students are gone for the summer, and light fixtures dangle from the ceiling. The floor has a layer of dust. Down the hallway, workers make a racket while they renovate the school, which dates back to the 1890s. They're working in what has become an archaeological site.
U.S. states' education spending averaged $10,700 per pupil in 2013, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, but that average masked a wide variation, ranging from $6,555 per pupil in Utah to $19,818 in New York.
One way or another, the third grade reading test will be different next school year. The reading committees that lessen the high-stakes nature of the test are slated to dissolve at the end of this school year. But there's a bill in the legislature that could extend them for another three years. However, with that bill comes further changes to the test.
Under Oklahoma’s Reading Sufficiency Act, the third-grade reading test is a high-stakes test. Meaning, if students don’t do well, they could be held back.
Last fall, the Office of Civil Rights filed a complaint against Oklahoma City Public Schools, saying the district suspended black and Hispanic students at a higher rate than others. This prompted the district to investigate their discipline practices. The results of that investigation came out Monday.
Oklahoma has gained 40,000 new students since 2008, but funding from the legislature hasn’t kept up with the growth. More students and less money means some schools are running out of space and have been dipping deep in to their savings accounts. They are making do, but it’s at a tipping point for some districts. Either they get more funding and add more space, or the class sizes get bigger and bigger.
THE NEED FOR MORE SPACE
Weatherford Public Schools in Custer County—Western Oklahoma—is bursting at the seams with kids. Normally, the district gets 20 new students a year, but lately they’ve been topping 100.
“We’ve filled up every closet, nook, and cranny in the district and we’re just at a point where we don’t have anymore space,” said Matt Holder, the Superintendent at Weatherford Public Schools.
According to a study out of UCLA, suspension rates at Oklahoma City Public Schools are some of the highest in the nation. Nearly half of the students in the district got suspended there in the 2011-2012 school year, according to this report.
The district Superintendent questions the report’s rankings, but doesn’t deny there is a discipline problem. He says they are already laying down plans to make major changes.
Between the 7th and 8th grades Caleb Walker got suspended four times. A couple times for fighting and a couple times for being a “silly boy” according to his mom.