Joy Hofmeister

Soon-to-be-released statewide test scores are expected to be much lower than they were in the past, but top education officials say the drop is due to a more difficult grading system, not poor-performing students.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister says the state has a new way of measuring student proficiency.

“This has been a time of recalibrating,” she said in an interview after a press conference held with reporters to explain the declining scores.

 

Oklahoma State Department of Education

Many people say the former massive federal education law, No Child Left Behind, was a failure. When President George W. Bush signed it in 2002, he set a huge goal for the country: Every child would meet the proficiency standard on state tests by 2014.

But, that never happened.

Emily Wendler / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma schools are becoming more and more reliant on teachers with no training.

A lack of school funding, low pay, and waning morale have driven many of the experienced teachers out of the classroom, or out of the state.

Superintendent of Mid-Del Schools, Rick Cobb, said he used to have 10 to 15 applicants for every open teaching position. Now he’s lucky if he has two.

“You want to know you’re picking the best person that you can, and that’s hard to do now with the super shallow pool of applicants,” he said.

Emily Wendler/KOSU

Updated August 2, 2017 9:11 a.m.

Oklahoma County District Attorney, David Prater, dropped all felony charges against State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister on Tuesday.

Prater charged Hofmeister with four felony counts in November 2016, alleging she had colluded with a “dark money” group during her 2014 campaign for state superintendent. Two of the charges were for accepting illegal donations, and the other two were for conspiring to break campaign finance laws.

Hofmeister said she is grateful, and has been innocent all along.

sde.ok.gov

A study conducted by the State Department of Education casts doubt on the assumption that switching to a four-day school week will save money.

More and more districts are making the switch to the shortened week, citing costs savings as the reason. But the study, requested by Governor Mary Fallin, shows that might not be the case.

ok.gov/sde/superintendent

Under a new federal education law, all states are required to come up with plans for keeping their schools accountable. However, last week, U.S. Senators voted to roll back some of the rules within that law.

Now, the U.S. Department of Education will no longer tell states how to judge school quality, or how to identify low achieving schools, among other things.

The State Board of Education approved a new charter school in Seminole, Oklahoma on Thursday.

This makes the school one of the first rural charter schools in the state. It also makes this school one of the first charters to be approved, and sponsored by, the State Board of Education.

Charter schools are typically run and approved by local school boards, but the Seminole Public School Board of Education had denied this charter application twice, saying it was incomplete.

The Oklahoma State Department of Education will invest $2 million dollars in career development programs over the next three years. This money comes from a grant, funded by JP Morgan Chase & Co.

The U.S. economy is projected to produce millions of high-skill, well-paying jobs over the next decade, but more and more kids are graduating from high school unprepared for college or a career.

So JP Morgan Chase is pumping $20 million dollars in to ten states to change that. Oklahoma is one of those states.

ok.gov/sde/superintendent

State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister is asking legislators for an increase of $220 million in funding next year, despite a projected budget shortfall.

On Wednesday, Hofmeister made her case for the additional funds—saying they are essential to keep up with a growing student population and increased health care costs. She also says schools desperately need new textbooks, and new teachers need more professional development. 

twitter.com/oksde

State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister is asking Oklahomans for input as she creates a strategic education plan for Oklahoma schools.

The new Every Student Succeeds Act, or ESSA, ultimately rolls back the federal government’s footprint in state education policy. However, the law requires each state to submit a plan for academic goals and school accountability in order to receive federal funding.

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