teachers

In 1999, a Minnesota educator was removed from teaching biology, after school administrators learned he was focusing on creationism, and not evolution.

A bill now heading to the Oklahoma House floor would protect teachers from such backlash, if they chose to do something similar.

The House General Government Oversight and Accountability Committee voted 4-3 Thursday to send the Senate-passed bill to the House floor for a vote.

The Oklahoma Senate on Wednesday approved several education related bills, including measures that address teacher pay, teacher recruitment, and the reduction of administrative costs, among other issues. These bills will now go to the House for consideration. 

 

Here's a list of the education-related bills passed out of the Senate on Wednesday:

Emily Wendler / KOSU

Oklahoma City Public Schools administrators invited legislators and community leaders to "teach for a day." The district hoped lawmakers would have a better understanding of a teacher's responsibilities after spending a day in their shoes.

Oklahoma Senator David Holt spent part of his day reading with first graders at Quail Creek Elementary School. Other lawmakers and community leaders went to other schools in the district.

Holt says he knows quite a bit about the school because his kids go there, but on Tuesday, he learned a lot more.

Betsy DeVos, who is President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for education secretary, has given millions in campaign contributions to politicians across the country.

Some of that fiscal muscle trickled into Oklahoma during the last election cycle through a pro-school-choice “Super PAC” that, notably, opposed so-called “teachers’ caucus” candidates in many instances. (The caucus arose out of many educators’ frustration over what they view as low education funding levels and teacher pay.)

Emily Wendler / KOSU

Oklahoma public schools are on the ropes after years of budget cuts.  Four-day school weeks and more. We’ll take it as a big case study and and look at Donald Trump’s new education secretary.

Emily Wendler / KOSU

Oklahoma’s teacher shortage may get worse before it gets better. State Question 779, which some hailed as a solution to Oklahoma’s education funding woes, failed on Election Day. Many of the teachers running for office were also defeated. These losses have left some Oklahoma educators feeling hopeless.

Shawna Mott-Wright, the vice president of the Tulsa Public Schools teacher's union, said State Question 779 was the straw that broke the camel's back.

"Teachers are heartbroken," she said. 

This Week in Oklahoma Politics, KOSU's Michael Cross talks with ACLU Oklahoma Executive Director Ryan Kiesel and Republican Political Consultant Neva Hill about the fate of teacher raises and funding for education after Oklahoma voters overwhelmingly defeated a state question to provide a penny sales tax to fund those things.

Emily Wendler

Oklahoma’s teacher caucus did not fare as well as they had hoped. Of 26 teachers running for office in the state— five won.

  • Rhonda Baker (R) - HD60
  • Forrest Bennett (D) - HD92
  • Mickey Dollens (D) - HD93
  • Michael Bergstrom (R) - SD01
  • Chris Kidd (R) - SD31

Months ago, educators decided to run for office in an effort to affect the education policies coming out of the legislature.

For Ross Roberts, it was a lack of resources that drove him from the classroom. For Danielle Painton, it was too much emphasis on testing. For Sergio Gonzalez, it was a nasty political environment.

Welcome to the U.S. teaching force, where the "I'm outta here" rate is an estimated 8 percent a year — twice that of high-performing countries like Finland or Singapore. And that 8 percent is a lot higher than other professions.

This Week in Oklahoma Politics, KOSU's Michael Cross talks with Republican Political Consultant Neva Hill and ACLU Oklahoma Executive Director Ryan Kiesel about State Question 781 to put more money into drug rehabilitation and mental health programs for inmates and a new report from the State Auditor and Inspector showing mismanagement of funds for Oklahoma County Sheriff John Whetsel.

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