By January 13, 2016 Uncategorized 5 Comments

Chief Editor: Good morning, everyone. Does anyone have a good idea for an article this morning?

New Guy:  Yes. How about an article about the Oklahoma District 34 election results from yesterday?  J.J. Dossett, an Owasso school teacher and Democrat, beat his Republican opponent handily. This seat has been held by the Republican party since 1990. This vote seems to signal a repudiation of the anti-education, tax-cutting, smaller government crowd we have at the Capitol now. This would be a great story.

Boardroom: Crickets chirp

Chief Editor: Thanks for that, new guy. But, we’ll let that liberal rag up north handle that story. Anybody else with a “good” idea?

Editor 2: Well, I got some interesting data from OCPA the other day about college remediation rates in Oklahoma. It seems to say that our public schools suck like a leech on the ass of an Asian wildebeest.

Chief Editor: Oooh, that sounds great. Tell me more!

Editor 2:  This information says that in 2013, about 39 percent of incoming freshmen at Oklahoma colleges and universities had to take at least one remedial class — in other words, they retook high school courses at college tuition prices. Oklahoma Watch reports that this was “the highest rate in the country.”

Chief Editor: This sounds wonderful, I mean terrible.  It appears we need to put pressure on Hofmeister and the legislature to double down on Janet’s reforms.

New Guy: Wait a minute, I’m confused. Do we have any supplemental information which disaggregates or clarifies this data? Which subjects areas are needing to be remediated? Is the data broken down by two-year and four-year colleges? Does it include students who are returning to college after a break of several years, like someone who spent four years in the military?

Chief Editor: Oh, new guy, I love your spirit. But, don’t get your pretty little head in a tizzy over all that stuff. We prefer to take a big picture view of these sorts of things here.

New Guy: Isn’t it our job as journalists to analyze this data so we can provide clear and objective information to our readers. There may be more to this information than can be easily conveyed by these simple numbers.

Boardroom: Uproarious laughter

Chief Editor: Kid, we live in a fast-moving world. People don’t have time to read and do research on their own. That’s why it’s our job to tell them how they should think.

Editor 2: Yeah, and we already know that our schools suck like a Dyson vacuum picking up skittles from a shag carpet. This data just supports that truth.

New Guy: But, what if this data is based on inaccurate or incomplete information. It could be using invalid and unreliable comparisons.

Editor 2: No, new guy, this looks accurate. This sheet says that many of these students needing remediation passed end-of-instruction exams in the core subjects and many earned A’s or B’s in classes. Nearly 90 percent received a diploma saying they met Oklahoma’s “College Preparatory/Work Ready Curriculum Standards.” Isn’t it obvious to you that schools are lying like plankton in the belly of a blue whale at the bottom of the Marianas trench?

New Guy: I don’t think that’s obvious at all. What if the criteria being used by Higher Ed to place students in remedial classes is out of date or not aligned to our state standards? And why should every college student have to take more algebra? Do we use any algebra or higher math in our jobs? For sure, it doesn’t appear that any of us know anything about statistics.

Chief Editor: That may be. But, did you know that in the 2013-14 school year, 100 percent of graduates from two districts — Braggs and Porum — had to take remedial college courses? Yet, in 2015, Braggs High School received an A-minus on its state report card and Porum High School received a C. Yet neither school produced a single student fully prepared to enter college in 2013.

Editor 2: Those schools clearly suck like an elephant drinking a Sonic milkshake through a cocktail straw.

New Guy:  Couldn’t that discrepancy be due to the fact that the A-F grading system is an overly simplistic, highly invalid and inaccurate way to measure school performance?

Chief Editor: No, it means the A-F is too lenient. That’s why we need to make the tests harder so we can find out which schools are lying liars?

New Guy: I don’t agree. Do these EOI tests even measure the skills and knowledge needed for students to be successful adults in the 21st century? I resist the premise that we should withhold a diploma for an otherwise good student who can’t pass a math test. What if they have talent in music, arts, or athletics?

Editor 2: All kids can do calculus. Teachers just need to teach them better and kids need to have more grit. Someone told me about a teacher once–I can’t remember who–who taught somewhere around here, who was just awful. In fact, they were told this teacher sucked, “like a snail moving upside down on a tin roof in a stiff wind.”

New Guy: That’s rather anecdotal, don’t you think? Plus, it doesn’t make sense. It’s like saying all kids can run a mile under eight minutes or sing in perfect pitch. Not all children are the same. Likewise, not all schools and communities are identical. Should a student who wants to take Vo-Ag classes so they can work on the family farm be forced to take higher math instead?

Chief Editor: Of course he should. Math is important and serves as the gateway to future careers in science and math.

New Guy: But, you don’t work in a career that uses science or math and you make more money than many scientists I know. Are you saying you could pass an Algebra II EOI with a 70%?

Chief Editor: Probably not today, but I sure could have 30 years ago.

New Guy: That’s exactly my point. Lots of successful people in our society have great careers and never use any of the math and science they learned in high school. We didn’t have to take an EOI to earn a diploma back then and we did okay.

Editor 2: Maybe so, but that was before schools and teachers sucked like the gravitational singularity of a black hole resulting from the supernova of a massive red star. The school administrators we have now are just protecting the status quo to avoid accountability.

New Guy: Doesn’t the current mindset of test-based accountability represent the status quo? It’s been in place for two decades and all anyone can do is complain that our schools aren’t doing enough. Maybe we need to trust our teachers. They are the ones who work with these kids every day.

Chief Editor: They’re not doing enough. And our teachers lie like Obama at a press conference. If they can’t do the job, we need to replace them with better teachers or allow parents to take their children to private schools or teach them at home.

New Guy: Wait, haven’t you heard that our state has a massive teacher shortage? With whom will we replace all these so-called bad teachers and administrators?

Chief Editor: That’s why we need merit pay to recruit better candidates out of college and keep them in our state.

New Guy: But, in the fiscal shortfall we have, that means other teachers will have to have their pay cut so others can earn merit pay. That would destroy the culture and climate of schools!

Chief Editor: Whatever. We just need to consolidate these hundreds of little schools into county school districts and cap superintendent pay at $60,000 a year. We have too many administrative costs preventing money from getting to the classroom.

New Guy: It’s not that simple. If we want good superintendents, we have to pay them a competitive wage. OU pays Bob Stoops five million a year and they haven’t got much for that recently!

Editor 2: Hey, hey, youngster! Those are fighting words around here. Bob Stoops sits at the left hand of the Father.

Chief Editor: Alright, settle down everyone. Let’s get back to our editorial for the day. Mary, can you read back the main points of our discussion?

Mary (scribe): I’m not sure I got it all, but here is the gist. We got some numbers from OCPA or somewhere. We’re not sure if they are valid or not. Ostensibly, we don’t care because they seem to confirm our previous bias that Oklahoma public schools suck and that teachers and school leaders don’t care. Therefore, these numbers will help push the narrative that we need more reforms to hold schools accountable. Then, when they fail to meet these arbitrary standards derived using an academic model from the 1890s, we will label them as failures, shut them down, and replace them with corporate charters and private religious schools.

Chief Editor: Perfect. It sounds like you have captured the essence very well. This will play well with our focus group of old, bald, white men who fish and hunt every Saturday; attend church every Sunday, and would rather be impaled by a raging white rhino than vote for a Democrat. Run with it!

Editor 2: Hey, I’m going to the workroom to grab another glass of Kool-aid. Anybody else want some?

New Guy: Hell, why not?

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