Oklahoma Department of Education

This Week in Oklahoma Politics, KOSU's Michael Cross talks with Republican Political Consultant Neva Hill and ACLU Oklahoma Executive Director Ryan Kiesel about Senate Bill 661 to temporarily alter the state's Open Meetings laws allowing public bodies to teleconference into meetings during the COVID-19 crisis and state lawmakers worry about the budget with oil prices declining as well as businesses and casinos closing to stem the spread of the corona virus.

 

Robby Korth / StateImpact Oklahoma

A group of fifth graders intently watch a color-shifting octopus dream at the top of its tank.

Today, inside an outbuilding at Tahlequah’s Cherokee Elementary School these children are tasked with critically thinking about what they’re seeing. It’s all part of RISE, the school’s gifted and talented program.

Flickr / techgeekteacher

A third of Oklahoma schools’ performance is slipping, based on metrics released by the State Department of Education Monday.

Of about 1,500 schools assigned grades on the annual report card, 493 saw a decrease in their overall letter grades. Only 234 schools saw an increase in performance, while a vast majority had no change.

Whitney Bryen / Oklahoma Watch

Oklahoma investigators believe Epic Charter Schools embezzled money by inflating its enrollment with homeschool and private school students. Because of the state’s dedication to privacy, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister says the alleged abuse would not have been preventable under current state law.

Food Research & Action Center

Oklahoma children were better fed through the Summer Food Service Program last summer than they were the year before, according to the 2019 Food Research & Action Center report. And, advocates expect even more kids in the state to eat free meals through the program this summer. 

Melissa Lau is preparing for the coming school year. She teaches 6th grade science in Piedmont, just northwest of Oklahoma City. Inside her classroom, she’s laid out over thirty cross sections from the trunks of red cedar trees. Each ring represents one year of growth. Lau calls them “tree cookies.”

Oklahoma State Department of Education

The State Department of Education is asking lawmakers to increase education funding by a total of $440 million next year.

Included in the agency’s budget proposal for the 2019-2020 public school year is a request for an additional $273 million to help school districts hire more teachers and reduce class sizes.

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.

Emily Wendler / KOSU

Seeing a homeless person in Oklahoma City is not that rare. But seeing a homeless child, on the other hand, is quite uncommon.

But did you know that there are 25,000 homeless children in Oklahoma?

We at KOSU didn’t either. We looked into it and found that the number of homeless kids has grown fairly rapidly over the past few years.

However, two brothers are trying to find a way to help these struggling youth.

For many people, when they think of homelessness, they think of a gritty life on the streets. Sleeping on cardboard boxes, under bridges, and digging through trash cans.

While this is the reality for some homeless youth, recent data released by the State Department of Education shows most homeless kids are doubled up with other families or are couch surfing by the grace of their friends.

Oklahoma State Department of Education

A recent study conducted by the Oklahoma Department of Education found that teacher quality varies by school district. But, it's something the department is working to change.

According to the research, schools with a high poverty, high minority student population are more likely to have inexperienced and less qualified teachers.

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