teachers

This Week in Oklahoma Politics, KOSU's Michael Cross talks with Republican Political Consultant Neva Hill and ACLU Oklahoma Executive Director Ryan Kiesel about accusations of thousands of dollars in back child support against House Appropriations Chairman Kevin Wallace, legislators are heading into the 2019 session with more than 2,800 bills and one of those is a bipartisan measure to make State Question 780 retroactive.

Updated Monday at 10:16 a.m.ET.

Los Angeles public school teachers went on strike Monday morning, a result of failed negotiations between the teachers union and the school district.

The strike has looked inevitable since Friday, when United Teachers Los Angeles rejected another offer from district leaders.

"We are more convinced than ever that the district won't move without a strike," declared union President Alex Caputo-Pearl at a Sunday press conference.

Jacob McCleland / Oklahoma Public Media Exchange

Twenty-nineteen means a new governor for Oklahoma and a fresh class of state legislators — nearly 40 percent of whom have zero political experience. It’s a new year, but the state government’s slate hasn’t been wiped clean.

Here’s a roundup of some of the biggest policy issues on deck for the upcoming year and legislative session.

Energy & Environment

Jack Silva didn't know anything about how children learn to read. What he did know is that a lot of students in his district were struggling.

Silva is the chief academic officer for Bethlehem, Pa., public schools. In 2015, only 56 percent of third-graders were scoring proficient on the state reading test. That year, he set out to do something about that.

"It was really looking yourself in the mirror and saying, 'Which 4 in 10 students don't deserve to learn to read?' " he recalls.

You're reading NPR's weekly roundup of education news.

The Education Department hatches plan to fix troubled TEACH grant

The Education Department plans to erase debt for thousands of teachers whose TEACH grants were converted to loans, after an almost year-long NPR investigation into the troubled federal program.

Kentucky's Supreme Court has struck down a pension law that spurred thousands of the state's teachers to protest last spring.

The court ruled that the way the pension bill was passed didn't give state lawmakers a "fair opportunity" to consider it. In a surprise maneuver, both chambers pushed the measure through in a matter of hours — before the public and even some lawmakers had had a chance to read it.

For public school teacher Kaitlyn McCollum, even simple acts like washing dishes or taking a shower can fill her with dread.

"It will just hit me like a ton of bricks," McCollum says. " 'Oh my God, I owe all of that money.' And it's, like, a knee-buckling moment of panic all over again."

She and her family recently moved to a much smaller, older house. One big reason for the downsizing: a $24,000 loan that McCollum has been unfairly saddled with because of a paperwork debacle at the U.S. Department of Education.

When she's trying to decide which art supplies to buy for her class, Tennessee art teacher Cassie Stephens hops on Instagram. She'll post the question on her Instagram story, and within minutes, other art teachers will send her ideas and videos.

Hello! We know there's a lot of news out there, but we're bringing you an education-centric take on the midterms, with big results in some key states.

Arizona

Emily Wendler / StateImpact Oklahoma

It’s about 9 p.m. in Coweta, a rural town south east of Tulsa.

The election results are still trickling in as Cyndi Ralston, a second-grade teacher -turned Democratic political candidate, steps on to the stage in the small event space where she’s having her watch party.

Framed by red, white and blue balloons, Ralston tells the crowd of about 30 supporters why she decided to run for the House District 12 seat.

“I ran this year so that no teacher would have to walkout again,” she said. “I ran this year so that no family would have to lose their insurance again.”

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