Articles written by Jennifer Palmer

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Walters' faith committee wants Ten Commandments in every public classroom

A committee examining prayer in schools asked the state Board of Education to require every classroom to display a poster of the Ten Commandments and require students to take a course on Western civilization for graduation. State Superintendent of...

 

Big bonuses, bigger risks: Oklahoma's new teacher bonus program raises concern

Signing bonuses of as much as $50,000 are what Superintendent of Public Instruction Ryan Walters said is needed to attract new and retired teachers to the classroom. That’s also what makes his new bonus plan a risky policy. Schools reported more...

 

Data error: Why school report cards are so late

A calculation error created a months-long delay in the 2022 school report cards, which still have not been released to the public. The error caused some schools to receive inaccurate letter grades late last year. The Oklahoma Department of Education...

 

Oklahoma AG finds no legal justification for state-sponsored Catholic charter school

The state’s attorney general withdrew a previous opinion that opened the door for religious charter schools and is urging a state board to “use caution” in considering a Catholic school application. Charter schools are public schools that are...

 

Analysis: How Stitt, Walters victories could impact education

Gov. Kevin Stitt was reelected Tuesday and his pick for state superintendent, Ryan Walters, secured his seat as well, setting up a new direction for education in Oklahoma. Stitt defeated Joy Hofmeister, state superintendent of public instruction for...

 

Education board upholds sanctions on Tulsa, Mustang for conversations on race

By majority vote, the State Board of Education on Thursday refused to reconsider sanctions it handed down to two districts last month under a state law prohibiting certain conversations on race. The board’s refusal followed a string of emotional...

 

Oklahoma State Auditor Q&A: 'I believe people own the government'

Since taking office as the State Auditor & Inspector, Cindy Byrd has handled some political footballs with audits of the state's largest virtual charter school, the state health department and...

 

IRS investigating Epic Charter Schools finances

Epic Charter Schools is facing another investigation of its finances and governance, this one by the Internal Revenue Service, Oklahoma Watch has learned. The online charter school's board chairman...

 

Inside a potentially one-sided race for State Superintendent

Erika Wright has been a Democrat and a Republican, and, until recently, was registered Independent. “I tend to vote for people versus party,” she said. She made another switch last week – back to Republican – specifically to vote for state...

 

Oklahoma's ban on school mask mandates is on hold. Here's what you need to know

Oklahoma’s law preventing schools from mandating masks is temporarily on hold due to a judge’s ruling Wednesday morning, Sept. 1. That means school districts can move forward with a mask requirement on school campuses potentially by early this...

 

Epic's new board chair founded a charter school. Its start has been rocky

To improve its board oversight, the state’s largest online school has turned to a businessman who founded the state’s first rural charter school. Paul Campbell was named chairman of Community Strategies, Epic Charter Schools’ governing board,...

 

A closer look at Oklahoma's move to alter education funding and make student transfers easier

Two education measures finalized this week mark a win for those who subscribe to the philosophy that public tax dollars should follow students to the school of their choice. Gov. Kevin Stitt on Wednesday signed into law bills to alter the school...

 

Gauging a plan to alter education funding in Oklahoma

A proposal to adjust the school funding formula could strip millions from urban and rural districts and shift it to others. Had it been in place this year, Oklahoma City Public Schools' state aid...

 

Cheat codes: Students search for shortcuts as virtual schooling expands

Computer programmer Gradyn Wursten still updates a project he created to hack his high school homework. As a sophomore, he used an old MacBook with a cracked screen and bulging battery to write the co...

 

State offers five calendar options for school year

The disruption COVID-19 has caused to schools is likely to continue into the new school year, and the state Education Department is asking school leaders to begin planning for it. Schools should adopt multiple calendars, one primary and others as...

 

State offers five calendar options for school year

The disruption COVID-19 has caused to schools is likely to continue into the new school year, and the state Education Department is asking school leaders to begin planning for it. Schools should adopt multiple calendars, one primary and others as...

 

As Oklahoma reopens, cities shy away from enforcing restrictions

Police in some of Oklahoma's largest cities are electing to use a softer touch, rather than aggressive enforcement, with state and local business restrictions as Oklahoma gradually reopens amid the...

 
 By Jennifer Palmer    Local    May 10, 2020

Shift to distance learning highlights stark inequities in internet connection

When the coronavirus pandemic closed school buildings, teachers were tasked with connecting to students from afar. Suddenly, students' lack of home internet access was in the spotlight. A mid-March...

 

Epic Charter grads less likely to enroll in college

Like many teenagers, Maggie Waldon caught a sort of senioritis halfway through a traditional high school. She was ready to be done. With two years left, she enrolled in Epic Charter Schools, the...

 

Highlights of Stitt's State of the State address, annotated

Gov. Kevin Stitt used his second State of the State speech Monday to urge lawmakers to continue his effort to transform state government and turn Oklahoma into a "top ten state." Among the most dramat...

 

State defines line it would draw for allowing 4-day school weeks

The state’s bar has been set for schools to operate on a four-day week and the requirements could force many schools back to five days a week. School leaders and community members can weigh in for the next three weeks on new proposed...

 

State defines line it would draw for allowing 4-day school weeks

The state’s bar has been set for schools to operate on a four-day week and the requirements could force many schools back to five days a week. School leaders and community members can weigh in for the next three weeks on new proposed...

 

In Oklahoma, a discredited theory of reading is widely used

In classrooms across Oklahoma and the nation, students are taught to read using a theory that has been discredited by decades of research by brain scientists. This "three-cueing system," first propose...

 

Gun deaths in Oklahoma: Trends, laws and survival

Mass shootings in Texas and Ohio over the weekend have put gun deaths and firearm laws back in the spotlight. Oklahoma's last major mass shooting event was in 1986, when 14 people were killed at an...

 

Has oversight of Epic Schools been lax?

In his request for a search warrant, a law enforcement agent described Epic Charter Schools as being set up a decade ago as a profit-generating "scheme." And he described the school's co-founders as...

 

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