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Let’s put quality back into the classroom

October 31, 2014

LET’S PUT QUALITY BACK INTO THE CLASSROOM

The only joy one may gain on November 4, 2014 is to awaken the following morning with an Oklahoma State Superintendent of Public Instruction who has “hands-on” experience to insure a balanced education for our youth.
There has been much ado about Superintendent Cox’s salary. What was not mentioned is that a portion of the “inflated amount” Republicans denounce is because he acts in an advisory capacity coming to other small school districts who do not have funds to hire a superintendent. Dr. Cox’s actual pay schedule is comparable to the salaries of superintendents in districts of the legislators who are complaining about his salary. Also, consider the fact that Superintendent Cox acts in a dual role as Superintendent and Principal for the Jenks K-8 school.
Unlike his opponent, Superintendent Cox has a Doctorate Degree in Educational Administration. In addition to his day-to-day duties to the Jenks School District, he also holds a position as Adjunct Professor of Education at Northeastern State University, teaching courses in administration and leadership in NSU’s Master’s program. He also has NOT sat on a Board of Education appointed by Governor Fallin. Dr. Cox will bring a clean slate to the position of Oklahoma’s Superintendent of Public Instruction – a position to which he is well qualified.
A fast check of social media shows that Dr. Cox has a family with school-age children. This is a major reason he is running for office. A more progressive and current educational system requires a superintendent with current and up-to-date knowledge of not only the day-to-day operations of a school but also budgeting for the future. Dr. Cox has 28 years of experience in the public school systems, 20 of those years as a Superintendent. How many years does his opponent, Ms. Hofmeister have?
We need a strong, grounded Superintendent of Public Education if Oklahoma’s conservatively controlled executive branch and legislature refuse to recognize the lack of adequate funding for our public schools.
It is extremely difficult to properly instruct the students when textbooks are not only outdated but also falling apart with age and use. We voters need to ask the question, “Why were the standards of class size raised but the requirement for up-to-date text books lowered in 2008 while at the same time businesses and the more affluent populations received tax cuts?” This serious mistake provides us with the understanding of why only 69.6% (Oklahoma Policy Institute) of Oklahoma’s students taking the SAT in 2014 met the College and Career Readiness bench marks.
In order for school districts to thoughtfully and explicitly formulate a plan of operation to either bring their schools up to present-day technical skill requirements or maintain their college/career ready status, a professional, experienced individual who has the proven ability to facilitate a quality educational platform is required!
“Accountability” has been the go-to word for the last few decades. The only problem with “accountability” is our politicians holding school administrators and teachers “accountable” without guidelines clarifying what “accountable” means. When federal guidelines were formulated under No Child Left Behind (NCLB), under President George W. Bush, funds were not provided to implement those guidelines. Unfortunately, this program was further exacerbated in Oklahoma when our legislature passed the requirements on to the school districts, again without funds needed for implementation.
As pointed out by the Center for American Progress, “Accountability systems provide the underlying structure for schools and district support and improvement. State systems should hold all stakeholders accountable for student success, starting with the state and ending with the teacher in the classroom. States, districts and schools should provide the support and resources necessary to improve achievement for all students, including at-risk students.”

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