Archive for the ‘Rep. Tad Jones’ Category

Oklahoma Education may Soon be More like China’s

March 24, 2008

Superindendent Sandy Garrett and Governor Brad Henry are conspiring to ruin the summer vacations of students all across Oklahoma..bwahahahaah!!

No, not really, but they are seeking to bring the attendance up to the national average of 180 days, rather than the current 175 days per school year. The cost of adding these five days to the school year would be approximately $90M, according to a report in yesterday’s Joplin Globe.

Legislators promoting the change cite the need for students to be able to compete the global economy. The inspiration for wanting to increase the amount of time the government monopolizes of our children’s days? Communist China. Rep. Tad Jones (R-Claremore) said:

If we’re trying to compete with China, then we have to deal with a large-scale expansion of time…But we’ve got to make sure it’s a quality education, not just a quantity.

The Norman Transcript added the Jones wants to actually lengthen the school day, and have children attend school on only four days per week, to save the state money. No word on where those kids would go on the their days off from school while their parents are at work.

Merit Pay Bill for Teachers Advances

February 28, 2008

OK HB 3390 moves to the full house after being approved by the Education Committe yesterday. This bill, authorized by former Speaker Cargill, who is critized the current pay-scale, which is based on years of service:

That’s a 19th-century industrial model of compensation. Pay raises should be targeted to teachers who go the extra mile, work hard.

Thad Jones, co-author of the bill and chair of the Education committe explained,

There are no mandates in this legislation – school districts can decide if they want to participate and if they do, they are able to craft a plan around their local needs.

Each plan must include the following components:

  • Growth in student achievement based on a nationally recognized test, student attendance goals and improvement or gains in graduation rates (this component will make up a majority of the basis for the award/bonus)
  • Professional development
  • Collaboration and/or mentoring
  • Principal and peer review by trained evaluation teams

Democrats and the Oklahoma Education association are critical of the bill, which they say does not adequately address the fact that Oklahoma teacher salaries are currently below the regional average.

‘Teach for America’ may be Coming to Oklahoma

February 26, 2008

Teach for America (TFA) is an organization which, according to its website, seeks to rectify, “Our nation’s greatest injustice.” What is that injustice?

In America today, educational inequity persists along socioeconomic and racial lines…These disparities severely limit the life prospects of the 13 million children growing up in poverty today. And, because African-American and Latino/Hispanic children are three times as likely to grow up in a low-income area…

In a section of the website entitled, “Why we prioritize the recruitment and development of African-Americans and Latino/Hispanics and people of low-income family backgrounds,” TFA explains:

At the same time that we value each individual who commits to our cause, we also place a particular focus on attracting and fostering the leadership of individuals who share the racial and/or socioeconomic backgrounds of the students underserved by public schools, many of whom are African-American and Latino/Hispanic children living in low-income communities. We emphasize racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic diversity to enhance our impact…

According to a press release from the OK House of Representatives yesterday, House Bill 3124, authored by House Education Committee Chairman Rep. Tad Jones, allows for the Teach for America Program to come to Oklahoma.

The bill will get talented teachers into our most needy classrooms, said Jones (R-Claremore):

Right now, this successful program cannot expand to Oklahoma because of barriers in our laws. Teach for America has proven results in low-income, underperforming schools where we need talented teachers the most. Even with approval of this bill, each district would be able to choose to participate or not. This is a chance to get some of the best, brightest and most ambitious teachers in the country here in Oklahoma.

Rep. Earl Sears (R-Bartlesville), a former teacher and principal, praised the Teach for America program as one of the best in the country for training teachers:

There is no question this state does a great job training our teachers, and no one is trying to take anything away from the procedure we have here in the state for our teachers, but as a principal, I would not have any hesitation in hiring a teacher from this program.

The bill passed the House with a vote of 91-10 and will now go to the Senate

Tad Jones Announced as Chair of Merit Pay Study

June 11, 2007

Interim Study will examine merit-based pay system for Oklahoma teachers

House education leader Rep. Tad Jones will spearhead an interim study that will look at creating a new merit-based pay system for Oklahoma teachers, Speaker Lance Cargill announced today.

“A one-size-fits-all approach to teacher pay is now in the past. We should be encouraging excellence in our schools by rewarding the best teachers,” said Cargill, R-Harrah. “Over the next few months, the House will intensively study how Oklahoma can develop a comprehensive merit-pay system for teachers that ties academic results to salary levels. The days of across-the-board pay increases for teachers are over. From now on, pay increases must be tied to results.”

“We know there will be opposition to our efforts by the forces of the status quo, and there will be those who claim to be for merit pay while actively working against the real thing,” Cargill continued. “But in the 21st century knowledge-based economy, Oklahoma’s success will be directly tied to our state’s intellectual capital. We must have big dreams and bold reform and move past the bog standards and limited expectations of the past.”

Jones, chair of the House Education Committee, said he is excited about chairing the study.

“Our state is lucky to have hardworking teachers, and the best teachers deserve better pay. It’s just that simple,” said Jones, R-Claremore. “We’ve begun the process of merit pay with the Academic Achievement Awards, which rewards a team of teachers. Now it’s time to start identifying the next steps.”

Senate Legislation to Foster Charter Schools Clears House Committee

April 17, 2007

The measure mirrors a House bill backed by Republican leaders

Senate legislation to encourage charter schools in Oklahoma is headed for a vote of the full state House of Representatives after the measure garnered approval from a House committee Monday.

Speaker Lance Cargill praised passage of the legislation, part of the House Republican “Year of Ideas” legislative agenda.

“Charter schools encourage new and better approaches to educating our children,” said Cargill (R-Harrah). “These innovative schools should be a major component of education reform in Oklahoma, which must also include meaningful testing requirements for students and the highest standards from our educators.”

Senate Bill 661 closely mirrors House Bill 1589, authored by House Education committee chair Tad Jones (R-Claremore). That bill currently awaits a floor vote in the Senate, and has attracted bipartisan support by lawmakers like Shumate.

“I hear from my constituents all the time that they want more and better options for their children’s education,” said Shumate. “I’ve seen the tremendous positive impact that charter schools are having on children’s lives in my own community. We should be encouraging the formation of these schools, not discouraging them.”