The good news: Oklahoma schools are teaching phonics. The bad news: It’s in college.
Students at Tulsa Community College, for example, can take a college English course called “Spelling and Phonics,” which “helps students master basic spelling literacy, principles of phonics and decoding skills.”
This sort of higher education brings to mind former Boston University president John Silber’s quip: “Higher than what?”
By way of contrast, I commend to your attention the requirements facing students hoping to be admitted to Harvard College around 1700: “Everyone competent to read Cicero or any other classic author of that kind extemporaneously, and also to speak and write Latin prose and verse with tolerable skill and without assistance, and of declining the Greek nouns and verbs, may expect to be admitted to the College: If deficient in any of these qualifications, he cannot under any circumstances be admitted.”
A dozen or so years ago, when informing the regents that nearly half of the students admitted to the University of Oklahoma on the basis of their 3.0 high-school GPA needed remedial courses, President David Boren remarked delicately: “I’m sorry to say this may be a statement as to how well students are being prepared in the rest of our education system.”
Taxpayers already have paid for elementary and secondary education once. Why should they have to pay for it again?
They shouldn’t. And as Christopher Cousins reported May 9 in the Bangor Daily News, Maine Gov. Paul LePage has introduced a proposal that would require local school districts in Maine to foot the bill for college remedial courses needed by their students.
“The University of Maine System, the Maine Community College System and Maine Maritime Academy are already required to track the number of remedial courses needed by students from each school district in Maine around the subjects of language arts and mathematics,” the Daily News reports. “LePage’s bill would require the Department of Education to reduce each school district’s subsidy by the cost of the remedial courses and pay those funds to the higher education institution. Those institutions, in turn, would be required to use those funds to reduce or eliminate the cost of remedial courses for all students.”
Jim Windham, a retired banker who serves as chairman of the Texas Institute for Education Reform, is a fan of the idea. He says it “would send a transforming message to the entire delivery system” because it would “more forcefully acknowledge, in terms that would be better understood, that we have lied to a couple of generations of parents and kids that high school graduation necessarily means postsecondary readiness, or proficiency for college and/or the 21st century workplace.”
Windham believes it might also prompt colleges to “raise admission standards, becoming more selective and admitting only those who are truly college-ready. Ultimately, these upgraded standards would be pushed downstream to elementary and secondary education, which would have the effect of changing the entire incentive structure in the PreK-16 model.”
In a world of scarce taxpayer resources, where Oklahoma policymakers have to fund prisons, roads and bridges, and much more, we shouldn’t be paying twice for basic education.
BRANDON DUTCHER, an Edmond resident, is vice president for policy at the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, a free-market think tank.
The good news: Oklahoma schools are teaching phonics. The bad news: It’s in college.
LETTER: Volunteers make Thanksgiving dinner successful
To the Editor:
How do you thank 711 people for helping you? On Thanksgiving Day my belief in the goodness of man and that Edmond has the most giving citizens was reinforced.
Starting on the Saturday before that day, I met the first ones as they worked diligently to clean equipment in preparation for cooking the Edmond Community Thanksgiving Dinner. More people came to three sites on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday to cook and carve.
Employer mandate delayed, but Obamacare destruction goes on
Some 60 percent of Americans — nearly 160 million people — get insurance through their jobs. Thanks to Obamacare, that number is about to nosedive. The president’s signature law is hiking the cost of health insurance for American businesses of all sizes. They’re responding by dumping coverage for workers, spouses and retirees.
Even though the employer mandate, which requires all firms with 50 or more full-time staffers to provide health coverage or pay a fine, has been delayed by one year, the employer health insurance market is slowly bleeding out.
Freedom is more likely to stimulate potential geniuses than gifted programs
If high IQ scores are not reliable indicators of genius, what are? Advocates of gifted children hope schools can be designed to turn intellectual promise into world-changing creativity.
Frederick eyes its future renovation
Terence Malik is an American filmmaker who spent part of his youth in Bartlesville. He is perhaps best known for the critically acclaimed 1978 movie “Days of Heaven” that is set in the Texas Panhandle before the First World War during the harvest season. The late film critic Roger Ebert described “Days of Heaven” as “one of the most beautifully photographed films ever made” and praised Malik for evoking “the loneliness and beauty of the limitless Texas Prairie” Ebert wrote of how the characters in the film appeared to be on a land “to large for its inhabitants” and that they seemed to struggle with the “weight of the land.” And a visitor to Frederick, in Southwestern Oklahoma, where the land has a topography comparable to the Texas prairie, encounters visual images that are similar to the ones contained in Malik’s movie.
OKLAHOMA NOW: Celebrating an inspiring year in Oklahoma
Thanksgiving has come and gone and Christmas is on its way. This is a great time of year to reflect on all of God’s blessings and to be thankful for what we have.
Like many Oklahomans, I am thankful for my faith, my wonderful family, and my friends. I am also thankful for the opportunity to be your governor.
HEY HINK: Nuclear threats still rear their ugly heads
This Thanksgiving, I experienced something I never dealt with before. I wanted desperately to be thankful for something and just couldn’t find a way to do it and, at the same time, be intellectually honest. Let me explain.
The parallel counterpart to HealthCare.gov
This year I have witnessed the quickest deployment and implementation of a major state governmental process that I have ever seen. I think this success provides the ideal state counterpart example to the shortcomings demonstrated by the federal HealthCare.gov website.
The pressing need to reform entitlements
After 16 days of political brinkmanship, lawmakers passed a temporary funding plan that raised the debt ceiling and reopened the federal government.
But now, the nation is just barreling toward a new set of deadlines — lawmakers have until Jan. 15 to deal with the budget and Feb. 7 to deal with the debt ceiling. Until Congress sets the country on stable financial footing for the long term, we’re bound to play this game over and over again.
As lawmakers begin negotiations, the conversation must start with tax and entitlement reform. This begins with Medicare and Social Security, as they’re the most pressing challenges facing our country.
We’ve done nothing for too long
Dickens wrote in a “Tale of Two Cities,” “It was the best of times and the worst of times.” This seems to fit America right now. The gulf between the haves and have nots is widening. Some are doing very well. Many are struggling and that is a shame living in the greatest and strongest nation on earth. Confidence in government is at an all-time low. Washington is turned inward on itself and there is a growing chasm between the people and the elected. Few, if any, are minding the store. We are consumed with partisan issues and need a unifying purpose and mission. This can only come from our leadership. And it is not.
Conspiracy theories: Why we believe the unbelievable
With the passing of the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy last week, and the accompanying fusillade of documentaries purporting to prove there was a conspiracy behind it, we might expect (and hope) that cabalistic conjecturing will wane until the next big anniversary.
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