The Edmond Sun

Education

April 2, 2013

Oklahoma Central PLAC organizes

Edmond mom leads group

More than 100 parents from the metro area met last week in Norman for the inaugural meeting of the Central Oklahoma Parent Legislative Action Committee.

PLAC began in the Tulsa area several years ago and has expanded to many areas of the state. An Edmond parent, Meredith Exline is leading the PLAC of Central Oklahoma, and said the organization is completely parent driven, independent of any school district. It does not include paid lobbyists or staff.  

This is an organization of parents who have focused their volunteer citizen energies on issues related to education policy and funding and, by engaging other parents and elected officials, seek to influence the direction of education policy and funding in Oklahoma.

“In attendance were Megan Benn, a Norman parent who has been the driving force in getting this initiated in Norman, and Melissa Abdo, a Jenks parent who leads the Tulsa PLAC,” Exline said.

“Two state representatives, Rep. Scott Martin, House Appropriations and Budget Chair, and Rep. Jason Nelson and Sen. Rob Standridge were also at the meeting,” Exline said. “It was terrific.”  

Exline said the organization realizes the importance of building a relationship with the representatives and senators representing the districts involved in PLAC.

“Our ultimate goal is for parents to be made aware of legislation that is going to impact our childrens’ education,” Exline said. “It is parent driven, and supported by the administration of the school districts that are involved including Dr. Joe Siano in Norman, Dr. Pam Deering in Mid-Del and Dr. David Goin in Edmond.”

Exline said all of the parents she has visited with feel the same way.

“From the research I have done it doesn’t always seem to me that they are relying on the people who have children going through the education system who are living and breathing to make their decisions concerning education,” Exline said.

She added there are reforms that are being discussed or that are going to be discussed that will impact Oklahoma’s children, and she believes parents need to be more informed and have more input in the decisions that are going to be made including Parent Trigger laws and the Parent Empowerment Act.

On March 6 the state Senate passed a bill that would allow parents of children in low-performing Oklahoma public schools to petition to have those schools converted to charter schools, and in some cases have a principal and other administrators fired.

The Senate voted 30-12 for the Parent Empowerment Act by Oklahoma City Republican Sen. David Holt.

Exline described the bill as Oklahoma’s version of a “parent trigger.”   

“If a school received a ‘D’ or an ‘F’ grade for two consecutive years, parents could petition to change the school to a charter school if 51 percent of the parents in the district agree,” Exline said.

The bill was scheduled to be heard Tuesday in the House of Representatives but the measure will be laid over until the 2014 legislative session.

Senate Bill 1001, by state Sens. Holt and Jabar Shumate and state Rep. Jason Nelson, would have allowed a majority of parents in an under-performing school to sign a petition that would transition the school to a charter school or terminate the administrators.   

“It’s obvious that we have a lot more work to do, but the momentum is on our side,” said Nelson, R-Oklahoma City. “There is a growing coalition of parents and policy makers who are determined to ensure that the voices of our students and their parents are heard, so that is very encouraging. Parents want choice for their children. The parents are on the front lines; they know whether their local school district is failing their children or not.”

Exline said, “It seems to me that they aren’t talking to educators and parents who are experiencing the results of the bills they are passing. Tests that are being given will determine a teacher’s performance.”

Speaking from her own experience Exline said her seventh-grade daughter is in Pre-Algebra I, but the test she will be taking at the end of the year will be over seventh-grade math.

Her daughter’s teacher is now trying to prepare the students for a math test in an area that they have not had all year, Exline said.

“There is no funding to prepare the students not to fail, nor for the students who don’t test well,” Exline said. “With the new Teacher Leadership Evaluation in place, teachers are learning what they will be evaluated on while the evaluation will be happening.

“One administrator said it very effectively, ‘It is like trying to fly an airplane in midair and fix a problem at the same time.’”

She added most logical people don’t take the time to look into both sides of a bill, and everyone may not have time to dig in deep and research what is happening and what has happened in other states.

“I think as a busy person the general public just listens to what is put out there, and they don’t have time to search out both sides of an issue,” Exline said.

Central Oklahoma PLAC members will be joining Tulsa area members from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. April 23 for Capitol Day.

“Basically we will be going as a group and talking with senators and representatives about various bills being discussed,” Exline said. “I think it is time for the people to start putting a voice back in their government.”  

FOR MORE information about what is happening with PLAC, text PLAC to 55678 and answer a series of bounce back questions, or email Exline at mlexline@me.com.

1
Text Only
Education
  • UCO, local Y create community garden

    A new community garden is providing a transformative learning opportunity for students and helping stock UCO’s Central Pantry.
    The University of Central Oklahoma’s Volunteer and Service Learning Center and the Edmond Rankin YMCA are sponsoring the garden, providing a transformative learning opportunity for students, and organic fruits, vegetables and herbs for the food bank.

    July 31, 2014

  • UCO forensic volunteer wants to aid more agencies

    A four-person group of forensic investigators who volunteer their time to help smaller Oklahoma police departments isn’t enough to meet demand, a member said.
    Kama King, who recently completed her graduate research and will be a member of the faculty at the University of Central Oklahoma’s Forensic Science Institute, said outside of full-time jobs, members of the group volunteer to assist these agencies.
    As her career progresses, King hopes to help establish a permanently funded organization available to any agency in the state to assist in remains recovery as well as related training.

    July 29, 2014

  • UCO announces Spring 2014 Honor Roll students

    The University of Central Oklahoma recently announced the students named to the university honor rolls, a distinction given to those who achieve the highest academic standards.
    For the spring 2014 semester, 1,073 students made the President’s Honor Roll, an honor achieved by those who recorded a “straight-A” or 4.0 GPA.

    July 28, 2014

  • 11.6.12 Mother and Cub (2).jpg UCO forensic researcher answers key question

    After working a few human recovery cases on a volunteer basis with a variety of police departments, a question kept bugging Kama King.
    “You spend the whole day,” the UCO W. Roger Webb Forensic Science Institute student said, “sometimes days, searching for someone and only find a skull or a few bones and it just ate at me. Are we not finding this or is it not there to be found?”

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • pm_Ramona Paul.jpg Keith, 5 others to receive service awards

    The 2014 Door-Opener Awards Gala dinner and silent auction Sept. 4, benefitting ASTEC Charter Schools, will recognize five outstanding Oklahomans and one Kansan for lifetime contributions made toward helping others in society maximize potential and achieve dreams.
    Those selected to receive a Door-Opener Award at the Skirvin Hilton Hotel event include Dr. Harvey Dean, Pittsburg, Kan.; Toby Keith and Tricia Covel, Norman; Former Gov. George P. Nigh, Edmond; the late Dr. Ramona Paul, Edmond; and Natalie Shirley, Oklahoma City.

    July 28, 2014 2 Photos

  • Edmond Youth Chorus auditions begin Monday

    The Fine Arts Institute of Edmond is seeking talented youth to try out for the upcoming season of the Edmond Youth Chorus.

    July 25, 2014

  • Rainbow Fleet introduces statewide child care line

    Oklahoma parents can now access a statewide program designed to provide resources and referrals for services across Oklahoma.

    July 25, 2014

  • Team Oklahoma Team Oklahoma brings home third place from NTAE

    Members of Team Oklahoma competing in the National Tournament of Academic Excellence placed third at the national competition held recently in Orlando.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Edmond School District’s change orders anticipated

    When building new schools and classrooms there may be additional costs, but when renovating older buildings those costs can more than double, according to a Edmond School District official.
    “When remodeling, you have unknown and hidden costs and you need to include in your budgeted funds for the built-in items you can not see,” said Bret Towne, Edmond’s associate superintendent of general administration.

    July 25, 2014

  • OC welcomes missionary, military families

    For the ninth consecutive year Oklahoma Christian University will host missionary and military families returning to the United States at Global Reunion 2014.
    The July 23-27 camp has doubled in size in the last two years with 150 participants from 43 countries on campus.
    The camp is for children who are known as Third Culture Kids (TCKs) though parents are allowed to attend sessions as well. Directors Kent and Nancy Hartman, missionaries-in-residence at OC, give tools and resources to families that have lived outside the United States and are now seeking to reenter U.S. culture. The Hartmans spent more than 10 years as missionaries in Australia and were surprised by the challenges of reintegrating their family into America.

    July 25, 2014