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
  • north 1.jpg U.S. News ranks city high schools in state’s Top 10

    All three Edmond high schools are ranked among the Top 10 in the state in a prestigious national list.
    U.S. News & World Report, which publishes annual rankings, ranked Edmond North No. 3 in Oklahoma and No. 437 nationwide. Memorial ranked No. 6 in Oklahoma and No. 847 nationwide. Santa Fe ranked No. 8 in Oklahoma and No. 1,075 nationwide.
    “This recognition serves as validation for our students, parents and staff members at all levels who work together relentlessly in pursuit of academic excellence, Edmond Public Schools Superintendent David Goin said.

    April 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • OC expands to 5 academic colleges

    Oklahoma Christian University will expand from three to five colleges beginning with the 2014-15 academic year.
    OC’s five academic colleges will be the College of Biblical Studies, the College of Business Administration, the College of Engineering and Computer Science, the College of Liberal Arts and the College of Natural and Health Sciences.
    “Our academic and leadership teams have been planning, praying and discussing how to build on OC’s legacy of exceptional success in science, engineering and business,” said Scott LaMascus, vice president for academic affairs. “Our new colleges will focus on growth in these areas and implement strategic planning to help us serve more students.”

    April 23, 2014

  • Ekso 1.jpg Deer Creek students see bionic suit in action

    In 2010, a car accident left Guthrie resident Mary Beth Davis paralyzed from the waist down.
    In a few weeks, thanks to INTEGRIS Jim Thorpe Rehabilitation, determination and an Ekso Bionics suit, she will be walking across a stage to receive a college diploma from Oklahoma State University.
    Wednesday afternoon, Davis was at Deer Creek Middle School where students of teacher Jamie Brehm got to see Davis and the suit in action and learn about how it helps people live a fuller life.
    Brehm said the opportunity to have the demonstration fit perfectly with the testing schedule. Brehm said a bonus was having Davis with her inspirational story come to the school. In addition to graduating soon, Davis lives an independent life and she was recently crowned Ms. Wheelchair Oklahoma.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Be on the lookout for termites

    Warming temperatures and spring rainfall means swarming conditions for the homeowners’ nemesis in Oklahoma — the termite.
    Termites are Mother Nature’s way of recycling dead wood, as well as aerating the soil and increasing its fertility and water percolation. They are an important food source for other insects, spiders, reptiles, amphibians and birds within the food web, and they are essential for the wellbeing of the environment.

    April 23, 2014

  • earth day 7.jpg Central community learns about water conservation

    Edmond residents know about rain that falls from their roofs after a storm. Some may not know what kind of important role it plays in the nation’s water supply.
    Tim Tillman, the University of Central Oklahoma’s sustainability coordinator, said UCO has a tradition of innovation in sustainable practices. Tillman said Earth Day, first brought to the campus more than 20 years ago, began that tradition.
    During Tuesday’s Earth Day Fair, Jason Summers, a Coca-Cola account manager for on-premise sales, was giving away rain barrels and educating members of the Central Oklahoma community about the benefits of rain barrels.

    April 22, 2014 3 Photos

  • Accountability push for public schools now in question

    One by one, K-12 education reforms passed in previous years by Oklahoma lawmakers are being targeted for weakening or repeal.
    Among them: Common Core State Standards, the Reading Sufficiency Act, A-F school grades for districts, and middle-school end-of-instruction exams for history and social studies. These could all be scaled back or revoked by various legislative bills that have passed in both the House and Senate.

    April 22, 2014

  • State suspends student testing over glitches

    Computer glitches forced state education officials to suspend online testing Monday, affecting student testing in Edmond and Deer Creek.
    State Superintendent Janet Barresi said as a result of online testing disruptions for students in grades 6-8 and high school end-of-instruction (EOIs) exams she directed testing vendor CTB/McGraw Hill to suspend online testing for the day.
    “We certainly share in the frustration that students and school districts feel,” Barresi said. “It is of paramount importance that CTB finds the nature of the problem and resolves it as quickly as possible.”

    April 21, 2014

  • Guthrie board calls for Common Core repeal

    A resolution recently passed by the Guthrie school board calling for the repeal of Common Core standards has attracted the attention and support of several state legislators.
    State Reps. Lee Denney, R-Cushing, Dale DeWitt, R-Braman, Jason Murphey, R-Guthrie, and state Sen. AJ Griffin, R-Guthrie, praised the school board for weighing in on the Oklahoma Legislature’s pending action to repeal state-issued Common Core standards.

    April 21, 2014

  • Touch-A-Truck event draws families to UCO

    Edmond Electric and Edmond Vehicle Maintenance are co-hosting the Edmond Touch-A-Truck from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. May 17 in the UCO parking lot off Second Street. Touch-A-Truck is a fundraising event that provides children of all ages with the opportunity to experience life-size vehicles and interact with community support leaders like police officers, firemen, construction workers and many more. Families will have the opportunity for a hands-on exploration of many vehicles such as Edmond’s own fire trucks and police cars, an Edmond Electric bucket truck and even a solid waste truck.
    Admission for the Touch-A-Truck event is a suggested $2 donation with the proceeds going to the Edmond HOPE Center. For more information, contact Edmond Electric at 216-7671 or email michelle.gumaer@edmondok.com.

    April 21, 2014

  • Biggest student loan profits come from grad students

    This week, the Congressional Budget Office projected that the federal government would earn roughly $127 billion from student lending during the next 10 years.

    April 19, 2014