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Oklahoma and Education

Because of Oklahoma’s financial crisis, many Oklahoman teachers are leaving to other states for better-paying teaching jobs.

In 1992, Oklahoma created a ballot initiative. And it stated that Oklahoma would only raise taxes if it possessed a three-quarters majority in the state assembly. Since then, many tax cuts have also been passed. And said tax cuts, in a way, have become permanent. As a result, Oklahoma is currently in financial difficulties.

Oklahoma’s schools have been especially affected. Currently, over 90 districts are only offering four-day weeks. And teachers, in order to be able to supplement their income, have to work once a week elsewhere. Many Oklahoman pedagogues work on Mondays at Walmart. What is also surprising is that teachers of this state have not received a raise in 10 years.

So teachers are leaving. They have no choice. Shawn Sheehan, a high school math teacher who was named Teacher of the Year in 2016, left for Texas. As a matter of fact, he moved to Dallas shortly after receiving the prestigious award. In Oklahoma, teachers also pay a lot of money for health insurance. A married professor could pay up to $1,000 a month for health insurance. And teacher assistants struggle even more, for they are not payed enough to be able to cover their insurance plans. They basically are paying in order to be able to work. Thus, teachers have no choice but to get, for example, food stamps. Others get leftovers from school food-bank drives.

Police officers, for instance, are also struggling. They cannot even fill their gas-tanks completely. And Oklahoma’s prisons are collapsing. According to Paul Hill, a professor at the University of Washington Bothell, four-day weeks may not really make a difference in the state’s economy. At most, there will be a two percent difference. But Kent Holbrook, a superintendent of public schools in Inola, disagrees. Even small savings matter. Holbrook thinks that such sliver could save him four or six teachers. He has already lost at least 10 professors. Not only that, but he has reduced foreign language programs. He has also not been able to purchase textbooks on time.

Majority of Southerners Support Increased Education Spending

A recent large-scale poll illustrates just how much people in the South support public education. After results of The Education Poll of the South were analyzed, it was found that 84% of the respondents believe that the state should adjust school funding to achieve more parity between communities. Additionally, 57% of respondents were willing to trade off tax increases for increasing spending in education.

There were 2,200 total respondents from across 12 states. The poll was given by a group of seven nonprofit and nonpartisan organizations associated with education.

Across the country, isolated urban areas (think Manhattan and the wealthiest parts of California’s Bay Area and Los Angeles) and affluent suburban regions are relatively well-funded, have students who come from well-education families, and have strong parental participation. Just miles away, there are districts where single parents are struggling to get food on the table, kids come to kindergarten without strong foundations, and drop-out rates are high.

This is just as true, if not more so, in the South. States have high-performing districts like those in the Atlanta suburbs and low-performing schools in rural communities and downtrodden urban areas.

It seems that citizens are recognizing the fact that specific communities may need varying levels of support, especially in terms of financing a system that can attend to the needs of the students.

It remains to be seen whether the study’s findings will be reflected in the polls and whether a change in governing can lead to improvements in student achievement. What is known, though, is that the problem of inequity is an established one, and that many would be supportive of increased efforts to raise education spending.

Massachusetts Names New Education Commissioner

The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education announced on Monday that they have selected a new state education commissioner, Jeff Riley, the superintendent and receiver of the Lawrence Public School District. Riley won the board’s vote by an 8 to 3 margin.

Riley first drew attention in November 2017 when he announced he would be resigning from his post in the Lawrence school system in 2018. The previous commissioner Mitchell Chester had suddenly died in June after a battle with cancer, leaving the position of education commissioner open. Deputy Commissioner Jeff Wulfson has been serving as acting commissioner since the death of Chester. He will step down in 2018 to make way for Riley.

Unlike his rivals, Riley is a Massachusetts resident and already has a strong relationship with the BESE. A graduate of Harvard University, Riley began his career as a teacher in Maryland. He then moved to Boston where he served as principal at Edwards Middle School. Riley also served as academic superintendent and chief innovation officer at Boston Public Schools. In 2012, Mitchell Chester appointed him as the receiver of the Lawrence school system after the state took it over. During his time at Lawrence, Riley was able to increase test scores and decrease dropout rates in the district.

Riley emerged as the strongest contender for Mitchell’s vacated position in a field that included Angélica Infante-Green, a Deputy Commissioner for the New York State Education Department, and Penny Schwin, a Deputy Commissioner at the Texas Education Agency. Infante-Green received three votes from board members Amanda Fernandez, Margaret McKenna and Mary Ann Stewart, while the remaining eight members of the board voted for Riley. Massachusetts Secretary of Education James Peyser also cast his vote in favor of Riley. The appointment will be official once Peyser approves the vote.

Tebow Bill Shot Down, Southeasterners Want To See Public School Spending Go Up

The Education Poll of the South recently surveyed educators, parents, and community members from the twelve states it serves regarding their attitudes towards public education. Collectively, the Southeastern think tank found that the average voter was in favor of beefing up spending on public education.

Public Education Is Highly Valued In 2018’s Southeast

Of 2,200-odd respondents, a whopping 84 percent indicated their respective states should account for financial differences between low-income and wealthy communities’ public schools, in terms of beefing up financing for disadvantaged schools.

The survey found that respondents were in favor of increasing funding even if government agencies were forced to tone down their respective budgets in areas outside of education.

57 percent of all individuals polled were OK with paying higher taxes if it meant more schools in low-income areas would receive higher funding.

Tebow Bill Shot Down In Virginia

Tim Tebow, quarterback for the Florida Gators over a decade ago, was able to play football in high school, despite being homeschooled. Named after the two-time Heisman Trophy winner himself, the “Tebow bill” was recently voted on in Virginia.

Students would have been able to compete in public school sports, although they’re unable to do so, as Virginian bill was recently shot down.

The only Republican in Virginia’s state congress to vote against the Tebow bill was Gordon Helsel.

Formally named House Bill 496, the education committee, the committee responsible for voting on the so-called Tebow bill, originally supported the bill. However, after a tied vote, the Tebow bill was directed to the House of Delegates, which was promptly shot down.

Rob Bell, a Republican out of Charlettesville, originally sponsored House Bill 496. The Richmond Times-Dispatch was the first to report on the outcome of House Bill 496.

Students Will Soon Be Able to Apply for FAFSA Through a Mobile App

United States Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced in a press conference that there is a plan to let students apply for FAFSA, or Free Application for Federal Student Aid, by using a mobile app on their phone. A Senate committee has also been looking into ways to make the Free Application for Federal Student Aid process more streamlined and easy to navigate. People have been complaining about the difficulty of filling out the FAFSA applications. There are so many things you can do on your smartphone these days anyway.

This is just one step in a series of steps that the government has been taking to make the process for applying for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid an easier process. This started with Barack Obama administration.

The Obama Administration made it more easy and quick to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. They did this by reducing the number of questions and shortening the forms. They also used skip technology to automatically skip questions based on previous questions that students answered. They also gave students the option of automatically importing their tax data. Betsy DeVos said that if you can get a mortgage on your mobile phone you should also be able to get financial aid for your education. She said that this will not only make it easier for students but that it will also make it easier for financial aid professionals by reducing the vast amount of paperwork that they have to deal with.

Current Legislation Could See Teachers Lose Tax Deduction on Erasers and Pencils

Teachers who use their cash to acquire classroom supplies will end up losing their tax break if the current Republican legislation makes its way through Congress. The existing tax code allows for a deduction of up to $250 from their gross income. Therefore, if the tax bill pushed by Republicans is adopted, it would scrap the deduction. At the moment teacher’s write-off is estimated to cost about two billion dollars, and if the republicans eliminate such deductions, then they are more likely to offset the revenue loss from wealthy individuals and also simplify the tax code.

One of the similarities between the Senate and House bill is that they eliminate a lot of deductions while at the same time reducing marginal tax rates. According to experts, the legislation is likely to reduce tax for some households but not all of them. Despite the sentiments made by the experts, the Republicans believe that it is a win-win situation for all. However, it’s important to note that the few differences between the two bills can lead to a vote in the Senate this week.

It’s expected that the Senate bill will likely to double the educator deduction to five hundred dollars as opposed to eliminating it. Regardless of the discussion made by the two chambers, they need to settle on one legislation before presidential assent. According to Engel Suzanne, a language and speech pathologist who works at St.Louis she spends an average of five hundred dollars annually on what she needs for her job.

She also firmly believes that she’s going to be better off with lower taxes because she and her husband have taken various itemized deductions for state and local taxes as well as mortgage interest payments. The liberal center on budget and policy practice notes that the Republican tax bill touches on the education policy in different ways. For instance, if those who earn more cannot deduct state income taxes, and the opposition of such charges end up growing, then it can have a massive impact on the critical source of funding for most public schools.

Government Only Pays Attention To Tuition At For-Profits, But Not Nonprofits

In January of 2017, the United States Department of Education came out with a list of hundreds of colleges that are considered to be failing. These colleges were put on the list because of the fact that the graduates from those schools are charging unreasonable tuitions that an alarming amount of their graduates cannot pay back.

The list particularly focuses on for-profit colleges. It includes a number of schools specializing in graphic design, cosmetology, barbering and lower level health professions. There are also for-profit schools such as University of Phoenix and Kaplan University.

A program run by Harvard has even made it onto this list. The program is called A.R.T. Institute at Harvard University. Each year, the program at Harvard admits two dozen students. It is a two year graduate program that gives students a choice of dramaturgy, voice pedagogy or acting. The average salary that graduates of this program make is $36,000. Students borrow about $78,000 for the degree, and the average two year tuition is $63,000. Owing to the fact that the program is a graduate program, students are allowed to borrow all of their expenses for living from the government—despite the conditions of their credit histories.

This fall, A.R.T Institute at Harvard University decided to pause enrollment, due to the fact that government regulations have put the program’s federal aid eligibility in a compromising position.

The Art Institute is also on the government’s list of failing schools. The Art Institute has no relation to A.R.T. Institute as Harvard University—it is a totally different institution with a name that sounds similar.

The problem is that the government is putting extra attention on for-profit schools while not paying attention to the fact that plenty of nonprofit schools are charging too much money and putting students into more debt than they can afford. There needs to be a change. The government should bring the hammer down on nonprofit schools, as well as for-profit schools.

Betsy DeVos under fire for schedule oddities

Since she was first nominated by President Donald Trump to be the United States secretary of education, Betsy DeVos has come under fire for one reason or another. This week, the problem with DeVos, who has been known to be hostile to public schools for decades is that her published schedule doesn’t seem to mirror her actual schedule.

US News is reporting there are quite a few people noticing this little anomaly. It also doesn’t appear the secretary is letting people know what she is planning on doing from one day to the next. Devos’ most recently updated schedule ends on October 20. The schedule being slow to update is only part of the problem.

On the last week that the office has published every day is notated as “There are no public events scheduled at this time.” The problem is that it appears she was making plenty of appearances.

On October 27, DeVos gave a speech at the Future Farmers of America convention. She also made an appearance at a round table that was geared towards figuring out how the department of education could better serve children with special needs.

The most interesting thing about both of these tidbits is that DeVos’ appearance at either one of these events would not be considered even a little bit controversial. So why is she hiding them?

Those who have been studying the way DeVos carries herself say that she simply does not go out of her way to make sure the public knows where she’s going to be. While this is not the biggest problem the federal government has ever faced, it’s clear that there are plenty of watchdog groups that aren’t happy her schedule is being kept off the books.

For now, the people looking into her schedule would just like the secretary of education to do a better job allowing the public to now her schedule.

Orange Coast College New Recycling Facility is Set to Improve Environmental Conservation Efforts

Orange Coast College (OCC) has decided to lead on environmental conservation efforts from the front. This is after the school announced a recent completion of their recycling facility. Orange Coast College recycling facility is arguably one of the largest of its kind in America. The facility, unlike the previous one, covers around five acres of space and was completed in one year four months at a cost of seven million US dollars.


OCC is no stranger when it comes to environmental conservation services and in particular the recycling part. This school started offering these services more than 40 years ago. With the increasing demand for recycling services, it was only fair to increase its capacity. In addition to the current facility being built on a five-acre piece of land, it has a vehicle parking lot that can accommodate up to 45 vehicles, meeting rooms, office spaces, and shower rooms.


Services offered at OCC recycling plant

With the nature of the OCC plant, the facility offers a wide range of services to the residents of Southern California. Now more than ever, anybody can walk into the facility and drop whatever unwanted equipment they have. The list of products that get recycled is endless but includes aluminum cans, glass containers, metal scrap, plastic containers, and even an assortment of papers ranging from magazines to cardboards.


The good news with this is that you will be compensated for your recycles while at the same time the facility staff ensures you are safe. The compensation is always per-pound basis and will depend on the item you have brought.


While it’s true that you can dispose anything at the facility, there are a number of items that the facility does not allow. For instance, you cannot dispose car batteries, engine oil, boats, chemicals, paints, old furniture, and aluminum cans and plastic bottles that exceed 100 pounds. The OCC recycling plant has an eco-friendly design thus helping conserve energy resources by minimizing wastages.


About Orange Coast College

Orange Coast College is a community-based college located in Orange County in California, USA. This institution was established in 1947 after a popular vote by the citizens and currently seats at an old US military base. The college admits over 24,000 undergraduates every year in its different educational programs. Learn more:


Orange Coast College – article recap

There are big things happening at Orange Coast College, Costa Mesa campus, especially in the recycling area. Last week, a ribbon was cut to inaugurate a building which took about a year and a half to complete. This new building will now be the new recycling center and it is quite a bit bigger compared to previous one. This was done based on a need. The recycling center of this college is a popular place for those who are interested in recycling waste, such as cans, plastic bottles, glass etc. This includes those who live in neighboring towns. Learn more:

The facility cost the college around $7.5 million and is located on Adams Ave, and it covers 5 acres, a far cry from the previous facility, which took roughly one acre. It will be the first facility of its type to feature amenities such as showers and break rooms. This is for the staff who will be running the place, which includes students working there part-time. Another interesting feature is the classrooms that will be located in the building and will teach classes connected to environmental studies and related subjects. In fact, the electrical supply for the building will be supplied by solar power and other environmentally friendly add-ons such as solar tubes for indoor light.

Orange Coast College is one of the largest and oldest community colleges in the US. From its humble beginnings of just a few hundred students dating back to the 1940’s, the college has grown to accommodate over 25,000 students. However, it is not only about student population size that makes this college stand apart from the rest. It ranks high in the number of student transfers who go on to study at the larger universities, in California as well as around the nation. This includes both state schools as well as private colleges. Learn more:

Orange Coast College is a member of the Coast Community College District. Classes start for the fall, winter, summer and spring semesters. Students who do not plan on transferring to a four-year college will usually complete their Associate’s degree in many of the college’s technical programs.