- Ada, Oklahoma


January 29, 2014

What do we really want from our schools?

Ada — The battle rages with the outcome still in doubt. Now is the time for Oklahoma parents to join the fray and decide what they really want from their schools. We are now engaged in a contest to define the relative value of our children and the role public education should play in their lives. Much is at stake. 

The current educational “reform” movement seeks to define students by their value as production units in our economy.  Kids are labeled “proficient” or “unsatisfactory” based on test results? No longer are kids valuable just for being. They must be profit producing for the business community. School time spent on developing the whole child or providing opportunities for exploration is deemed inefficient. The focus must be on test preparation and teaching kids to work under pressure. Rather than urging young people to choose something they would like to do for a living and helping them to be good at it, we are now proclaiming that unless they leave high school college bound, or at least headed for specialized training, they and their schools have failed. A loudly proclaimed myth declares that uncaring and unmotivated teachers are failing to help our young people reach their potential. Hogwash!

I have worked in Oklahoma schools for nearly forty years and can name on less than two hands the number of teachers I have known who did not go above and beyond their job descriptions to help kids reach their dreams. The best teachers in the world cannot make kids choose to learn but most I have known have gone to extraordinary lengths to encourage their students to strive and achieve.

Where did it all go south? When did we lose sight of the fact that kids grow up at different rates; that some do not figure out what they want to do until well after their high school years? How can we not know that legislating excellence never guarantees it? Have we forgotten our own childhood? Some of us took longer to learn. Some of us learned but chose not to apply our knowledge. Some of us chose to ignore what we knew was good advice and took our chances (i.e. anyone who started smoking within the last 30 years or those of us who continue to overeat). Children, like the adults around them, are not all the same.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • Jerry Duncan The roll call of the misfits

     The roll call of the faithful in Hebrews 11 is designed to inspire us and give us hope. Comparing our difficulties with theirs gives us some perspective when the problems of life feel overwhelming. There are some pretty terrible and overwhelming struggles described there. 


    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Kaylin Cullum Guest Columnist Where the sidewalk ends

    I remember getting the call one night three years ago. One of my best friends had been hit by a car.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Letter to the Editor

    Dear editor

    April 16, 2014

  • Money, Money, Money, Money, Money

    Whenever James Truslow Adams coined the term “the American Dream,” he probably never envisioned the nightmare that it would become. 

    April 11, 2014

  • Lyin' Eyes

    When I was down in Brazil, I went into a shop to practice my Portuguese and buy a Pepsi. 

    April 9, 2014

  • Jerry Duncan How Is Your Adventure Going?

    I love Steven Curtis Chapman’s music, at least, most of it. Before my last trip to Romania, I recorded some favorite tunes from different artists that spoke something I needed for the trip. The words to his song, "The Great Adventure" were perfect for me.


    April 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • Art Lawler Inflexible thought is a growing problem

    You remember the Dixie Chicks, of course. The band that told foreigners how embarrassed we were of President George Bush?


    April 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • Who deserves the praise?

    “Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven.”— Matthew 6:1

    April 4, 2014

  • Let the circle be unbroken

        “When we love, we always strive to become better than we are. When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too.”
       — Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

    March 26, 2014

  • Jerry Duncan How’s the search going?

    Robert McGee’s The Search for Significance has been out now since 1987.

    March 19, 2014 1 Photo

AP Video
Raw: More Than 100,000 Gather for Easter Sunday Raw: Greeks Celebrate Easter With "Rocket War" Police Question Captain, Crew on Ferry Disaster Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite Ceremony Marks 19th Anniversary of OKC Bombing Raw: Four French Journalists Freed From Syria Raw: Massive 7.2 Earthquake Rocks Mexico Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest

For years, Oklahoma was a mostly Democratic state. In recent years, there has been a swing to Republican affiliation. Have you changed your political affiliation to Republican?

     View Results