The Morning Bell: Atypical hours for childcare
Good Tuesday morning. I'm still in Chicago for another day at an Education Writers Association conference on early childhood education.
Yesterday's session included closer looks at the way states are addressing birth to five care, the development process of children before they even step foot inside a school and the financial hurdles many early childcare providers face.
One session included talk of early childcare in neighborhoods with parents who work non traditional work schedules, which reminded me of a story I wrote earlier this year on an Oklahoma City daycare that operates 24 hours a day.
“I'm a single dad and I don't have any family down here,” said Landon Gibson, who worked the night shift at the Colcord Hotel in downtown Oklahoma City. “Without having a day care center open at night, I would just have to take any job I could get.”
Oklahoma City isn't necessarily considered a “24-hour city” when it comes to nightlife and entertainment, but has a growing round-the-clock economy with an increasing segment of its working class employed in hospitality, food service and transportation sectors that mandate nontraditional work hours, according to local labor statistics. That has created a growing demand for round-the-clock child care.
You can read that entire story here.
--'LAST CHANCE' TAX HIKES: Oklahoma Senate lawmakers are urging the House to adopt a package of tax hikes that could fill most of the budget shortfall, provide recurring revenue and pay for teacher and state employee salary increases. If adopted, the bill would raise the oil and gas production tax rate from 2 percent to 4 percent on all new wells. It would add a 6-cent tax on motor fuel and implement a $1.50 tax on cigarettes.
The Oklahoman's Dale Denwalt has the latest on the special session of the Legislature.
--COPING WITH LIMITED RESOURCES: Ada Junior High School has lost 13 staffers over the past three years, including a counselor who retired and was not replaced, reports the Ada News.
Reductions in staffing have affected class sizes at the school and created more stress for the employees who remain, Principal Ronny Johns said.
“Where we are with our demographics in Ada, we see more and more students who need help,” he said. “So it puts a lot of stress on the counselors, just in the fact that they’re busy with the students, which is where they need to be busy."
Johns and other educators talked about how the state’s budget woes are affecting public schools during a roundtable discussion Thursday at the Pontotoc Technology Center. The state’s largest teachers union, the Oklahoma Education Association, hosted the discussion.
--SUPERINTENDENT ELECTION WATCH: State schools Superintendent Joy Hofmeister is getting donations again for her 2018 campaign, now that a criminal case against her has been dismissed.
She raised more than $51,000 in August and September, almost three times what she had raised in the year before, her latest campaign report shows.
Overall, Hofmeister has raised $69,810 through Sept. 30, her latest report shows. Among her donors are former Gov. Brad Henry and his wife, Kim Henry. Each is listed as giving $500 in September.
No one else has filed paperwork yet with Ethics Commission to be a candidate for state schools superintendent in 2018.
--HALL OF FAME: Former Dunbar High School teacher E.M. “Nat” Watson Jr. was recently inducted into the Oklahoma African American Educators Hall of Fame, reports the Shawnee News Star. Watson began his education career in his hometown of Boley. There he taught social studies and was often quoted as saying, “If you know history, you know yourself.”
--CHILD ADVOCATES FRUSTRATED: There's a rising sense of frustration among advocates for children in Oklahoma that the state seems almost irreversibly stuck closer to the bottom than the top in national rankings of how states care for kids, reports SWOKNews.com.
"The frustration is at a pretty high point," said Joe Dorman, chief executive officer of the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy (OICA), which held an annual forum Thursday at the Oklahoma Capitol likely to influence the welfare of tens of thousands of Oklahoma's children.
--HOFMEISTER IN BARTLESVILLE: State schools superintendent Joy Hofmeister will speak to a public meeting prior to answering questions in Bartlesville on Friday afternoon. Public Education Advocates for Kids, or PEAK sponsors the event scheduled from 1:30 to 2:30 at the Tri County Tech event center.
--SCORES IN URBAN DISTRICTS: New state tests showed Tulsa Public Schools lagging behind suburban districts in proficiency rates. One district they didn’t lag? The most comparable district in the state, Oklahoma City Public Schools. The Tulsa World has more.