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The Morning Bell: Schools closed for MLK holiday

Martin Luther King, Jr. in Washington DC. 
Martin Luther King, Jr. in Washington DC. 

"Intelligence plus character - that is the goal of true education" -Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Good Monday morning. Schools are closed today in observance of Martin  Luther King, Jr., Day. A ceremony and silent march will be held today in Oklahoma City at 9 a.m., followed by a job fair at Douglass High School and a parade at 2 p.m. Here's a look at more activities throughout the day. 

Education was a central aspect of the Civil Rights Movement, including work to desegregate schools. Last year was the 60th anniversary of the "Little Rock Nine" and I spoke with one of the original students during her visit to OKC last fall. 

Technically, legal segregation of schools no longer exist. But Oklahoma City's schools remain segregated in ways that mirror the pre-busing era. 

Looking for action

In a column for The Oklahoman, Alicia Priest, president of the Oklahoma Education Association, looked ahead to the upcoming legislative session and wrote "the public education crisis in Oklahoma is real, and Oklahomans know it. Most importantly, Oklahomans want action."

--Oklahoma lawmakers have begun filing legislation for the 2018 session, which begins Feb. 5.

While many of the bills already introduced are standard fare for a legislative session, several focus on the most pressing issues at the state Capitol: revenue and the budget.

--One bill seeks to remove the state Board of Education from the charter school appeal process. I wrote about this legislation from Sen. Ron Sharp, a former educator, in today's Oklahoman

Adapting to four-day weeks

At first, Sara Eagleton, a teacher at Inola Public Schools, was apprehensive about the district's move to a four-day week, reports Samuel Hardiman of the Tulsa World

“If anything, it actually helped me focus and gave me a drive to keep going at a quick pace,” Eagleton said. “... Also pick and choose a piece of literature that can cover more than one standard at a time.”

Inola Public Schools is among the 91 school districts in the state that go to school only four days a week, according to the Oklahoma State Department of Education.

Suspended principal to remain in OKCPS

Oklahoma City Public Schools and suspended Northeast Academy Principal Sue Starr have struck a deal that will allow Starr to continue working as a district administrator, officials said last week.

Starr was suspended with pay Oct. 25, two days after about 150 students protested overcrowding and other conditions at the school in northeast Oklahoma City, which is occupied by Superintendent Aurora Lora and several district employees.

Lottery looks to contribute more to schools

A new state law dramatically boosting lottery sales will allow the Lottery to increase funds sent to Oklahoma’s public education system, reports KSWO.
“Sales are up in a big way over last year, and all signs point to the Lottery making a significantly larger contribution to education next year and in the years to come,” said Rollo Redburn, executive director of the Oklahoma Lottery.

Edmond band returns from London

Over 400 Edmond students traveled to London this year, including the bands and orchestras from all three Edmond high schools and the choirs from Santa Fe and Edmond Memorial high schools. The most visible of the performances — and the event that prompted the trip in the first place — came from the Edmond bands' marching in the two-mile, 32nd annual London New Year's Day Parade winding through the city's center.

That does it for today's Morning Bell. Have a great Monday, see you tomorrow!

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Ben Felder

Ben Felder is an investigative reporter for The Oklahoman. A native of Kansas City, Ben has lived in Oklahoma City since 2010 and covered politics, education and local government for the Oklahoma Gazette before joining The Oklahoman in 2016.... Read more ›