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  1. Default Re: OKC Public Schools

    Love this quote:

    “Portables are a short-term fix to a long-term solution Oklahoma City Public Schools has in place to address the overcrowding challenges we are currently facing,” said Rod McKinley, the district’s chief of operations.

    I was in portable classrooms at Northeast in 1981-2, and now, 33 years later, yeah, nice short-term fix, lol.....

  2. #27

    Default Re: OKC Public Schools

    Quote Originally Posted by TheTravellers View Post
    Love this quote:

    “Portables are a short-term fix to a long-term solution Oklahoma City Public Schools has in place to address the overcrowding challenges we are currently facing,” said Rod McKinley, the district’s chief of operations.

    I was in portable classrooms at Northeast in 1981-2, and now, 33 years later, yeah, nice short-term fix, lol.....
    Yeah portables are almost never short term. We had them at Mustang when I went to school and only recently did they go away, only to be moved to some of the elementary schools. The silver lining though is they do look like a lot nicer portables than I had, and are probably nicer than some of the OKCPS current classrooms.

  3. #28

    Default Re: OKC Public Schools

    I am extremely unhappy about the Linwood portables (which are nothing more than two double-wide trailers...I watched them going in). The Maps for Kids project had provided this school with an addition which was very well done, tasteful and blended in with the historic elements of the original building. You had to really look at it to tell that it was an addition. It's only been a couple of years since that project was completed.

    The portables are situated directly in front of the school, obscuring nearly half of the beautiful historic facade. It's a complete abomination. Additionally, the double-wides only have two small windows each, which face out on each other rather than the schoolyard or the street frontage. So the teachers and kids get to spend their class time with a view of another double-wide. Nice.

    There is a large, flat, unused (i.e. no playground equipment and no students ever back there) yard BEHIND the new addition that looks like it would've been plenty big enough to house the portables. The only people who could see the portables from that area would've been people on the Grand/I-44 access road that runs along the yard. If they just had to put in portables, at least they could've tucked them into that area. Oh yeah, and the damned things are painted a bright off-white color, which makes for a god-awful contrast to the dark brickwork of the school buildings.

    This whole thing is just a cluster-#$%& and it's an embarrassment to the neighborhood. And the sad part is that they'll never move them now.

  4. Default Re: OKC Public Schools

    Part of where they put them is contingent on if they can get power to it at a low cost and can they even back the truck up to the location without hazard. I wish things were temporary as well, but it seems every district ends up treating them as permanent structures once they're stuck in there.

  5. #30

    Default Re: OKC Public Schools

    ^^^

    Yeah, I figured there might be a good logistical reason they weren't placed in back, but it's still so awful. Sigh...

  6. #31

  7. #32

    Default Re: OKC Public Schools

    Quote Originally Posted by bombermwc View Post
    Part of where they put them is contingent on if they can get power to it at a low cost and can they even back the truck up to the location without hazard. I wish things were temporary as well, but it seems every district ends up treating them as permanent structures once they're stuck in there.
    This. While there may often be a more ideal location appearance wise, the expense of making it work for install (and the removal later) can take such a site off the list very quickly.

  8. Default Re: OKC Public Schools

    why are they using portables. Don't we have enough buildings that aren't in-use to open new schools?

    Portables is a nice problem to have, but OKC has school buildings that could be opened instead - don't they? I recall the last many years hearing about school closings/consolidations. But now, OKC is by far the largest school district in the state so isn't it time for new or re-opened/refurbished buildings vs. LONG TERM portables?

    Just asking. ...
    Oklahoma City, the RENAISSANCE CITY!

  9. #34

    Default Re: OKC Public Schools

    Ugly, but I'm much more interested in substance over form. I feel the same wAy about church buildings and wish our expensive universities would have skipped the pretty buildings so as to make education actually affordable.

  10. #35

  11. Default Re: OKC Public Schools

    Hot Rod, it's because we're talking about 1 or 2 rooms at a site, not a school. The administrative/maintenance overhead doesn't justify re-opening a closed school. Quite often, they're already purchased by someone too. Mid-Del did that recently and offloaded 2 schools, one to Rose State and another to a bank for development. But at the same time, they built a new school and re-shuffled some lines to accommodate the changes in those students location.

  12. Default Re: OKC Public Schools

    gotcha, thanks for the explanation
    Oklahoma City, the RENAISSANCE CITY!

  13. #38

    Default Re: OKC Public Schools

    I'm by no means stereotyping, but I just find it odd that low income districts continue to struggle. Even certain schools within the suburban districts that are in lower income neighborhoods are now doing worse.

  14. #39

    Default Re: OKC Public Schools

    Why do you find that odd? That's exactly what everyone suspects to happen...

  15. Default Re: OKC Public Schools

    There's a long standing debate about the correlation between performance and the socio-economics of a neighborhood. Everything from parental involvement, the importance the parent puts on school, the ability of the parent to supervise activities because of other responsibilities (ie they have to work 3 jobs so they aren't home to know what's happening), reduced funding to pay salaries to the staff causing a talent drain or lack of interest on the part of the staff, etc. And that reduced funding comes from lower property values, connected to property taxes, which fund the schools. And then the questions of which causes which to fail first, the school or the property value?

    So on one hand, you can try to tackle it by trying to push more money into the district, but that only goes so far. You HAVE to have the parents be wholly invested to make anything work. Unfortunately, that's not generally the case. That's not to say that just because you have money, that you're an involved parent, or vice versa. But statistically, lower income households are not involved as much in their children's school. A lot of that has to do with the work requirement though...and if they're handling more children. It's a lot easier to handle one kid when you're an older parent with disposable income. It's a lot more difficult if you're a parent of 4 and you and your spouse have multiple jobs just to be able to afford the bills.

    And all of those points are completely free of any racial classification because they exist in all races.

  16. #41

    Default Re: OKC Public Schools

    Debate? There's no debate. Schools in poor neighborhoods almost always perform worse than their counterparts in wealthier neighborhoods. As you said, it is largely due to parental involvement, however, I think you missed an important factor: the community as a whole. These kids grow up in a very different type of community than their middle-upper class peers and are much more likely to be involved in gangs, not speak English, witness violence, etc. Many do not even have basic needs such as adequate food, clothing and sanitation met.

    With so many hurdles to overcome it should come as no surprise that children raised in poorer neighborhoods tend to perform poorly in school.

  17. #42

    Default Re: OKC Public Schools

    As the previous couple of posts have illustrated, this dilemma our urban public schools are in is this big cesspool of unfortunate factors, all feeding off one another to make the problem worse. It's absolutely true that no single thing being suddenly made right will magically turn the situation around. It's too complex.

    My personal experience: Our neighborhood has gentrified and is thriving. We have many families with young children, and more are coming in every year. These are the active and involved types of parents who help to make a school great. Our neighborhood elementary school, however, is composed of mostly children from the "feeder" neighborhoods surrounding us. Those people fit the category referenced above—high poverty, minimal parental involvement, language barriers, etc.

    Several years ago, as our children began to approach school age, quite a few of us tossed around the idea of sending our children to the neighborhood school. We truly wanted to turn it around and went back and forth on whether or not we could do that. But the numbers were staggering. Even if every single one of the families in our neighborhood with young children sent the kids to the neighborhood school, we'd still be greatly outnumbered. Our presence at the school would literally be only a drop in the bucket. Then you had the question of, well, even if we miraculously turned this one elementary school around, the middle school and high school are even worse—and much, much larger. What would we do then?

    After much tooth-gnashing and soul searching and debate, it turned out that not one single family in our neighborhood (who was part of this initial discussion—I'm sure there are a few families in the neighborhood that I don't know, who send their kids there) placed their kids there. The risk was simply too great, especially for those of us that only have one child (such as myself) and one shot at doing it right. My personal fear was that my child, being inquisitive and high-energy and therefore needing a lot of attention and structure, would get "left behind" because the teachers would probably first have to deal with children having a language barrier, high poverty and perhaps lacking in basic skills, in order to get them ready to learn. The more fortunate children would probably be relied upon to be self-sufficient, as they were likely to be more ready for the school environment, having come from homes where learning started at birth. They might not be as challenged, curriculum-wise, as they could otherwise be. They probably wouldn't receive as much individualized attention because they aren't as needy. It's a tough deal, but it is what it is.

    So went sent our kids elsewhere. Many went to private schools. The ones who stayed public went primarily to Nichols Hills Elementary or Cleveland Elementary. Some are beginning to enroll in Rex now that it's open. It makes me feel kind of guilty, but that's what we felt like we had to do in the best interests of the child. And now, several years in, I don't regret it, as I am certain that the education my kid is receiving elsewhere is top-notch. But it makes me sad. I'm sad that my kid and I can't hold hands and walk the five blocks to school each day, that we instead have to get in the car at the height of rush hour and drive nearly 10 miles to get to our destination. I'm sad that the neighborhood kids are scattered throughout the metro and can never experience what it's like to live right by each other and go to school with each other, that they will never know what it's like to gang up and walk home together, to go over to somebody's house nearby to play as soon as the bell rings for the day.

    It is what it is.

  18. #43

    Default Re: OKC Public Schools

    Quote Originally Posted by DoctorTaco View Post
    There seems to be a lot of spinning and half-truths floating around about how we are funding public education in this state. Falin is claiming she has increased education funding, while others claim the opposite. Is there anywhere to look for fact checking on this?
    Oklahoma school funding cuts among worst in U.S.

    When we were already 49th in the country, we cut funding to common education 20% between 2008 and 2012. There was a $50 million increase in 2013, but that corresponded with a $49 million cut to higher ed amid a looming student loan crisis.

    Now, because of Fallin and the legislature, we are looking at a huge loss of federal money due to the rejection of common core.

  19. #44

    Default Re: OKC Public Schools

    Quote Originally Posted by Midtowner View Post
    Oklahoma school funding cuts among worst in U.S.

    When we were already 49th in the country, we cut funding to common education 20% between 2008 and 2012. There was a $50 million increase in 2013, but that corresponded with a $49 million cut to higher ed amid a looming student loan crisis.

    Now, because of Fallin and the legislature, we are looking at a huge loss of federal money due to the rejection of common core.
    Hopefully this will spur action to reassess the tax credits that are handed out , no questions asked.

  20. #45

    Default Re: OKC Public Schools

    turnpup that's a solid post up there, and a predicament that you wonder can ever be fixed

  21. #46

  22. #47

    Default Re: OKC Public Schools

    Would/Could the teacher's union fight this and win?

  23. #48

    Default Re: OKC Public Schools

    Quote Originally Posted by warreng88 View Post
    Would/Could the teacher's union fight this and win?
    Yes they sure would fight it, in my opinion. They might eventually agree to it if they get something they want in return.

    Having said that, when the union and board of education are at impasse, the issue at hand goes before a fact-finding panel. The panel hears from both sides, deliberates, and then issues a recommended resolution. In the end, the board of education has the final say. They don't have to adopt the recommendation that has been made. This is statutory.
    Last edited by turnpup; 09-23-2014 at 04:54 PM. Reason: Clarity

  24. #49

  25. #50

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