December 15, 2014

Have an Ollie Jolly Christmas


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December 05, 2014

'You Don't Have to Reform Your Entire School System'

I'll never forget something I read many, many moons ago, around the time Lincoln was starting first grade. "After a combined total of forty years in education," wrote Susan Wise Bauer and Jessie Wise, "we have come to one simple conclusion: if you want your child to have an excellent education, you need to take charge of it yourself. You don't have to reform your entire school system. All you have to do is teach your own child."

Through the years I have had occasion to reflect on that thought. Usually it's when there's trouble in socialist paradise — not just your everyday run-of-the-mill trouble, but something that borders on the farcical. Take, for example, this helpful summary of how Oklahoma state officials plan to develop new academic standards. Enjoy:
To develop new academic standards, a steering committee composed of several state government education officials will appoint four executive committees of up to 21 members apiece.

The executive committees will include everyone from parents to tribal leaders to business leaders. Then, 28 Standards Creation Teams, comprising mostly teachers, will draft the new standards with input from executive committees.

And then, Draft Review Committees, which can include Oklahomans from all walks of life, will examine standards.

Throughout the process, 12 Regional Advisory Committees will gather community input. Later, an Assessment Design Committee will review standards content, alignment from grade to grade, and assessment design and structure.

Proposed standards will then be submitted to 45 days of public comment. After that, the state Board of Education will have to approve the standards. ... [And] all the aforementioned work can then be thrown out the window on a legislative whim.
To which I can only respond:


As a policy wonk, I will leave the committees and the bureaus and the five-year-plans to those who still don't trust the free-enterprise system. I will continue to emphasize the one reform which the empirical evidence consistently shows improves student performance in the government-operated schools.

But as a parent, I'm exceedingly grateful for the truth expressed so well by Jessie Wise and her daughter: "You don't have to reform your entire school system. All you have to do is teach your own child."

November 29, 2014

Epic Two-on-Two Battle Today

I'm pleased to report that Oliver and his dad defeated Jack Henry and Susie.


November 21, 2014

Oct. 15, 2009 — Nov. 21, 2009

One of the first times we caught a glimpse of what Anne Marie would look like.
She was beautiful here and even more beautiful when she was born. 

November 18, 2014

Oklahoma Pols Should Be More Like Walker, Brownback

Reflecting on the recent GOP tsunami, OCPA distinguished fellow Andrew Spiropoulos says "we should celebrate the victory of conservatives throughout the nation against a coordinated campaign of calumny and deceit funded by leftist billionaire George Soros and a small army of local Soros wannabes."
In addition to political candidates, they have funded phony news operations and policy think tanks for the purpose of spreading leftist agitprop disguised as legitimate journalism and policy research. Their recent stock in trade is spreading the big lie that we have reduced education spending in this country. They want to hide that we have spent billions and billions more on education in the last 30 years and, when you look at student achievement, we have nothing to show for it. 
Moreover, Spiropoulos says Oklahomans should savor — and learn something from — the victories of Scott Walker and Sam Brownback.
It is true that the Walkers and Brownbacks had to fight hard for their victories. Our state elected officials, from Gov. Mary Fallin on down, were re-elected by greater margins. But their victories, like that of our listless legislature, were empty. They didn’t win because of their achievements. They won because they weren’t Democrats. Maybe if they try to be more like Walker or Brownback, Oklahomans will have something to celebrate in four years.
I encourage you to read the entire column here.

November 11, 2014

November 11

I won't ever forget this day. The day He gave us a miracle.

I took Oliver out this Sunday to take some pictures. He asked if he could take "Mammie's Lamby".

I'm thankful that Oliver remembers her too, even if he hasn't met her yet.

November 10, 2014

Pilate Took Water and Washed His Hands in Front of the Crowd

Great story in The Oklahoman yesterday about how "young gamblers are more susceptible to developing an addiction." My favorite sentence in the article:
A spokesman for the Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association, which represents more than two dozen tribes, referred questions to the National Indian Gaming Commission in Washington, which declined comment.