Two of the seven seats on the Tulsa Public Schools Board of Education are up for district general election on February 14, 2017. A runoff election could be held on April 4, 2017, if no candidate receives a majority of the votes cast in any of the races.
Phil Armstrong faces Amy Shelton for District 2. District 2 includes the following attendance areas: Burroughs, Carver, Kendall-Whittier, McKinley, Mitchell, Owen, Sequoyah, Springdale, Carver, Rogers and Booker T. Washington.
Incumbent Wilbur Collins and Judy McIntyre both have withdrawn from the race in District 2. Collins withdrew because of new and sudden health challenges but his withdrawal came too late for removal of his name from the ballot. Before his school board service, he was Tulsa County’s first person of color to serve as a Tulsa County Commissioner. He was elected County Commissioner twice, serving a total of eight years. Reportedly, McIntyre withdrew in favor of Armstrong who is younger. She had formerly served both as a school board member and served in the Oklahoma state legislature.
Jennettie Marshall is facing incumbent Lana Turner-Addison and Whitney Cole for District 3. District 3 includes the following: Academy Central, Anderson, Celia Clinton, Dual Language, ECDC Bunche, Gilcrease, Greeley, Hamilton, Hawthorne, Jackson, Monroe, Penn, Whitman, Central JH, McLain JH, Monroe, Central HS, McLain High School for Science and Technology
Armstrong is chief operating officer for Subway Franchise Restaurant Development of Eastern Oklahoma, overseeing 178 Subway locations. He has a master’s degree in public administration. He is married and a father of four children.
Marshall has an Associate’s of Arts in Political Science, Bachelor of Science in Corrections, a Master’s of Science in Business Management and an Associate’s degree in Applied Science in Funeral Service. Marshall is retired from the State of Oklahoma after being employed in various professional capacities within the Oklahoma Department of Corrections and the Department of Human Services. She also served the City of Tulsa as a Police and Fire Chaplain where she received emergency disaster response training and hostage negation training. Marshall is a volunteer with the Oklahoma Department of Corrections and the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Department. Marshall is the mother of three children, grandmother of twelve grandchildren.
In the coming years, the challenges confronting the Tulsa public schools will call for bold leadership by board members not to be afraid to speak out and enact new policies to reverse the chronic but solvable problem of poor student performance. These new policies must focus on at least 7 major areas: student learning, technology, social media, politics, school leadership, pre-service teaching programs and last, but not least, poverty.
Today in America, a rich country, 22 percent of public school students live in poverty and come into kindergarten with 1/8 of the vocabulary that their wealthier peers experience.
We believe Jennettie Marshall and Phil Armstrong have the education, experience and ability to address the coming challenges. We endorse them and urge you elect them.
IS THE OKLAHOMA ACADEMIC STANDARDS LAW RACIST?
In Oklahoma there’re some difficult days ahead for many public school students. This week at the state Capitol, Oklahoma State Representative Regina Goodwin held a hearing with stakeholders to discuss the A-F grading system under the Oklahoma Academic Standards law, it replaced the Common Core Standards.
The Common Core State Standards arose from a simple idea: that creating one set of challenging academic expectations for all students would improve achievement and college readiness. Pure and simple, they are descriptions of the skills students should have at each grade level in English/language arts and math by the time they finish high school.
According to Goodwin, the Oklahoma Department of Education has put in play a new manipulative formula for grading public school performance. For example, schools who are “handicapped” with higher enrollment of black, Hispanic, impoverished students will be given an upgrade artificially from F to D. In other words, the school’s performance will be upgraded even though its students are not meeting academic standards. This new grading system will lower the expectations of student’s performance. Goodwin said, “Underfunding and lowering expectations of students is not the way forward. Instead, we must provide the resources and tools necessary to support our students, teachers and administrators.” We agree.
However well intended, using any kind of racial classifications or economic status to address poor student performance is not the way to proceed. The emphasis must be on student performance not on the grading of a school’s performance. Implicit in the grading system proposed by the Oklahoma Department of Education smacks of “separate but equal” and “Jim Crow” because race is being considered as a factor in measuring academic performance. Dangerous. We have been down that road before. Sheer evil arises. When race is considered an important factor in one’s ability to learn. We urge the Oklahoma lawmakers to pay greater attention and purge this law with any vestige of racism.