Wednesday, July 20, 2005

A Radical Idea

I can't blame certain parents and supporters that are proposing a new "lightweight" $1.3 million sports complex for Edison. They have certainly gone about this in a thoughtful way and are working within the system. For a mere $1.3 million (a starting price, I'm sure) Edison will have more school spirit, and less hassle when it comes to playing varsity athletics. Sadly, this mindset is part of the problem in Tulsa's public education. They have bought in to the notion that this stadium will somehow improve their school. IT WON'T!

You can check out their proposal here at a nicely detailed website. Here is the site where they extol the benefits of such a stadium.

Here is a radical idea or two. First, if Edison wants their own sports complex and stadium, let them use the yet-to-be-built downtown arena! Right now, I am not aware of any sports program that has committed to using that facility. These Edison folks can be the first!

But here is the most radical idea of all. Take varsity athletics out of the schools organization! This would eliminate almost every argument for their proposal.

The cost to run and maintain these programs should not come from public dollars that take away from classroom instruction. These programs should be separately organized and maintained by parent driven booster clubs. That way the bulk of the funding comes from those people most interested in the program. Such a heretical and radical idea will go nowhere, I know. But wouldn't it fundamentally shake up the system to wake them up to the notion that its academics that should be the focus in schools. With such poor academic performance, certain schools have turned lock stock and barrel to athletics and extra-curricular activities as a substitute for education.

This concept is currently at work and very successful at the charter schools in Tulsa. Do the students need sports and other extra-curricular activities? Of course! I am a strong proponent of both. How we accomplish it is flexible and as I argue, outside the budget of the public schools.

I think this is one way that TPS and Tulsa could sent a strong message to its citizens that we are willing to do whatever it takes to focus on turning the dismal academic performance of our students for the better.

How dare I propose such a step in a highschool-football-crazy state like Oklahoma! This is just the kind of outside-the-box thinking needed by our leadership to get the ship righted and back on course. Only then will we really start to see Tulsa's economy and quality of life improve.

By the way, Bates Line has an article about this Edison sports complex too. Several of my links came from his article. Thanks Michael!

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Is Now the Time?

With the winds of change wisping through the air around T-Town lately, I've wondered if now is the right time for some honest, decent, fair and just citizens to put off the clothing of apathy and put on an outfit of public service.

In a real sense, the issues that confront us transcend political parties. I am a dyed-in-the-wool Reagan Republican. As Ronnie said about his switch of party affiliations (from the Democrat to Republican) that, "I didn't leave the Demoncratic Party, the Democratic party left me". I too, feel that party affiliations are no longer relevant, especially with local issues. This disenfranchisement includes President Bush and our Mayor Bill LaFortune. Both of them are RINO's. I mean, what Reagan Republican supports tax increases and expansion of government programs? They both do!

In the charter school arena, I found the only true supporters for meaningful changes to the Oklahoma Charter School Act came from Democrats. I observed that both Councilors Henderson and Turner, both Democrats supported the reform-minded Councilors Mautino and Medlock. From these examples I can assume that the issues were not about race or political affiliation. When it gets down to it, locally, we are Tulsans. We want to see positive change. We see the same names bouncing around our elections. We see interference from former elected officials who no longer live or work in Tulsa.

From this spirit of working togetherness that we have seen, now is the time to join hands, roll up our sleeves and get to work and get Tulsa working again. Don't wait on the government. But we can work through the government and seek to elect reform minded candidates. Get informed and get involved! There are many openings and elections coming in the next year. There is still enough time to get things organized. Now is the time!

Thursday, July 14, 2005

One of the Good 'Ol Boys?

This is a picture of the frontman for the recently unsuccessful recall effort for Tulsa City Councilors Chris Medlock and Jim Mautino. He is listed as the chairman for the Oklahoma Hotel and Lodging Association. He singlehandedly presented the public face to the recall effort, and the others did not reveal themselves until disclosure laws forced them to by setting a date for public disclosure. Then it was revealed that this recall effort was primarily backed by business interests from outside the city of Tulsa, plus a few prominent Tulsans, all with a motivation to feather their own nests. Shame on all of you for your vain attempt to thwart the will of the people!

By the way, I am against the recall effort leveled against four other councilors and the mayor. In our republic, if you don't agree with someone, you wait until the next ELECTION and then do your best to get people in office that represent you.

By the way, I wonder if this man is still smiling? He may just have awakened the sleeping giant of previously apathetic Tulsans, now energized into action and set to sweep new reformers into office early next year. I wonder?

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

The not so public face of Tulsa's public education

This picture comes from this Leadership Oklahoma website. She is Margaret Erling-Frette, the not-so-public face of Tulsa's public education (at least as far as the average Tulsan is concerned). Michael Bates of Batesline has some interesting information and additional links about her here.

I met this refined lady last year in then Senator Penny Williams office while trying to get ANY legislator interested in some positive changes to the Oklahoma Charter School Act. It's just MY OPINION, but I don't think this woman likes charter schools, judging by her countenance change upon my introduction. Giving her the benefit of the doubt, we never had a conversation about it though.

She lobby's for various causes and companies including over the years, BOEING, GREAT PLAINS AIRLINES, TULSA PUBLIC SCHOOLS and TULSA TECHNOLOGY. There are many others I won't mention.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

More beauty from the backyard. Posted by Picasa

These Tiger Lilys were a gift from our neighbor Nona many years ago. They come up every year! Posted by Picasa

Taking a break from "chiggers" See the beauty in the simple things of life Posted by Picasa