Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Filing Deadline Nears

According to the Tulsa County Election Board, the deadline is nearing for filing for one of two open spots in the Tulsa Public School Board. The filing period is December 5-7, 2005 and the election is in February of 2006.

The open spots are for Districts #4 and #7.
District #7 is currently held by Matt Livingood the TPS School Board

From the TPS website:
Mr. Livingood, currently serving as president of the Tulsa Public Schools Board of Education, was appointed to the Board of Education in October 2001 and was elected to the post in February 2002. His term will expire February 2006.

Mr. Livingood is a solo attorney in private general practice with expertise in family law, small business matters and in dispute mediation. He is an owner and principal in Just Decisions, LLC, a dispute resolution service firm. He earned a B.A. from the University of Louisville in 1973 and a J.D. from the Brandeis School of Law at the University of Louisville in 1980. He taught middle school grades for six years at St. Francis School in Goshen, Kentucky.

Mr. Livingood and his wife, Laura, have two children, Kate and Matthew, who attended and graduated from Tulsa Public Schools. As a school volunteer, he served on an elementary school advisory council and helped found and served on three different local school foundations.

Livingood is an active, life-long member of the Episcopal Church. He is a lay member of the Oakerhater Community, an order within the Episcopal Church committed to supporting those engaged in ministries of reconciliation.

Schools in Mr. Livingood's election district include Carnegie, Grimes, Grissom, Patrick Henry, Key, Marshall and McClure elementary schools; Nimitz and Thoreau middle schools, and Memorial High School.

District #4 is currently held by Bobbie Gray.

From the TPS website:
Mrs. Gray was appointed to the Board of Education in January 1997 and was elected unopposed February 1998 and again in February 2002. She served as vice president from February 1999 through February 2000. Her current term will expire February 2006.

For the past 16 years Mrs. Gray has served in such leadership roles as a commissioner on the Tulsa Metropolitan Area Planning Commission (6 years); a member of Vision 2000, Riverside Task Force, Citizens for Tulsa, Tulsa's Education Task Force, etc. Currently she belongs to HOT (Homeownership Tulsa), the Mayor's Substandard Housing Task Force, East Tulsa Prevention Coalition and teaches monthly first-time home buyer classes. Although she has been a licensed realtor in Tulsa for over 23 years, she is now a home mortgage consultant for Wells Fargo Home Mortgage.

Mrs. Gray has lived in east Tulsa for over 22 years. She has been married for almost 30 years and to Richard Gray and has four children and 8 grandchildren. All of her children attended Tulsa Public Schools and graduated from East Central High School. In her spare time she spends time with family and loves to fish.

Schools in Mrs. Gray's election district include Columbus, Cooper, Disney, Kerr, Lindbergh, Mayo, Newcomer, Peary, Sandburg, and Skelly elementary schools; Zarrow International School; Foster and Lewis & Clark middle schools; and East Central High School.

TPS Board members have a thankless job and I give them a tip of the hat. However, we all know that the entrenched bureacrats run the show and will quickly indoctrinate any new initiate. We could stand some new blood on the TPS school board though....

What Will It Take?

This is really nothing new for T-Town. Yeah, our public school system overall is bad. It made the "needs improvement" list again. You can link to an article about it here.

Here is the gist of the article;

1-30-05 - Low test scores and graduation rates prompted state education officials to order 22 Oklahoma school districts, including Oklahoma City and Tulsa, to improve based on federal No Child Left Behind standards.

Tulsa and Oklahoma City, the state's two largest districts, both were criticized for low graduation rates in a report presented to the state Board of Education on Tuesday.

Schools are graded on test scores, graduation rates and the number of students who take end-of-course tests. Those failing to meet those benchmarks for two consecutive years make the "needs improvement" list.

Appearing on the list a second year, but not showing improvement are: Commerce, Oklahoma City, Tulsa, and Western Heights.

Appearing on the list a second year, but showing improvement are: Broken Arrow, Cache, Cameron, Canadian, Crooked Oak, Edmond, Grandfield, Idabel, Keota, McCurtain, Midwest City-Del City, Millwood, Okmulgee, Pittsburg, Putnam City, Shawnee, Wynnewood, and Wynona.

Do you see a trend?

The two largest public school districts in the state, Tulsa and OKC are the two worst. Broken Arrow and Edmond, the third and fourth largest cities in Oklahoma are now also on the list. Midwest City, Del City and Putnam City are also larger cities with larger schools and districts.

I am convinced that larger schools breed the apathy among students and staff alike. Students can literally disappear and fall through the cracks, while teachers are overwhelmed with behavior problems, special needs kids and paperwork.

One greatly needed reform is for smaller schools. I'm talking about high schools with less than 300 students max. That way, everyone knows everyone and you might be able to build a family-type learning conducive environment.

The old ways of traditional education coupled with the mores and attitudes of the public are not enough to reform the public education system. It will have to be reformed from without.

I know you are all sick of me beating this drum. I just hope that someday, someone with some authority will pick up on it. I think it is THE MOST CRITICAL FACTOR TO GETTING TULSA BACK ON ITS FEET!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving!

I wish all of you a very happy and joyous Thanksgiving. It is the best holiday of the year!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

One too many verses of "Just As I Am"?

I heard on KFAQ this morning that the pastor of Tulsa's Victory Christian Center, Billy Joe Daugherty, was assaulted by someone during last Sunday's altar call. Apparently someone came forward and proceeded to punch Mr. Daugherty in the face several times, requiring stitches.

Although I have tried to find out more, I have been unable to.

This is serious business. Why do we have so little information?

Was it a case of an irate husband? One too many verses for the invitation? Or a blatant case of a hate crime against a Christian?

Was the person arrested?

Is it time for all churches to take steps to protect their pastor?


It seems that no sooner did I blog about this incident that Fox23 had a news feature about it. Also, Channel 8 has more here.

It was an unprovoked attack from Steven Rogers, apparently transported to Victory from the John 3:16 mission. Rogers was arrested for assault and taken to jail.

Pastor Daugherty was stunned and turned around by the blows, but did not retaliate (not being pugnacious is a quality of a pastor) but simply got back in his pulpit and started speaking about forgiveness! What a great example of Jesus Christ!

Terrorist-In-Training Records Unsealed

It appears that the files previously sealed by the FBI have been released on the Joel Hinrichs III case. It was made public Friday after U.S. Magistrate Valerie Couch ruled there was no need to keep the records of the search of Hinrichs' apartment, e-mail account and nine OU computers sealed.

FBI agents found the same type of volatile high explosive TATP used by the the now infamous shoe bomber Richard Reid, and in the recent suicide bombings in London inside the apartment of Hinrichs. Federal agents found mixing bowls, a slow cooker, a thermometer, plastic containers, a hobby fuse, a circuit board, six tape rolls, and bomb-making chemicals as well in their search.

As we have just seen in the recent hotel bombings in Jordan, even the best laid plans of the suicide bombing terrorists can go up in smoke :). We all saw the woman on TV whose explosive belt failed to detonate. This suicide bombing stuff is very tricky business.

I can only assume that Joel Henry Hinrichs III intended to blow up more than himself as he contemplated his move outside the packed OU football stadium in October. However, the volatile TATP had the upper hand, along with the Providence of God to thwart his evil plans and his scheme only succeeded in ending his life.

Perhaps we will never know the full story. How involved was he in the Norman Islamic Society located a block away from his apartment? What about all the witnesses who saw him there frequently? No one in Oklahoma will rest any easier this night in light of these unsealed records.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Roemerman is Right

Fellow TulsaBlogger, Steven Roemerman, has a new blog entry you can link to here. Its about flipping the 4 to fix the county tax back to the city of Tulsa. As he points out, the city needs it way more than the county right now.

I agree with Steven, but I want to add these comments about Tulsa's public education; our public education system does not need more money to fix it.

What it does need is for the leadership of Tulsa (elected officials) to focus on it and do what they can to influence parents about the great importance of a sound public education.

Yes, we badly need improved streets and public safety. But until and unless we turn around our public education system, Tulsa, my hometown, will not turn around.

It's a tough nut to crack, since the majority of people who care squat about public education, have either died, moved, or are in extreme apathy. It would appear that few in Tulsa care anymore about our public schools.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

It rings hollow......

Last night the principal of Clinton Middle School took reporters on a tour of her facility. She pointed out and complained about the number of stairways, the leaking roof, the plumbing and the lack of elevators.

If this bond election passes today, Clinton is scheduled to be demolished and a totally new school built. Not just repaired, but built from the ground up. It seems that the problems are just too insurmountable to consider fixing the place up. This will be the second school, BTW the first, to get a brand new school from our property taxes.

Isn't Clinton Middle School the site of the KIPP Academy? Or is it at Woods Elementary? Either way, its a major renovation. KIPP is the contract school just established by the TPS Board. Everyone in charter school circles knows that KIPP establishes charter schools across the country. Why doesn't TPS call it what it is? And how fair is it to other charter schools and Tulsa taxpayers to provide a facility for one and not the others?

By the way, am I the only product of TPS whose schools lacked air conditioning, elevators just for special ed students, stairwells galore, poor plumbing, etc.?

Thursday, November 03, 2005

The Role of Religion in Politics

Tulsa's blog hero, Michael Bates of, has written another editorial for the free Tulsa newspaper, Urban Tulsa. You can link to it here.

His concluding paragraph is included here,

If we want elected officials who are fearless to do what is right, we ought to look for men and women whose character has been shaped by confidence in a God who is bigger than any adversary they may face.

I agree.

He wrote this article to respond to some criticism for previous comments made in a blog. This is a fantastic article, and I encourage everyone to take the time to read and think about it. I wish I had Michael's amazing ability to articulate issues in such a logical, thorough, and readable way.

A few years ago, I found myself on a board of directors for a public entity. It was my first exerience, and although not an elected official, it nevertheless was extremely political. I am a Christian and by that I don't mean I am a religious person. To me, Christianity is not a religion, but a daily relationship with Jesus Christ. I don't just practice this on Sunday's or Wednesday's, but it is an intricate part of what I am every day. I can't help it!

I went in to the voluntary Board service, hoping to do what I could to help the organization. I wanted to see it succeed. I wanted to build a consensus. I wanted to used my abilities, talents, education, and skills to do what I could. I wanted to encourage others to pitch in and help. I had an almost Pollyanna attitude toward other Board members, projecting that they too had the very best in mind for the organization. Boy, did I have a lot to learn!

Politics is raw power. And it is a dirty business. After three years on the Board, I had to assess my effectiveness as a Board member. Every initiative I tried to undertake was thwarted. Meeting times were changed so I would be late. The President would not put items on the agenda for consideration. The use of executive sessions was overdone and away from the eye of public scrutiny. Research and reporting was dismissed or passed over. People's livelihoods and characters were damaged. Coalitions were formed. Nothing substantial to advance the organization happened at the Board meetings.

Does all this sound familiar?

After three years, I decided I was no longer effective as a Board member, and that my limited time and resources were better suited elsewhere.

I am a lot happier.

But I was a volunteer. I had chosen to volunteer my services. That's different from an elected official. However, the experiences share similarities.

I have watched the Tulsa City Council turmoil for the past several years. I have a great understanding of what is really going on. I am a Reagan Republican, but I feel a bond of unity with Councilors, Henderson, Turner, Mautino and Medlock. Local political issues transcend party lines, race, age, you name it. They can't help themselves either!