This thinker has been blog-free for a month, mostly because my spare time has been taken up learning QuickBooks accounting and preparing for another round with the Oklahoma Tax Commission in the ongoing effort to correct its 20 million dollar error apportioning motor vehicle revenues to school districts. (see A Turkish de Fright ) Despite now having been told by all four judges who have decided the matter that they got it wrong, the Commission prefers further delay rather than correcting their misdeed. See the appellate case here: http://www.oscn.net/dockets/GetCaseInformation.aspx?db=appellate&number=SD-115678&cmid=120661
I confess also delaying because the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs posted November 7, 2017, Teacher Absenteeism is a Problem in Oklahoma’s Public Schools, by contributor J E McReynolds based on an echo tank study, Teacher Absenteeism in Charter and Traditional Public Schools, concerning teacher absenteeism that reports traditional public school absenteeism nationally being more than three times the comparable measure in public charter schools. The data the study relies upon is self-reported, mandated and collected by the Office of Civil Rights for the U. S. Department of Education. Unlike all the other work put out by the limited thinkers at the OCPA that I’ve reviewed, I cannot find an obvious flaw in this study and that bothers me because the public school teachers I’ve known and worked with for more than fifty years have seemed as disciplined and committed as their private sector counterparts I’ve encountered.
I can pick at some points, like comparing the OCR stats to private sector sick leave data which seems clearly “apples to oranges” when the teacher data includes personal leave days and the private data does not include vacation leave, which teachers don’t get, but can be used like personal leave. Still the overall data reported is bothersome because those of us who know teachers matter believe, as the study’s author David Griffith states, “Research confirms what common sense dictates: Students learn less when their teachers aren’t there. According to multiple studies, a ten-day increase in teacher absence results in at least ten fewer days of learning for students.”
Even though the study, unfortunately, speaks for itself, in typical OCPA fashion, McReynolds has to pile on criticism of Oklahoma’s teachers by cherry-picking the statistics to emphasize. Here’s his big takeaway from the chart below: “In eight states, including Oklahoma, absentee rates are at least four times higher.”
The more obvious Oklahoma fact from this chart is that our teachers, in both charter and traditional public schools, experience chronic absenteeism at one of the lowest rates in the nation. But stating a fact complimentary to classroom teachers, or the “Blob” as the OCPA calls them (This is too much fun), is just not in its DNA or mission to disparage all services provided by government at all levels.
As always lunch is on me for the first to ID the photo location.