Tulsa Education: December 2011 Archives

Three recent documentaries critical of K-12 education in America are now available for online viewing. Each film dramatizes the failures of public education, the efforts by lower-income parents to secure a better education for their children, and the ways that bureaucracy and entrenched interest groups work to thwart those efforts. (Hat tip to Ace of Spades HQ.)

The Cartel (92 minutes) is available for free streaming on Hulu and is also available for instant streaming to Netflix subscribers.

Teachers punished for speaking out. Principals fired for trying to do the right thing. Union leaders defending the indefensible. Bureaucrats blocking new charter schools. These are just some of the people we meet in The Cartel. The film also introduces us to teens who can't read, parents desperate for change, and teachers struggling to launch stable alternative schools for inner city kids who want to learn. We witness the tears of a little girl denied a coveted charter school spot, and we share the triumph of a Camden homeschool's first graduating class.

Together, these people and their stories offer an unforgettable look at how a widespread national crisis manifests itself in the educational failures and frustrations of individual communities. They also underscore what happens when our schools don't do their job. "These are real children whose lives are being destroyed," director Bob Bowdon explains.

The Lottery (80 minutes) is also available for free streaming on Hulu and for instant streaming to Netflix subscribers.

In a country where 58% of African American 4th graders are functionally illiterate, The Lottery uncovers the failures of the traditional public school system and reveals that hundreds of thousands of parents attempt to flee the system every year. The Lottery follows four of these families from Harlem and the Bronx who have entered their children in a charter school lottery. Out of thousands of hopefuls, only a small minority will win the chance of a better future.

Directed by Madeleine Sackler and shot by award-winning cinematographer Wolfgang Held, The Lottery uncovers a ferocious debate surrounding the education reform movement. Interviews with politicians and educators explain not only the crisis in public education, but also why it is fixable. A call to action to avert a catastrophe in the education of American children, The Lottery makes the case that any child can succeed.

Waiting for "Superman" is not available on Hulu, but is available for instant streaming to Netflix subscribers. It's notable as a critique of the public school system from the left side of the political spectrum.

It was a morning like any other -- as Academy Award winning filmmaker Davis Guggenheim was taking his young children to school -- that he was moved to act. Like many parents in America who are lucky enough to have the means, Guggenheim's children were headed that morning to an expensive private school, where he was assured they would find themselves in an invigorating environment with talented teachers devoted to bringing out the best in them.

But as he drove past the teeming, troubled, poorly performing public schools his family was able to bypass, Guggenheim was struck with questions he could not shake: What about the kids who had no other choice? What kind of education were they getting? Where were the assurances that they would have the chance to live out their dreams, to fulfill their vast potential? How heartsick and worried did their parents feel as they dropped their kids off this morning? And how could this be right in 21st Century America?

I would hope that anyone seeking a position on a school board will have seen these films and be prepared to talk about how they and the school system they seek to serve. Here in Tulsa County that should mean to encourage and facilitate the creation of new charter schools and to stop trying to use lawsuits to obstruct voucher programs like the Lindsey Nicole Henry Scholarship program.

Leigh Goodson is a candidate for Tulsa Public Schools Election District 5, a seat currently held by Brian Hunt, who has opted not to run for re-election.

Goodson is involved in what looks very much like an arm of Tulsa's Cockroach Caucus. She's a member of the board of the Center for Legislative Excellence. She and her husband Mark R. Goodson have given a total of $2,500 to CLE, their largest state political contribution.

Here's the full list of CLE board members. While the CLE's goals are laudable -- lobby effectively at the State Capitol for Tulsa's share of state funding for roads, hospitals, and higher education -- you may recognize on this list the names of several who have been actively involved in the effort to reshape (I'd say mutilate) Tulsa's city government over the last several years:

Robert C. Poe, Co-Chairman
Larry Mocha, Co-Chairman
Connie McFarland, Membership Chair
Jay Helm, Contributions Co-Chair
Pete Regan, Contributions Co-Chair
Richard Riddle, Treasurer
Howard Barnett
Guy Berry, III
John Brock
Joe Cappy
Len Eaton
Patty Eaton
Leigh Goodson
Heather Griffin
Kell Kelly
Kris Langholz
Robert Lorton
Jim Orbison
Jody Parker, Emeritus Board Member

Leigh Goodson, a registered Democrat as of this July, has also contributed to Grow Oklahoma PAC, Prosperity PAC, and Oklahoma Rising, as well as individual candidates Lucky Lamons, Brian Crain, Mark McCullough, Dan Newberry, Eddie Fields, and Mary Fallin. Neither she nor her husband, Mark R. Goodson, show up in the opensecrets.org database of donors to Federal campaigns.

She is currently serving on the Sixth Grade Task Force. She is listed as "Leigh Goodson, Ph.D., OSU Center for Health Sciences and Chair of the Teacher Leader Effective Committee, The Foundation for Tulsa Schools." (Here is a list of the board of the Foundation for Tulsa Schools.)

In 2006, the Journal Record profiled Leigh Goodson as an "Achiever under 40," listing her as vice president for enrollment management and marketing at Oklahoma State University Center For Health Sciences:

Goodson started her career as an admissions counselor, moving up the ladder to academic adviser, director of medical school admissions and dean of students before being named to her current position as vice president of enrollment management and marketing for the Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences (OSU- CHS).

Each position in higher education has allowed me to help others overcome obstacles to their educational goals, she said....

Goodson earned a bachelor's degree in political science from OSU in Stillwater; a master's in organizational communication from Fort Hays State University in Hays, Kansas; and a doctorate of philosophy in educational research and evaluation from OSU....

Her community involvement includes serving on the board of the YMCA of Greater Tulsa. She also led in the development and remains a member of the Camp Takatoka Advisory Board. Goodson volunteers with Riverfield Country Day School and Eliot Elementary School, and is a member of the Boston Avenue United Methodist Church.

The Journal Record profile mentions two children who were 7 and 4 in 2006.

According to news reports, Goodson was in Leadership Oklahoma Class 23.

My gut feeling, from looking at the above information, is that Leigh Goodson is an insider, likely to be a supporter of the status quo. I could be wrong, and she might be a true reformer who supports charter schools, vouchers, classical curriculum, and traditional teaching methods. Still, I'd feel better about this election knowing I'll have at least one other choice on my ballot come February.

You want to make a difference, Tulsa Tea Partiers? Here's your chance. Run for this open seat, Election District 5, or run in Election District 6 against a 16-year incumbent (Ruth Ann Fate) who has been an obstacle to expanded school choice for Tulsa children. Remember: The filing deadline is today (Wednesday, December 7, 2011) at 5, and you need to allow time to fill out paperwork and get it notarized.

Not many more people filed for school board in Tulsa County on the second day of the three-day filing period. Three seats (in Skiatook, Sperry, and Broken Arrow) that had no candidates after the first day now have one candidate, and one seat (and only one) in Skiatook has a contested race. That leaves seats in Collinsville, Owasso, Glenpool, and Keystone with no candidates whatsoever.

Wednesday is the last day of filing. Deadline is 5 p.m. Our public schools matter. If nothing else, they should matter to you because your property taxes are paying for them, and you drive by the resulting capital improvements every single day. You have a rotten school board, you get architectural monstrosities like the new Clinton Middle School, which earned national recognition as James Howard Kunstler's Eyesore of the Month for March 2010.


Every school board seat should have a competitive race.

Here are the four seats that have changed since yesterday:

(Click for JPEG map of Broken Arrow board districts.)

Broken Arrow Office 2 - Five year term

Steven R. Majors
3000 S. Ash Ave
Broken Arrow, OK 74012


Skiatook Office 1 - Four-year unexpired term

Patricia Pippin Ceska
14421 N. 50th W. Ave.
Skiatook, OK 74070

Susan Ridenour (appointed incumbent)
9543 W. Rogers Blvd.
Skiatook, OK 74070

Skiatook Office 2 - Five-year term

Tim Allen (incumbent)
426 W Cherokee Pl
Skiatook, OK 74070


Sperry Office 2 - Five-year term

Mechelle Beats
11505 North Lewis Ave
Skiatook, OK 74070

A1615-ClintonHighSchool.jpgNot only is this the filing period for Oklahoma's presidential preference primary, but it's also the school board filing period, and every school district in the state has at least one seat up for election in 2012. Filing for a school board seat takes place at the election board for the county in which the school district is headquartered. Filing closes at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, December 7, 2011.

In most independent (K-12) districts, this is the year for Seat 2 in the five-year rotation. In dependent (K-8) districts like Keystone, Seat 1 is up for election to a three-year term.

School districts with more than 10,000 average daily membership (Tulsa, Broken Arrow, Jenks, Union, Oklahoma City, Putnam City, Edmond, Lawton, Mid-Del, Norman, Moore), vote on board members by board district. In smaller districts, members must live in the designated board district, but they are elected by the entire school district. School districts with fewer than 1,800 ADM may opt to elect all members at-large.

The state's two largest districts, Tulsa and Oklahoma City, each have seven districts, each of which elects a board member to a four year term. This year, Seats 5 and 6 are up for election in Tulsa.

Oklahoma City is on a slightly different schedule (Seats 3 and 4), and they have one extra member, a board chairman elected at-large, former State Sen. Angela Monson. Tulsa is the only other district in the state eligible to have an elected chairman (must have at least 30,000 average daily membership) but so far the school board has not opted to activate that position.

Tulsa Technology Center (aka the Vo-Tech) has one of seven board seats up for election to a seven-year term.

School board elections have very low turnout, an order of magnitude smaller than a city council election for a district of roughly the same size. An organized campaign could easily unseat an incumbent or win an open seat. At the beginning of 2011, both Tulsa incumbents were unseated by newcomers.

(OCPA's Brandon Dutcher, writing at Choice Remarks, calls for moving school board elections to November and cites five examples of bad public policy resulting from our current low-turnout school elections, which can easily be dominated by special interests like teachers' unions.)

Here in the Tulsa district, it's vital that our two seats are filled by strong advocates for school choice. Ruth Ann Fate has been hostile to the expansion of charter schools in the Tulsa district, and Tulsa is far behind Oklahoma City in offering a range of choices to parents. If we want families to stay in central, west, north, and east Tulsa, rather than flocking to the suburbs, we need to offer superior educational choices.

Don't forget that school boards in Jenks and Union voted to sue the state in order to strike down a law, the Nicole Lindsay Henry Scholarships for Students with Disabilities Act, that helps students with disabilities get the kind of education they need. Jenks, Union, Tulsa, and Broken Arrow had been sued by parents of special-needs kids for refusing to carry out the law.

The Sand Springs board voted unanimously to express support for Jenks and Union's countersuit. Every incumbent on the Jenks, Union, and Sand Springs boards should retired by the voters for their lawless and selfish attitude.

Here's who filed on the first day in Tulsa County (reformatted from the candidate list on the Tulsa County Election Board website). Note that so far, no seat has drawn more than one candidate, most of those filing are incumbents, and for seven of the 19 seats there are no candidates whatsoever.

(Click for PDF map of Tulsa board districts.)

Tulsa Election District 5 - Four-year term
(open seat; Brian Hunt is not seeking re-election)

Leigh Goodson
2845 E. 32nd Pl.
Tulsa, OK 74105

Tulsa Election District 6 - Four-year term

Ruth Ann Fate (16-year incumbent)
7014 E 60
Tulsa, OK 74145

(Click for PDF map of Sand Springs board districts.)

Sand Springs Office 2 - Five-year term

Mike Mullins (incumbent)
3309 Maple
Sand Springs, OK 74063

Sand Springs Office 4 - Two-year unexpired term

R. Bo Naugle (appointed incumbent)
19310 West Highway 51
Sand Springs, OK 74063

Sand Springs Office 5 - Three-year unexpired term

Jackie Wagnon (appointed incumbent)
713 East 11th Street
Sand Springs, OK 74063

(Click for JPEG map of Broken Arrow board districts.)

Broken Arrow Office 2 - Five year term


(Click for PDF map of Bixby board districts.)

Bixby Office 2 - Five-year term

Wendell Nolan (incumbent)
17967 S. 71st E. Ave
Bixby, OK 74008


Jenks Election District 2 - Five-year term
(Click for PDF map of Jenks board districts.)

Jon Phillips (incumbent)
10808 S. Erie Ave.
Tulsa, OK 74137


Collinsville Office 2 - Five-year term



Skiatook Office 1 - Four-year unexpired term


Skiatook Office 2 - Five-year term



Sperry Office 2 - Five-year term



Union Election District 2 - Five-year term
(Click for PDF map of Union board districts.)

Patrick Coyle (incumbent)
3817 S. Yellow Pine Ave
Broken Arrow, OK 74011


Berryhill Office 2 - Five-year term

Jeff Blair
6240 W 39 St.
Tulsa, OK 74107

(Click for text description of Owasso board district boundaries.)

Owasso Office 2 - Five-year term



Glenpool Office 2 - Five-year term



Liberty Office 2 - Five-year term

Craig Crystal
20704 S Braden Ave
Mounds, OK 74047


Keystone Office 1 - Three-year term


(Click for PDF map of Tulsa Tech board districts.)

Tulsa Technology Center Board District No. 7 (Zone 7) - Seven-year term

Jim W. Baker (24-year incumbent)
11938 S. Ash St
Jenks, OK 74037

Photo of Clinton Middle School from the Beryl Ford Collection.

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Tulsa Education category from December 2011.

Tulsa Education: November 2011 is the previous archive.

Tulsa Education: January 2012 is the next archive.

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