Episode 026: Legislative Update 1

After lots of brainstorming about how I might make the Passing Notes blog and podcast better, I decided to make a 2019 goal to provide more news and information using both platforms. Passing Notes will still include interviews with education experts published every two weeks but every other week, we will get political (but not partisan). My goal is to provide information to educators, concerned citizens, stakeholders, families about what is going on in education in Oklahoma. Some weeks we might have guests or panels but every other week we will have updates. At least through the legislative session.

Please send me your thoughts and feedback! And definitely let me know if you’d like to come on an episode and talk education politics with me. Let’s get started!

This episode is focused on the Senate Bills that have been filed for the 57th legislature. Senators can file an unlimited number of bills. The deadline to introduce a bill is January 17th, 2019.

Senate Education Committee

  • Senator Gary Stanislawski (District 35) – Chair
  • Senator Joe Newhouse (District 25) – Vice Chair
  • Senator David Bullard (District 6)
  • Senator J.J. Dossett (District 34)
  • Senator Tom Dugger (District 21)
  • Senator John Haste (District 36)
  • Senator Carri Hicks (District 40)
  • Senator Allison Ikley-Freeman (District 37)
  • Senator Chris Kidd (District 31)
  • Senator Roland Pederson (District 19)
  • Senator Dewayne Pemberton (District 9)
  • Senator Marty Quinn (District 2)
  • Senator Paul Scott (District 43)
  • Senator Wayne Shaw (District 3)
  • Senator Jason Smalley (District 28)

Episode 025: My Conversation with the Superintendent

While most of us might agree that the current climate of education politics is improving, there is still a ways to go and Superintendent Hofmeister has been leading that charge. She recently requested a budget of $3.35 billion for the 2019-2020 school year, which was the largest budget ever requested for common education, aimed on reducing classroom sizes, decreasing the student to counselor ratio statewide, increasing funds to alternative education, a focus on professional development, and more.

Superintendent Hofmeister is Oklahoma’s 14th State Superintendent. She completed her Bachelor’s of Science in Education from Texas Christian University, receiving a certificates in English and elementary education. She served as a public school teacher, then as the CEO of Kumon Math & Reading Centers of South Tulsa. She served on the Oklahoma State Board of Education from January 2012 to April 2013 before running for State Superintendent. She was sworn in on January 12, 2015. In November of 2018, Superintendent Hofmeister was re-elected to a second term and will be sworn in on January 14, 2019.

Below are the questions I prepared to ask Superintendent Hofmeister:

  1. Introduce yourself
  2. Describe your background in education.
  3. What motivated/encouraged you to run for public office?
  4. Describe what your typical day looks like as Superintendent.
  5. What has surprised you about the position of Superintendent?
  6. What of your first term accomplishments are you most proud of?
  7. What do you hope to accomplish moving forward into your next term? What do you hope to accomplish for teachers? Students?
  8. What do you hope to accomplish in regards to the budget?
  9. Over the years education has had to cut a number of programs (Oklahoma Parents as Teachers, teacher mentorship programs), are there any past programs that you are hoping to bring back?
  10. With a new freshman class of legislatures, what are your plans to educate them on public schools and higher education?
  11. What goals do you have surrounding decreasing the teacher shortage in Oklahoma? How will Oklahoma compete with surrounding states that are willing to pay teachers more?
  12. You have brought in a focus on trauma in our state, how do you hope to prepare educators and schools to mitigate the impact of trauma on students?
  13. The State Department of Education has received a large number of grants in the last year, how do you think this change education in our state?
  14. What do you hope education in Oklahoma looks like in the next four years? Ten years?
  15. What is favorite part of being the State Superintendent of Oklahoma?