THESE ARE MY NOTES FROM THE GREATER OKLAHOMA CITY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE “STATE OF THE SCHOOLS” LUNCHEON ON 21 AUGUST 2008. THESE ARE COMMENTS BY KIRK HUMPHREYS AFTER TO LUNCH. KIRK IS THE NEW CHAIR OF OKCPS

Kirk Humphreys was elected to the OKC school board first in 1998, is one of the fathers of MAPS
– was formerly the mayor of Oklahoma City
– is the chairman of the Oklahoma City Public Schools

Mick Cornett (present mayor of OKC) will be addressing the Republican National Convention later this year

Thanks for coming, to have 400 people come to a luncheon like this says a lot about your commitment to education

If you live in the OKC metro area and have or had school age children, stand up
– you are our customer
– Sam Walton used to say there is just one boss, the customer
– for the past 40 years

it looks like we are not doing a very good job of meeting our customers needs
– as a parent you may go anywhere and pay any price to get the best possible education for your children

Sam Walton: At WalMart we have 2 rules
1- the customer is always right
2- if the customer is wrong, refer back to rune #1

Reason families moved from the urban areas to the suburban areas was academic performance

MY THOUGHT: I THINK THIS OPINION IS WRONG. THE REASON WE’VE SEEN WHITE FLIGHT AND OTHER DEMOGRAPHIC CHANGES FROM URBAN SCHOOLS TO SUBURBAN SCHOOLS HAD MUCH MORE TO DO WITH DESEGREGATION OF OUR SCHOOLS THAN IT HAD TO DO WITH EDUCATIONAL QUALITY.

Let’s take a moment to say thanks to Cliff Hudson

API for Oklahoma Public Schools was 699 on a scale of 1500
– our average was 61% of the suburban average
– today our API has gone up over the past 7 years to 79% of the suburban average
– we’ve closed half that gap

what’s the state of the schools? they are better than they have to be but not as good as they need to be

our city is investing about $1 billion in education when you combine MAPS with the recent bond
– we are on track for facilities improvements

MAPS vision focused on
1- improved governance
2- student achievement
3- buildings
4. other…

there are 3 keys for the success of the vision of Maps
1- must restore stability to the leadership of the district
– Forbes ranked us the most recession proof city in the US
– NBA is moving to OKC
– Devon Energy announcement yesterday of their new building, bigger than anything in north Texas (bigger than Dallas!)

investment in our community is just part of the story
– for the past 15 years, the civic, business, and education leadership have been pulling on the same end of the rope
– city leadership has worked closely with businesses and Foundation for Public Schools, United Way, Arts groups
– MAPS for kids was a result of this collaborative work in the past

Next time you see a promotional video for the chamber, ask how many of the things you see there were here 10 years ago
– not many were, a few were but not many
– those things are the fruit of stable city leadership

We’ve had 3 mayors in 20 years
– in the school district we’ve had six superintendents

not everyone is good
– you’ve got some people in the organization that will resist change
– some people

Karl Springer is the new sheriff in town and he’s going to be here for awhile
(HE IS THE NEW SUPERINTENDENT OF OKC PUBLIC SCHOOLS
– he started over 30 years ago in the classroom, taught child of Sandy Garrett in Mustkogee
– was a Marine Officer
– was Army reserve officer for 20 years, retired as a colonel
– is one of us
– he understands Oklahoma
– born in Los Angeles, but moved to Oklahoma 31 years ago
– he is just the 2nd superintendent our district has hired in the past 30 years from Oklahoma
– the reality is that if someone is hired from out of state because of the career opportunity, they are going to move out of our state in

2nd key to MAPS vision success: transparency
– getting the facts about our schools to you in a straightforward manner

“Building a Learning City” is the MAPS report
– I encourage you to read that, there is incredibly clear thinking in that report
– we need to implement the recommendations of that report

transparency means telling the truth: the success stories, the good news and the bad news
– listing off schools with good API results
– so every teacher at Quail Creek is going to get a $3000 bonus for those results

We have some schools
– we have a breakdown at secondary level
– if you take out speciality schools, our “normal” secondary schools are doing 65% and 63% of API compared to suburban schools
– we have to share the facts openly with us

stability
transparency

3- accountability is the last key to change and success

Karl Springer is not a numbers guy, he is a kid guy

Burns is right, if a child is not reading on grade level by the end of 3rd grade there is a 50% chance they will not graduate from high school

Karl will not ask for the statistics about your school, he will ask the names of kids in the school
– to parents kids are not statistics

from grades K-3 you learn to read, after grade 3 you read to learn

accountability is about kids, not just about numbers
– part of that is being honest with you about providing the resources necessary to do this job
– in round number, the mill levy is about 60% of what it is in the suburbs
– so in that context we are outperforming

I have nothing to lose as chairman of the school board
– I am going to tell you the truth: the good of it and the bad of it

The difference if we taxed at the median of what the suburbs

ultimate accountability is the marketplace
– when we see people consistently rejecting the product
– the problem is not with the customer, it is with us
– it is wrong when we charge property tax and sales tax to our customers and they have to go somewher

my promise: I will support any alternative for providing a quality public education for your child
– you paid for it, we promised it, we will deliver on it

I am aware that it takes 5 votes to get anything done on our school board

I believe Karl Springer is building a team that can get this done if we’ll give him the support and resources
– MAPS cannot fail
– that is why I am com

this is not rocket science
– it will take stable leadership, accountability, and transparency to succeed

INTERESTINGLY THESE IDEAS DO NOT REFLECT THAT WE NEED TO CHANGE

MY QUESTION TO KIRK: WE HEARD PRESIDENT HARGIS TALK ABOUT CHANGES THAT WE NEED TO SEE IN K-12 TO REACH THIS VISION. BEYOND WHAT YOU HAVE SAID ALREADY, WHAT CHANGES DO YOU THINK WE NEED TO SEE IN K-12 TO REALIZE THIS VISION?

we need to embrace market forces
– we are here to serve you
– one size does not fit all
– all our schools don’t need to be the same
– we can have a lot of shapes and colors

Another question from the audience: What are we going to do about the length of the school year

response: I agree with you, some of our success stories are from year-long school schedules and schools like Kipp which are having an extended day
– we need to consider any option that will get the job done

I am not sworn in yet, I get sworn in soon and then start getting sworn at.

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