Education crisis in Oklahoma
May 28, 2017 7:53 AM   Subscribe

"Of 513 school districts in Oklahoma, 96 have lopped Fridays or Mondays off their schedules — nearly triple the number in 2015 and four times as many as in 2013. An additional 44 are considering cutting instructional days by moving to a four-day week in the fall or by shortening the school year." The 2018 state budget, which was sent to Governor Fallin this week, cuts $34 million from education. Here is Oklahoma's study: Analysis of Expenditures of Districts on a Four-Day School Week (PDF)
posted by roomthreeseventeen (83 comments total) 32 users marked this as a favorite
 
They are ruining their state with all that fracking but they are cutting back taxes and won't fund education? Republicans are the most short sighted, least common sense people ever. Can't they see that China and India and Japan and South Korea are all pushing education, not cutting back? If they want our country to stay competitive, we need to be funding our kids' schools like crazy.
posted by gt2 at 8:08 AM on May 28, 2017 [53 favorites]


Macomb, a tiny rural district where 88 percent of students qualify for subsidized meals, was on four-day weeks until Superintendent Matthew Riggs persuaded the school board in 2015 to return to a traditional schedule.

Riggs said he could not “in good conscience” continue the four-day weeks — not when his students were already struggling in math and reading, and not when some were going hungry.
JFC.

The people who run the state must not be religious because, if there is a god, they gotta eventually realize that their lower taxes, small government bullshit is going to get them sent to hell. When they die they're going to come face to face with their maker and that maker is going to ask them why they starved poor children. At that point, while they struggle to give an answer, said maker won't give them a chance to finish, pull a lever and they will find themselves in desperate need of an air conditioner.
posted by Talez at 8:10 AM on May 28, 2017 [52 favorites]


Just another one of the many teeth in the sieve that is The Great Filter.
posted by sourwookie at 8:13 AM on May 28, 2017 [9 favorites]


All these cases - education, health care, etc. just go to show how YOUNG a nation the USA is compared to Europe and even the USSR, India, and China!
posted by Burn_IT at 8:19 AM on May 28, 2017 [8 favorites]


The first place that I heard of doing this was Hawaii, but there was a massive outcry and they scrapped it. When I heard about it, I was completely shocked. I still am shocked. But when you think about it, it makes sense: if your goal is to end public education, then one way to achieve that is to destroy the public school system. Then you can sweep in with some lovely vouchers that will let parents send their kids to the local Christian Bible Academy, which might not teach science but at least will have instruction five days a week.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 8:19 AM on May 28, 2017 [25 favorites]


Republicans don't want an educated populace, they want slaves, everything they've pushed for the last 50 years is about the reestablishment of slavery as legal, real, and widespread.
posted by The Whelk at 8:27 AM on May 28, 2017 [101 favorites]


This kind of thing doesn't just play hell with education; it plays hell with the schedules and childcare arrangements of working parents, too. It is surely introducing chaos and precarity into families that hadn't known it before.
posted by Western Infidels at 8:29 AM on May 28, 2017 [68 favorites]


One of the exurban districts here in Minnesota tried four-day weeks. They also had half-time kindergarten, where instead of AM/PM classes they went full days every other day, which seems like the worst of both worlds for everyone involved. They've dropped both now.
posted by Flannery Culp at 8:31 AM on May 28, 2017 [1 favorite]


I have to admit that child and teenage me would've loved this.

Which is probably a sign that it's a bad idea.
posted by jonmc at 8:35 AM on May 28, 2017 [49 favorites]


I'm convinced the goal of modern conservatism in the United States is a return to feudalism. And using racism and religion they have convinced a lot of potential serfs to support them.
posted by TedW at 8:41 AM on May 28, 2017 [38 favorites]


When you're a Republican governor in Oklahoma and among the least popular in the country, you done screwed up.

Like Brownback, ideology over reality never ends well.
posted by leotrotsky at 8:49 AM on May 28, 2017 [1 favorite]


Some time ago I tried a 4x10 work schedule, and even as an adult with near-total autonomy over how my day is spent, it was awful. Rearranging tasks was easy enough, but just being at work that long was exhausting, and the whole thing relied on either getting up painfully early or starting at a normal time but not getting home before 7:00. Inflicting a 4-day week on kids - either by going to longer days or staying with regular days and losing 20% of instructional time - is cruel.
posted by Flannery Culp at 8:52 AM on May 28, 2017 [11 favorites]


How the hell are parents supposed to hold jobs when their kids are only in school four days a week?
posted by octothorpe at 8:54 AM on May 28, 2017 [31 favorites]


The Republicans ultimate goal isn't to go back to the era of the robber barons, it is to go to the middle ages. Nobles and serfs. And serfs get uppity if they have too much education.
posted by Bee'sWing at 8:56 AM on May 28, 2017 [13 favorites]


How the hell are parents supposed to hold jobs when their kids are only in school four days a week?
This may be a feature, not a bug, if you want to make it impossible for women to have any autonomy.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 9:00 AM on May 28, 2017 [110 favorites]


My mom was a public school teacher in Oklahoma for years and finally retired after all this crap. This was after they offered a "raise" to teachers in exchange for giving up health care (which of course the premiums would cost far more than the raise). Now she tutors and does private piano lessons and makes more money there than she was making after years of teaching full time. Oklahoma just doesn't care about education. I saw it my whole life and I see no evidence thugs will get better as long as the Republicans can convince people taxes are evil.
posted by downtohisturtles at 9:01 AM on May 28, 2017 [18 favorites]


I think the childcare aspect can't be overemphasized. This is going to put a significant economic hurt on many people. Especially in lower income districts children often don't live with two adults, this means either the sole financial support for the family missing a day of work, or having to spend possibly more than a day's earnings paying for childcare. Even if there are two caregivers, essentially cutting the income of one by 20% is going to be incredibly painful.

We'll see older children, by which I mean kids as young as 8 or so, left unattended or taking care of their younger siblings.

One aspect of public education that is often ignored is the childcare aspect. For working families the fact that children are in school eases economic concerns and every school holiday is a source of anxiety and strain.

I loved teaching, and while things aren't quite this bad in Texas yet, they're going that direction and I'm often relieved that I'm not a teacher anymore.

The Republican ideological devotion to tax cuts above all else is going to have to end soon.
posted by sotonohito at 9:04 AM on May 28, 2017 [30 favorites]


Are the 81% of evangelical Christians who voted for Trump using a bible translation that I'm not aware of? because I just checked, and I couldn't find any part where Jesus Christ, their Lord and Saviour, says that you should look upon the little children and say fuck you, I got mine.
posted by Mary Ellen Carter at 9:07 AM on May 28, 2017 [103 favorites]


Are the 81% of evangelical Christians who voted for Trump using a bible translation that I'm not aware of?
The 81% of evangelical Christians who voted for Trump are super excited, because Betsy DeVos is going to make sure that secular and non-evangelical parents feel forced to send their kids to Christian Bible Academy. They're getting exactly what they wanted at both the state and national level, which is the destruction of the secular public education system.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 9:11 AM on May 28, 2017 [46 favorites]


Are the 81% of evangelical Christians who voted for Trump using a bible translation that I'm not aware of? because I just checked, and I couldn't find any part where Jesus Christ, their Lord and Saviour, says that you should look upon the little children and say fuck you, I got mine.
posted by Mary Ellen Carter at 9:07 AM on May 28 [+] [!]


Conservatives will happily vote to cut off their own arm as long as somebody else has them both cut off.
posted by kzin602 at 9:13 AM on May 28, 2017 [23 favorites]


(Also, I suspect you mean 81% of *white* evangelical Christians.)
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 9:14 AM on May 28, 2017 [10 favorites]


Oh what a beautiful morning.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 9:28 AM on May 28, 2017


Reading these sorts of short-sighted decisions by Republican controlled states always floors me at the sheer spite from which they seem to be operating. I can't wrap my head around it. Why be this way?

There's definitely something awry when I—a queer atheist secular humanist who brooks no truck with any religion—is a better Christian than them. I don't share their faith, yet I still have a better grasp of Jesus' teachings than they do.

It's fucking depressing.
posted by los pantalones del muerte at 9:30 AM on May 28, 2017 [44 favorites]


It is exactly about rolling back the secular state and reasserting the primacy of patriarchal religion.

This is how you do it.

That and the evangelising of the military.
posted by Devonian at 9:39 AM on May 28, 2017 [9 favorites]


Oklahoma always hovered somewhere in the bottom 10 states for public funding for education when I was growing up there, so it's remarkable that they're still figuring out ways to make that even worse. I think all the people who didn't buy into the prosperity gospel and who could afford to leave have. The people left in Oklahoma at this point are retirees who own their houses but don't want to pay taxes on them for services they don't use, temporarily embarrassed millionaires who think their big break is just about to happen, people who can't afford to leave the state, and "good Christians" who'd be sending their kids to "Christian" schools (or homeschooling) anyway, so what do they care about public schools?

I went to a public school, but in one of the wealthier districts so my education wasn't a total loss. My high school is one of the "dangerous" ones now, though. Sigh. I don't like going back, but at least the place I used to go for subs in high school now has a good taco shop.
posted by fedward at 9:40 AM on May 28, 2017 [2 favorites]


I often characterize this kind of depressingly self/destructive behaviour as "someone else might be getting a benefit [subsidized school lunch, public education, single-payer health care] that I don't also get [maybe don't need or want]. So I will make sure no one gets this benefit [rather than creating a society that distributes benefit based on need]." I find it depressingly common among people who vote conservative or neoliberal.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 9:48 AM on May 28, 2017 [18 favorites]


I live here, and I can tell you that these people are absolutely the worst. To quote a very old insult "if this governor's brains were gasoline, she wouldn't have the fuel to run a pissant's motorcycle around the outside of a bb."

And that, in my opinion, is being charitable. Even Trumpty Dumpty didn't want her in his administration which, I believe, is pretty damn bad...
posted by ivanthenotsoterrible at 10:00 AM on May 28, 2017 [7 favorites]


For what it's worth, while I can't imagine we're going to get a 4-day school week, we've got something similar going on in my state. The legislature slashed taxes on business, claiming that it would pay for itself in increased economic productivity, which of course has completely failed to happen. So now we've got a manufactured budget crisis, and instead of admitting that the tax cuts were a failure, they're claiming that we're all just going to have to tighten our belts in this time of hardship, because it can't be avoided and it's the responsible thing to do. Businesses, of course, aren't being asked to tighten their belts. Instead, the Republican legislature has gutted the collective bargaining rights of public sector unions, slashed the education budget, shut down agencies that monitor water quality, ended the hotline for survivors of sexual assault, and done all sorts of other things that are supposedly just sadly necessary in this time of budget crisis, but which really they want to do because they're despicable human beings.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 10:06 AM on May 28, 2017 [50 favorites]


And if I sound angry, it's because I'm a little angry.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 10:08 AM on May 28, 2017 [28 favorites]


You... you sound angry. But that's understandable, as you live among those who believe in fairy tales, like "the free market," supply-side economics, and a man who lives in the sky (and has our best interests at heart).
posted by ivanthenotsoterrible at 10:26 AM on May 28, 2017 [4 favorites]


On the plus side, kids are nimble and lightweight, so there will be plenty of opportunity to help their families by getting a job in a loosely regulated industry for the new "children's minimum wage" of 3/5's the national minimum. [get the "fake" now while the getting's good, this is coming, I'd lay money out].
posted by maxwelton at 10:35 AM on May 28, 2017 [2 favorites]


You don't need an education to be a compliant consumer.
posted by Thorzdad at 10:51 AM on May 28, 2017 [4 favorites]


As someone who grew up in Oklahoma, this is sad, but pretty much exactly as expected. There's long been an animus towards taxes and public schools. Unfortunately, Fallin went too far and slashed the royalty tax on oil and gas a few years ago when oil was above $100. That already blew a hole in the state budget, but then oil collapsed to $40 and the drilling stopped.

Meanwhile, they're bleeding teachers badly -- 7% of classroom instruction this year was by "emergency teachers" who had no certification.

This budget had an $800M hole in it, and the GOP spent so much time dithering about abortion and gay marriage that they couldn't even come up with a plan until the end of the session, when they KNEW they needed Democratic support to raise taxes.

And meanwhile the state GOP is starting to worry -- they've lost 4 legislators to scandal since November, and a safe GOP seat turned into a squeaker during the special election (on a 16 point swing from the November election).

The only things working in the GOP's favor this coming election is Mary Fallin is term limited and their majorities are huge. But they will get reamed.
posted by dw at 11:14 AM on May 28, 2017 [2 favorites]


I think I can just keep coming into every thread about the reactionary destruction of small-L liberal society and say the same thing. The Democrats need to realize that there are really only two options moving forward: a humanistic egalitarian populism, or an increasingly authoritarian right populism designed to support a new aristocracy. I have zero uncertainty that, should the national Dems persist in thinking they can thread the needle with a vision for America based on neoliberal austerity seasoned with de-economized identity politics, things will get much darker than they are even now.
posted by mondo dentro at 11:33 AM on May 28, 2017 [38 favorites]


I keep hoping that whatever this I'm reading about will finally be the this that allows decent people to take over again. Then I think about the fact that the 'decent' party couldn't gin up anyone better to run in Montana than a folk singer with no actual policy and I despair.
posted by Ickster at 11:46 AM on May 28, 2017 [5 favorites]


Out of curiosity, mondo dentro, do you feel any personal responsibility to change things? Are you doing anything at all other than, as you say, coming onto every thread about the destruction of liberal society and repeating the same thing?
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 11:47 AM on May 28, 2017 [12 favorites]


Democrats helped pass bipartisan income tax cuts from 2004 to 2008. Republicans — who have controlled the legislature since 2009 and governorship since 2011 — have cut income taxes further and also significantly lowered taxes on oil and gas production.

The Criminal Irresponsibility Party, ladies and gentlemen.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 11:56 AM on May 28, 2017 [1 favorite]


It's really tiresome that a significant portion of liberals in the US feel the need to constantly trot out "identity politics" as a scapegoat for why we're all getting fucked. As if me fighting for my rights is why the country is in such a shambles. Hell, for most of these folks (liberals), they're just getting a taste of what most POC have been dealing with since this country's founding. My standing up for myself did not cause the ruination of our society. Our society being founded upon inequalities and oppression, the continuing exploitative nature of our institutions, and lack of solidarity with people who are "othered" is what has caused this situation.
posted by anansi at 12:01 PM on May 28, 2017 [66 favorites]


What's the difference here between "identity politics" and political affiliation?
posted by rhizome at 12:13 PM on May 28, 2017 [1 favorite]


What's the difference here between "identity politics" and political affiliation?

One of them says racism and sexism are real and the other says shhhh wait til all white men are equal then we'll consider other people.
posted by the agents of KAOS at 12:25 PM on May 28, 2017 [18 favorites]


Here, let me try to put words in Mondo Dentro's mouth. He's not saying that identity politics is evil. He's saying that the main stream Democratic program is to try and use identity politics as the sweetener or motivator or distraction in order to sell neoliberal austerity, and that this program is objectively not successful. It's vaguely similar to how the republicans use guns and abortions and religion etc. etc. in order to sell oligarchic policies, except that in the republican case it seems to be working for them.

What Dentro would rather see is "humanistic egalitarian populism", which I think subsumes anything you are looking for from identity politics. I don't see, humanistic egalitarianism populism denying rights to women, PoC, or anyone else. You are right that there are arguments about ordering and priority of goals. But it's not jettisoning the goals of identity politics, it is marrying them to universal ideals and an economic program that could attract sufficient voters to win elections.
posted by Balna Watya at 12:34 PM on May 28, 2017 [26 favorites]


make no mistake, this is calculated. and part of that calculation is: fewer educated americans means more H1-Bs. Outsourcing by in-sourcing.
posted by j_curiouser at 12:37 PM on May 28, 2017 [2 favorites]


Out of curiosity, mondo dentro, do you feel any personal responsibility to change things? Are you doing anything at all other than, as you say, coming onto every thread about the destruction of liberal society and repeating the same thing?

I'll gladly answer your question, but my experience-based heuristics tell me that this is basically intended as a STFU question. But, if you're asking in good faith, great!

I am quite active in local politics, meaning really locally, in my community, and then expanding out from there. That includes both activism and Dem party politics. I express the same opinions in those contexts, when appropriate. Most of my adult life I was quite active, but more at the scale of national politics. I did a lot of canvassing, registering voters, manning phone banks, driving little old ladies to the polls, that sort of thing. But about half way through Obama's first term I became severely disenchanted with the national Dems--but this disenchantment had been building since Clinton. Combined with that, though, what really changed me was the realization, again 10 or 15 years ago, that climate change was a much more severe and immanent threat at the civilizational scale. At that point, I couldn't really accept the incrementalism implied by supporting what I saw as a corrupt and corporatized liberal establishment. So, turning to local politics and community action was my personal response to that. I think this was a pretty big social trend: I've met many, many formerly solid "liberals" who have become more "leftist" since the Bush II and Obama administrations.

For the record, I supported Sanders, but voted for HRC. That said, I did not direct much of my political energy to her campaign.

OK, now it's your turn.
posted by mondo dentro at 12:41 PM on May 28, 2017 [35 favorites]


Anansi: It's really tiresome that a significant portion of liberals in the US feel the need to constantly trot out "identity politics" as a scapegoat for why we're all getting fucked.

I agree with you. I've always thought that it's best to expand, rather than curtail, rights and freedoms whenever possible. I'm a liberal (socialist, really!) and I think that my white middle-class, basically privileged life would be better, would be expanded, if more people - POC, trans people, and others - enjoyed privileges like I do.

Rights are not zero-sum! Racial and LGBT equality is not going to take rights away from me! I think there is a huge problem with people seeing that. Economic insecurity makes things worse, and makes people fearful, stingy, and cruel. It's easy for cynical billionaires to play on people's fears and make them blame Those People for all that ails them. I hate seeing Democrats try to do that because it's not true! We can have racial and gender justice and a fairer economy for everyone.

I do think there's a problem with Democratic leadership trying to court the elusive "swing voter" who really doesn't exist anymore. That, I think is a mistake, that results in Blue Dog-ism and throwing women, POC and LGBT people under the bus - we can't offend our precious white working class, now, can we?
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 12:49 PM on May 28, 2017 [9 favorites]


If the complaints about "liberals" making comments about identity politics are directed at me: read more carefully, please. I put an adjective in front of it ("de-economized") to try, in a succinct but perhaps obtuse way, to specify what I'm complaining about. I am not saying POC and LGBTQ people, for example, should STFU. I don't think that, say, BLM, has any negative effect on left politics--on the contrary, it's one of the best things that happened over the past few years.

But if you care about identity politics (and I do), then you should be righteously pissed off at the cynical way it's being used by corporate Dems. For me, the aim of identity politics cannot be to put, say, a woman of color at the helm of Exxon, so that we can have diversity among those destroying the planet for profit.

Basically, what Baina Watya said.
posted by mondo dentro at 12:51 PM on May 28, 2017 [21 favorites]


I was momentarily confused that identity politics was a charge being levelled at liberals given that conservatives seem perfectly happy to risk the destruction of American democracy to vote for a presidential ticket whose main appeal was to affirm how white and Christian they are.
posted by Zalzidrax at 1:02 PM on May 28, 2017 [15 favorites]


the number of positions filled by emergency-certified teachers — who have no education training (or, in O’Brien’s words, “are upright and breathing”) — is now 35 times as high as it was in 2011.

Holy shit. Not 2x as high, not 10x as high, 35x the 2011 positions are filled by babysitters rather than teachers.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 1:19 PM on May 28, 2017 [8 favorites]


I feel compelled to point out that this is the same Governor Fallin who deliberately tortured to death Clayton Lockett.
posted by JohnFromGR at 1:59 PM on May 28, 2017 [4 favorites]


But it's not jettisoning the goals of identity politics, it is marrying them to universal ideals and an economic program that could attract sufficient voters to win elections.

Exactly this. Back when I first came to the U.S., the virtues of liberalism and democracy were taken as a given among pols of both parties, at least in terms of their rhetoric and stated policy aims, and in those days, there was also a thriving universalist secular humanist movement that even embraced and promoted tolerance of non extremist religious diversity and didn't hold those differences in belief and orientation as self-evidently incompatible with scientific progress and more socially progressive goals.

Secular humanists in those days rhetorically emphasized pluralism and the commonality of basic human interests, arguing that as humans we all ultimately have certain universal interests in common, whether we're always aware of those areas of agreement and shared interest or not.

I don't think leftist politics or liberal politics will ever rebound until we stop letting ourselves be divided by the narcissism of small differences and by politically dishonest attempts to *use* identity as a political tool, rather than engaging with the substantive issues of identity politics, which in that older view, we all have a common interest in addressing because we all have identities that in various ways intersect and clash and can cause unfair outcomes for particular individuals in particular cases where those intersections and clashes of interest can cause disproprtionate harm to one group at the expense of another.

Basically, the old secular humanism assumed a universal set of humanity as the starting point and foundation for all other kinds of human identity. Some more recent strains of thought seem to begin from the same place racist theory and practice does, from a view of human history and society as nothing more than a perpetual struggle for group dominance. Today's strains of popular leftist thought tend to dismiss even the suggestion there is a common foundation to build on and emphasize and romanticize group conflict.

I really do think there's something to the criticisms that these strains in more contemporary liberal thought feed right into and reinforce and legitimize racist ideology. I'm not sure if it's really leftists or more centrist liberals to blame for the worst of it though. Either way, it's a mess.
posted by saulgoodman at 2:42 PM on May 28, 2017 [10 favorites]


Education, Healthcare, and Infrastructure. Those should be the top 3 priorities for every government. Everything, and I do mean everything, is secondary. A government that loses focus on that will be the first up against the wall when the revolution comes, because all societal good "trickles-down" from them, not from taxes or the economy.
posted by blue_beetle at 2:43 PM on May 28, 2017 [7 favorites]


I wonder what the gov/legislature people are thinking here?

I doubt it is any of the h8 the children, hurt the low income, help religion, various nefarious stuff proffered above.

I'd like to know what they *think* it will do.
posted by CrowGoat at 2:48 PM on May 28, 2017


[Deleted the Exxon derail.]
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 3:39 PM on May 28, 2017


But if you care about identity politics (and I do), then you should be righteously pissed off at the cynical way it's being used by corporate Dems

Can you give some examples?
posted by mrmurbles at 3:51 PM on May 28, 2017 [1 favorite]


Oklahoma government has basically consistently governed by the wildcatter's prayer: "Lord, grant me one more boom and I promise not to f*ck it up this time." I spent high school and college there, and every year (hell, every week) brings me another reason that I'm glad I left -- and I'll never move back.
posted by ThatSomething at 3:59 PM on May 28, 2017 [2 favorites]


How long before colleges refuse to accept a diploma from Oklahoma?
posted by petrilli at 4:11 PM on May 28, 2017 [3 favorites]


I'd like to know what they *think* it will do.

I'd wager that they don't think it will, proactively, 'do' anything. They think it will solve a problem, that being achieving federally-mandated education standards during a budget shortfall. That the budget shortfall is the fault of their shitty economic policy doesn't even enter into their minds, or if it did, it would be vociferously denied as the glaringly obvious result. They're not implementing a policy for kids, they're fixing a fuckup, while ignoring the root cause of that fuckup. In other words, Modern Republican Economic Policy: where 'tragedy of the commons' is viewed as a logical fallacy.
posted by eclectist at 4:19 PM on May 28, 2017 [7 favorites]


Then I think about the fact that the 'decent' party couldn't gin up anyone better to run in Montana than a folk singer with no actual policy and I despair.

A folk singer with no actual policy who lost by 6 points for a seat no Democrat has come within 6 of since 2000. A folk singer who lost by 6 points against a massive tide of soft money the GOP had to pour into the race to save themselves from the embarrassment.

This shouldn't have been within double digits, and it shouldn't have required millions in soft money to defend. You could argue the Democrats could have made a play for it earlier, but I think they may be right about concentrating on GA-5 right now. I mean, as long as 2018 is a 50 state race.
posted by dw at 4:27 PM on May 28, 2017 [10 favorites]


For whatever it's worth: I am a working mom to a fifth grader and a second grader. Two good friends of mine have similar aged children, the stay at home mom also has a high schooler, and the other working mom has two in high school and two in elementary. All our kids attend the same school district.

Every one of the three of us voted for Bernie in the primary and for Hillary in the general.

We all would love to see a four day week. It would solve a few different problems in each of our households.
posted by letemilytryagain at 4:58 PM on May 28, 2017 [1 favorite]


For what it's worth, while I can't imagine we're going to get a 4-day school week, we've got something similar going on in my state. The legislature slashed taxes on business, claiming that it would pay for itself in increased economic productivity, which of course has completely failed to happen. So now we've got a manufactured budget crisis, and instead of admitting that the tax cuts were a failure, they're claiming that we're all just going to have to tighten our belts in this time of hardship, because it can't be avoided and it's the responsible thing to do. Businesses, of course, aren't being asked to tighten their belts. Instead, the Republican legislature has gutted the collective bargaining rights of public sector unions, slashed the education budget, shut down agencies that monitor water quality, ended the hotline for survivors of sexual assault, and done all sorts of other things that are supposedly just sadly necessary in this time of budget crisis, but which really they want to do because they're despicable human beings.

neoliberalism.txt
posted by Jimbob at 5:19 PM on May 28, 2017 [5 favorites]


I guarantee it would wreak total havoc on the family finances of every single working parent I know. Especially the single moms employed at businesses who would drop them tomorrow of this is their situation.

To say nothing of the low wage childcare workers, most with kids of their own, whose lives this would totally fuck up.
posted by Caxton1476 at 5:22 PM on May 28, 2017 [7 favorites]


I am a working mom to a fifth grader and a second grader. Two good friends of mine have similar aged children, the stay at home mom also has a high schooler, and the other working mom has two in high school and two in elementary. All our kids attend the same school district. ...We all would love to see a four day week. It would solve a few different problems in each of our households.

Are any of you single parents? How about shift work, are any of you shift workers or hourly workers? Like, it's great that you three ladies are all for this shitty policy maneuver intended to spur on the decimation of the public school system, but... y'all have support systems of some sort, I'm gathering, that would make this way of life easier for you?
posted by palomar at 5:27 PM on May 28, 2017 [19 favorites]


I wonder what the gov/legislature people are thinking here?

They aren't the ones making the decisions. What this article doesn't address is the tremendous power oil and gas companies have here in killing our efforts to restore the Gross Production Tax to 7%. A key point of budget negotiations was the elimination of the exemptions of the 7% for horizontals, the idea being to incentivize riskier exploration. These exemptions were supposed to be temporary, but in 2014, the Republican controlled legislature voted to continue them and keep the GPT at 1%. Then the crash happened and drilling slowed down. Our Dem senators and representatives are telling us that Larry Nichols of Devon Energy was on speakerphone with Gov. Fallin's office during budget negotiations, and that there's no way he will agree to restoring to 7%. The exemptions to the 7% GPT from which Devon and Continental are benefitting will not be eliminated without the consent of Larry Nichols and Harold Hamm. Did we elect them? Nope, but they have all of the bargaining power. Harold Hamm sent Continental employees to the Capitol last week to protest restoring the GST to 7%. Meanwhile, our protesters were forcibly removed from public areas outside of Speaker McCall's office. Our Dem caucus fought like Hell for us, but they are no match for billionaires.

Meanwhile, the budget going to Governor Fallin's desk includes increased taxes on cigarettes. Did it meet the legislative supermajority requirements for revenue raising bills? Nope, which means that if she signs it, there's going to be a constitutional challenge. Other proposed taxes: Excise taxes on automobiles, Netflix. All regressive, because Republicans in the state have handed the power over to the oil and gas industry. The Oklahoma Democratic Party is in the process of rebuilding, and we just succeeded in getting a bunch of empty precinct and county chair seats filled and reactivated in not just metro ares but rural Oklahoma as well.

The good news is that we have several opportunities to flip Republican state seats, and we can do it, but we need more resources. We lost an opportunity last month to flip a seat in Seminole County by 56 votes. We could have had those votes with a little more money, canvassing, and phone calls, but unfortunately, nobody believes us when we tell them we can retake these seats. Our Oklahoma Democratic Party is having to operate on fumes right now, but we are working very hard to seize this opportunity to turn things around. We had our ODP state convention last week and made major changes to our leadership, including the election of an amazing 23 year old progressive chairwoman, who is apparently still not Progressive enough for some BernieBros, but whatevs.

Hey, America, want to know how to help us? Please stop writing us off as a backward Red State and help us flip some seats and get Democrats elected by supporting these Democrats who are running for state seats in the Fall:

Jacob Rosecrants: OK HD 46
Karen Gaddis: OK HD 75
Michael Brooks-Jimenez: OK SD 44 (This is the seat vacated by Ralph Shortey)
posted by Dr. Zira at 5:33 PM on May 28, 2017 [31 favorites]


Well, the sahm is disabled. The stupid early start times (which is a side issue, but honestly the whole school schedule is fucked) are problematic for her with regards to her disability, particularly when it's cold outside. Her husband works four ten hour days and has a 35 minute commute each way, so she's on her own getting her younger two off to school. That third day off would be excellent for her family to regroup and her body a chance to recover.

Myself and the other working mom are both LTC nurses. We work variable shifts that often run from 8 hours into 12, and sometimes 16, so we get an extra day or two off when the emergency overtime happens. A four day school week would result in more time with our kids.

I pay a neighbor to get my kids off to school. If I have regular 8 hour shift, I am home about 25 minutes before they are. So in a normal week, I would save a little money.
posted by letemilytryagain at 5:43 PM on May 28, 2017 [1 favorite]


How long before colleges refuse to accept a diploma from Oklahoma?

This is tremendously insulting to our teachers. Insult our legislature and our Governor, because they deserve it, but our teachers fight and sacrifice every day to make sure our kids get diplomas that mean something. They've started running for office to fight for those kids' diplomas. We had teachers literally die to protect these kids during tornado season a few years ago. Writing us off as hopeless is insensitive and hurts more than it helps.
posted by Dr. Zira at 5:48 PM on May 28, 2017 [11 favorites]


Okay, so... no single parents, and y'all have robust support systems in place, and in fact you personally would be better off financially and emotionally if your children's school system was falling apart like this? Man. Oklahoma's government couldn't find a better ad campaign family for this initiative if they tried.
posted by palomar at 5:51 PM on May 28, 2017 [9 favorites]


I should add, I live in the rural upper Midwest. I know exactly one person who has a 9-5, M-F job. I can't speak to other economies, but those jobs just do not exist here in significant numbers, and I imagine other rural places have this same issue.

Health care, natural resource management/exploitation, manufacturing, service industry, tourism, and highly seasonal outdoor work like salmon fishing and wilderness guides- that's how people survive here and it's ALL shift work.

I did the math. In my state, public schools require 1100 hours per year. That's 6h10m over 180 days, or 7h37 over 144 days. It's not an enormous difference.

Also, our neighboring district has been on a T-F schedule for over ten years and I hear tons of support for it. I think this is why local control remains a hot button for education. I'm a transplant, I grew up in a far flung suburb of a major metro area and frankly it's annoying to think that their schedules and community issues regarding working parents have any relevance here. They really don't.
posted by letemilytryagain at 6:00 PM on May 28, 2017 [1 favorite]


We all would love to see a four day week. It would solve a few different problems in each of our households.

I'm sorry, but what? This thread is full of examples of how this hurts working families. Reading it thread should have made you aware that you have resources many families don't. To reply with, "oh, but a four day week would be nice," after that, is just ...

Maybe it's not about families who have resources like yours? Maybe it's not about you?

My mother was a single parent with limited family support. It was tough enough finding affordable childcare for the 2-3 hours between school getting out and her getting off work. I think she had to pull me from more than one place because of the cost.

I have no idea what she would have done if, suddenly, she had to find someone to supervise me on Fridays as well. Her choices would have been to either quit her full-time job or to pay money she didn't have for an extra day of childcare, either of which would have destroyed us financially. It might have even killed or incapacitated my mom eventually - she had a serious genetic condition that required neurosurgery, and that would not have been possible without her health care benefits.

And at least she didn't have to worry about where I would get food on Friday.

So, while I do feel for your friend who has a disability and the unique challenges that presents her - I don't have so much sympathy for the rest of it. You want to save a little money and have some more time with your kids? Understandable. But those needs don't outweigh the far more basic needs of other families - to be housed, healthy, and fed.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 6:03 PM on May 28, 2017 [16 favorites]


I have to admit that child and teenage me would've loved this.

Which is probably a sign that it's a bad idea.


Yes.
posted by Toddles at 6:11 PM on May 28, 2017


[letemilytryagain, you've expressed your opinion that 4-day weeks would work better for you; others have clarified that they would not work better for most people in Oklahoma, which is the specific and instant case. Please let it drop.]
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 6:14 PM on May 28, 2017 [10 favorites]


Honestly, how do we change our reliance on cheap energy?

"we" don't.

The infrastructure design before the 1920's reflect a more expensive energy economy and things from the 1950's reflect the "excess" oil production used to win WWII. And as long as hydrocarbons are needed to power the war machines there is no reason for the government to have that energy become more expensive because people would start to question the fuel used in fighterjets or hummers VS consumer use.

Think about this - the cost of a gallon of milk VS a gallon of gas.
While none of us can take a mass of Carbon, Nitrogen, water and other stuff and make a cow the bulk of the readers of this post could figure out how to manage some cows and then manipulate the cows to get a container of milk. I doubt most of us have the skills to drill the hole in the ground, place the pipe(s) to get unrefined crude up to the surface and then run the refinery to get a gallon of gasoline. From a raw cost standpoint to get a gallon of gas: a refinery is a multi-million dollar operation and drilling a well can be a million dollar a week operation. Land is $10k an acre that'll support 2 cows and a cow is, lets say $2000.

Now, in theory, with management one can keep getting a gallon of milk over and over once the gallon is consumed by someone. Yet a gallon of gas is not gonna be 'renewed' in the lifetime of the consumer.
posted by rough ashlar at 7:22 PM on May 28, 2017


That's 6h10m over 180 days, or 7h37 over 144 days. It's not an enormous difference.

For me, anything past the seven hour mark was when I just couldn't be in school anymore. And I was a kid who was good at school, a teacher's pet, not hyper or squirmy.

For a long time I worked at a library where we could set clocks by the ten-year-olds thundering up the stairs ten minutes after the school bell. These were kids who desperately needed to run around, to decompress, to not be in a heavily regulated environment anymore. My feeling is that a lot of kids would do better with a shorter school day than even six hours, though that may be unworkable for any number of reasons.

This is just conjecture, basically. But I think these are decisions that need to be made on the basis of child development and psychological research, and not on the basis of how little nine we can get away with spending.
posted by Jeanne at 10:01 PM on May 28, 2017 [10 favorites]


Under His eye.
posted by fullerine at 11:24 PM on May 28, 2017 [3 favorites]


And as long as hydrocarbons are needed to power the war machines there is no reason for the government to have that energy become more expensive because people would start to question the fuel used in fighterjets or hummers VS consumer use.

Now apply that logic to the nuclear power that moves most of the Navy's war machines these days.
posted by Etrigan at 4:23 AM on May 29, 2017


I've said it before and I will say it again: anyone who votes to take money away from education should be run the fuck out of office, permanently. Full stop.
posted by caution live frogs at 7:36 AM on May 29, 2017 [1 favorite]


I started homeschooling my kid partly because I couldn't deal with the varied schedule of the public school system here. It's a five-day-a-week schedule, but Mondays are half-days.

Between my husband's varied work schedule (specialty construction - sometimes there's three 14-hour days in a week, sometimes six 4-hour days, depends on what's needed) and the ridiculous commute for my former office job, there was just no way to reliably predict whether/when we would need childcare, and we couldn't afford to pay for it when we weren't using it. Neither of our parents are in the picture, so there's no Grandma DayCare happening.

Ultimately we went a few years with just Hubby's income and I started teaching the kid from home. I finally landed a work-from-home gig last year, but I'm not sending him back to public school at this point.

Honestly - I have no idea how single parents do it, unless they have lots of family to provide childcare.

You simply can't work a full time job *and* pay for childcare for full days. It ends up costing more to pay someone else to raise your kid than you bring home in a week. Daycare centers only take kids up to a certain age, and nannies all ask for (and deserve) a living wage - but if I'm only making $12 an hour I can't pay you $10 of it for the full day.

And you can imagine what any employer would say if you asked them to give you every Monday off because your kid now has a three-day weekend.
posted by Seek at 7:57 AM on May 29, 2017 [5 favorites]


My feeling is that a lot of kids would do better with a shorter school day than even six hours, though that may be unworkable for any number of reasons.

There are other ways to address those issues than leaving a lot of working parents out in the cold with no child care. You could break up the day and give kids more unstructured, social development time, for example, within the context of a longer school day.
posted by saulgoodman at 7:58 AM on May 29, 2017 [3 favorites]


My (very good by any metric) high school had
5.5 hours of instruction in a standard 7ish hour day, not counting the few early classes they had for people with jobs or whatever else caused them to need to leave before 3PM. That changed halfway through because the state decided the early classes should no longer count towards the required instructional hours since they were optional.

Point being that short instructional days aren't inherently bad and it's perfectly possible to do it without screwing over parents.
posted by wierdo at 10:41 AM on May 29, 2017 [1 favorite]


There are other ways to address those issues than leaving a lot of working parents out in the cold with no child care. You could break up the day and give kids more unstructured, social development time, for example, within the context of a longer school day.

Or, you know, longer recess and lunch periods.

I do find it weird that the same people who say kids should just be learning for 6-7 hours a day regularly go to conferences and events with breaks between sessions of 15-30 mins (or more) along with a hour-plus lunch.
posted by dw at 10:46 AM on May 29, 2017 [3 favorites]


Finland has managed to build a world-class educational system, complete with less homework, shorter school days, and more recess for the kids. Of course, they are willing to spend lots of money on it, and pay their teachers competitive salaries.

(The obvious corollary is that in a deep-red, religious state, the political powers-that-be don't want to spend money on children, especially children of color, because Good Children have parents who can send them to private school, and something something Jebus. Never mind that the historical Jesus would certainly disagree with their priorities.)
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 11:53 AM on May 29, 2017 [1 favorite]


Agreed. I think the historical Jesus wouldn't have seen a whole lot of difference between the Romans who tormented and mocked him as "the King of the Jews" in a crown of thorns in the public square and a lot of the more contemporary crowd who flatter themselves by calling themselves his followers.
posted by saulgoodman at 12:47 PM on May 29, 2017




And once again the poor and ill educated will vote for God and guns.
posted by notreally at 4:34 PM on May 29, 2017 [4 favorites]


The people who run the state must not be religious

Are the 81% of evangelical Christians who voted for Trump using a bible translation that I'm not aware of? because I just checked, and I couldn't find any part where Jesus Christ, their Lord and Saviour, says that you should look upon the little children and say fuck you, I got mine.

This is the late-stage prosperity gospel brand of "Christianity", that's what has you confused. To these people God exists to 1) smite their neighbor because the neighbor's dog pooped on their lawn, 2) let them look down on others with an air of righteous superiority, 3) grant them wishes, and 4) to cover their ass when the sh*te well and truly hits the fan.

And that's about it. As for explaining their behavior when called to account, you know, God is benevolent and *will just* understand. All that Biblical nonsense about helping the less fortunate, living a disciplined life of service, etc? Heck, that's really just optional and then only if it's really convenient.

In other words, these people aren't any more "Christian" than the people affiliated with the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster*.

*No offense to the noodly appendage intended
posted by CosmicRayCharles at 5:01 PM on May 29, 2017 [8 favorites]


same in NM. just slashed all 60 computer techs from schools.
posted by judson at 7:21 AM on May 30, 2017 [1 favorite]


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