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Morning Bell: Home schoolers get private school tax credit funds

Good Wednesday morning. I'm currently in Los Angeles for the Education Writers Association's national conference, so look for my Twitter feed to be full of highlights over the next few days.

But first, education and immigration advocates are pushing back against a Trump administration plan that would consolidate the federal office that helps guide education for millions of English-language-learner and immigrant students, reports Education Week

Under the proposal, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos would fold her department's office of English-language acquisition into the broader office for elementary and secondary education, according to advocacy groups briefed this week on the department's potential plan.

Oklahoma school districts receive about $760 dollars for each student who struggles with English, a boost in state funding meant to help many students who have immigrated to the United States, or whose family may have been recent immigrants.

However, once those students become proficient in English and no longer require language support, the school is likely to continue receiving the additional funds.

Based on this year's state funding figures, nearly $24 million was funneled to districts for bilingual students who may not be receiving any additional language support.

Home schoolers get tax credit funds for part-time private school

For the first time ever, students can attend an Oklahoma private school part-time yet have most or all of the tuition paid by scholarships funded through a state tax-credit program, reports Jennifer Palmer of Oklahoma Watch

The scholarship program, promoted by school-choice advocates, is typically used to subsidize tuition costs for full-time students at private schools.

But The Academy for Classical Christian Studies, with three schools in the Oklahoma City area, has added a twist to the program: Its students can use the scholarships to attend school only two or three days a week, depending on their grade, while being home-schooled the other days. Under state law, these students are considered home-schoolers.

Norman High School unveiled a new memorial to the victims of the Oklahoma City bombing, reports the Norman Transcript. 

Teachers paying for school supplies

Nearly all teachers are footing the bill for classroom supplies, an Education Department report found, and teachers in high-poverty schools spend more than those in affluent schools, reports the Washington Post.

The report, prepared by the National Center for Education Statistics and released Tuesday, is based on a nationally representative survey of teachers during the 2015-2016 school year. It found that 94 percent of teachers pay for classroom supplies, spending an average of $479 a year. About 7 percent of teachers spend more than $1,000 a year.

The report was released as Arizona, Oklahoma and West Virginia continue to feel the aftershocks from teacher protests over low pay and cuts to school spending that shut down schools for days.

OJA moves forward with new campus

The Oklahoma Board of Juvenile Affairs has approved $2.65 million in new contracts as it moves forward with plans to build a consolidated next-generation campus for juvenile offenders at the site of its current campus in Tecumseh.

Oklahoma currently operates secure detention facilities for male youthful offenders in Tecumseh and Manitou, and for female youthful offenders in Norman.

Ben Felder

Ben Felder is an investigative reporter for The Oklahoman. A native of Kansas City, Ben has lived in Oklahoma City since 2010 and covered politics, education and local government for the... Read more ›

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