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I am a high school English teacher in an urban high school in Oklahoma City. I am a member of the American Federation of Teachers, Local 2309. I am a Democrat, a union activist and a worker for social justice. I also am a Christian (Congregationalist). I play chess and coach our school chess team.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Kirk Humphries Selected as OKC School Board President

Kirk Humphries, newly appointed chairman of the Oklahoma City Public School District School Board
Former Oklahoma City Mayor Kirk Humphries was selected as chairman of the Oklahoma City School Board last Monday. While mayor, Kirk helped to pass the "MAPS for Kids" bond issue and sales tax that has been used to do a massive building and remodeling project in the city's schools.

The first big task facing Humphries and the rest of the board is to find a new superintendent to succeed John Q. Porter who resigned after a brief time of leading the district following allegations of financial impropriety.

Kirk is well connected with Oklahoma City's business community. This, plus his service on the Putnam City School Board, are his chief assets. His chief liablity from this teacher's standpoint is that he doesn't have much experience dealing a democratic urban school district. He believes in the "school is a business" [false] analogy as evidenced by his statement:
"I believe the customer is always right, and in a school district, the customer is every family in our district with school-aged children."

The problem with this model is that, in a school, sometimes the customer is wrong. For example, if a parent believes that her child should remain in school due to his "special needs" when that child is disrupting class for all his classmates and making it impossible for a teacher to do her job, the parent/customer is wrong.

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