Tulsa World, Feb. 16, 2015
Federal bureau of double redundancy OKs single math test for eighth-graders
Many advanced Oklahoma eighth-graders will be the beneficiaries this year of the federal government recognizing that there's a limit to how much testing students should have to endure.
For the second year, the U.S. Department of Education has said that eighth-graders who take a class that leads to a standardized end-of-instruction test don't also have to take an otherwise mandated grade-level test.
The end-of-instruction tests are a state high school graduation requirement. The grade-level tests are a federal mandate.
There's a lot of educanto in all that, but what it boils down to is this: Thousands of kids statewide won't have to take two sets of tests over the same material.
That's remarkably bright for a decision that comes from Washington.
It must be temporary.
It is. Next year's eighth-graders will face the same silly potential of one curriculum but two tests unless that feds sign off on the waiver again next year. The education overlords don't want to give a permanent advance release from double-testing because that might lead to something frivolous, such as teachers being able to plan extra time for teaching math instead of blocking off class time for repeated examinations.
It might seem bureaucratic to ordinary taxpayers, but in Washington the repeated duplication of double redundancy is not only critical, it's vital.
Enid News & Eagle, Feb. 13, 2015
Oil field uncertainty has negative, positive effect on local, state economies
The news has been full of gloom and doom lately, mainly because of the uncertainty in the oil field.
Lower oil prices has led to layoffs at energy companies, and no one really knows how things will end up. State lawmakers are preparing for the worst, with estimates now showing the budget shortfall once thought to be $300 million now will be double, or $600 million.
We have no doubt all this will have an impact on the local economy.
But, we also don't want to ignore the positives.
For one, sales tax receipts for the city of Enid earlier this month, for sales in late December and early January, were up 9 percent over the same period last year.
That's a pretty healthy increase, and it also helped to push tax receipts for the current fiscal year (from July 2014 to now) into positive territory. That's certainly good news worth celebrating.
Another positive came when GEFCO announced it was closing a plant in Tennessee and moving that production to the manufacturing facility here. The decision will impact about 75 employees, who will have the option to stay with GEFCO and relocate to Enid.
Also, there is the ongoing expansion work at Koch Nitrogen's fertilizer facility east of the city.
The $1.3 billion project is expected to increase production at the facility by one million tons annually. It includes construction of a new urea plant.
Koch will need a lot of construction workers for the project, so that's going to bring in more than 1,000 workers by the third quarter of 2016. Work is expected to be done by late-2016.
Yes, the downturn in the oil industry will hurt us locally. We don't deny that, but as we pointed out here, we've got some things happening that are positive and should help offset losses in the oil field.