Editor’s Notebook: Early voting to begin, OCU launches new M.A. in teaching program, Reynolds has questions

OKLAHOMA CITY – The general election for Oklahoma is scheduled Tuesday (November 4). Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. that day. 

State election officials anticipate moderate turnout on election day.

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Oklahomans will decide two U.S. Senate races, four of the five U.S. House races, and contests for governor, lieutenant government, superintendent of public instruction, and commissioner of labor.

Additionally, important Oklahoma County legislative races are on tap in Senate Districts 40 and 48, and in several House Districts, including districts 85, 87, 97 and 99.

Also on the ballot are a range of county offices and several elective judicial positions. And, voters will decide whether or not to retain three state Supreme Court justices and several appellate court jurists; three state questions, all referred to votes by the state Legislature, are also on this year’s ballot.

Early voting begins this week at the Oklahoma County Election Board, 2300 North Lincoln Blvd., on Thursday (October 30) 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.; Friday (October 31) 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.; and Saturday (November 1) 9 a.m. 2- p.m. 

Similar times are anticipated at county election headquarters throughout the state.

Oklahoma City University has a new Master of Arts program in teaching elementary education. Classes will begin in 2015. “There is a severe shortage of qualified teachers for public schools in the Oklahoma City area as well as across the state,” said Elizabeth Wilner, director of teacher education for the Methodist-affiliated Institution. The need for higher quality instruction in the city’s public schools drove OCU officials to create the new major, she said: “Districts have resorted to hiring teachers with little or no preparation to fill positions. This is especially true in elementary and early childhood education.”

OCU officials noted this will be the Sooner State’s only master’s degree program for element education. Some M.A. in Teaching students will, the release said, “be career changers hoping to make a difference.”

OCU has close and long-standing ties with many public schools: “We have a good relationship with local school districts, which will help us place our teacher candidates with master teachers for their practicums and internships.” In fact, three of the last Oklahoma teacher of the year winners are OCU alumni. Each of those individuals work at city area schools.

For more information, contact department Chairwoman Lois Lawler-Brown at 405-208-5374 or llbrown@okcu.edu.

State Rep. Mike Reynolds, R-Oklahoma City, has asked OU President David Boren, to clarify cirumstances surrounding Emily Neff’s sudden resignation on Oct. 15, one day after Reynolds requested more information about the 1886 Camille Pissarro oil painting stolen by Nazis in 1941 from a prominent French Jewish family. “Emily Neff’s sudden resignation on October 15, just one day after my committee’s inquiries into the museum’s possession of La Bergere, a Pissarro painting stolen by the Nazis in 1941 from the Meyers, certainly raises sufficient concerns [about] the circumstances of both Emily Neff’s tenure at the Fred Jones Museum and her involvement in this case,” Reynolds said.

 Reynolds raised other questions:
“If reputable museum leaders … are unable to accomplish their professional responsibilities at the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, the public … should have significant questions or concerns that need to be addressed and resolved about the viability, credibility and the professional environment of this museum. The very credibility of a flagship public institution of the state is on the line.”

You may contact Patrick at 405-601-3433