MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Opinion

March 25, 2013

THE PEOPLE SPEAK — Baker ‘brain trust’ fails education obligations

— As predicted, the Baker “brain trust” headed by Byrd, Morton, Qualls, and Hoskin, Sr. is failing in the educational pursuits it is responsible for and degraded years of hard work and progress forged by others. It is obvious by their actions they do not have the best interest of the students in mind.

They have thrown the Sequoyah parents, coaches, and student-athletes under the bus by leaving them to fend for themselves regarding OSSAA issues. Allegedly, the administration wouldn’t even buy pre-game meals for the football team.

The essentially militarized and locked down campus contributes to an environment that is not conducive to teaching and learning. Interestingly, discipline is a growing problem compared to previous years, according to insiders. They have continued their perpetual personnel merry-go-round, as more Cherokee employees have been let go, several non-Indians have been hired and the misguided and shady “reorganization” continues. There are rampant rumors of more staff changes coming at the end of the school year. Schools need stability to be effective.

The superintendent (Qualls, with no prior experience as a superintendent having mostly been a coach) had previously been principal when Sequoyah’s student enrollment was only half of capacity and the school was deeply in debt and known as the “School of Last Resort.”

Stakeholders’ feedback reveals concerns due to an unfortunate lack of focus on academics as the D & F lists swell and a more negative school atmosphere develops.

They have initiated possible implementation of the less rigorous BIA standards instead of the more challenging Common Core State Standards.

Relatives of Baker and others have been admitted to Sequoyah despite not meeting entrance criteria. This meant other more deserving students were placed on waiting lists in favor of students from families with “connections.”

They have undermined or completely abandoned previous administrations’ initiatives in languages, science, math, technology, and other areas.

Cherokees must know that Baker’s administration is not interested in improving education, only in perpetuating cronyism, nepotism, and political vendettas. The Cherokee Nation and especially its young people are the ones paying the price for this group’s self-serving, callous, and vindictive nature.

GEARY CROFFORD

Tahlequah

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