Brent Bushey - Helping Our Schools
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Show 1547: Brent Bushey - Helping Our Schools
Air Date: November 22, 2015
Rob McClendon: Well, between 1970 and 2010, the cost of educating a young person in this country all the way through high school graduation, well, it’s tripled. During those four decades, we’ve seen new classroom time in kindergarten and pre-K become much more common, but we’ve also seen an increase in administrative costs to meet new educational mandates. Earlier, I sat down with Brent Bushey, the executive director of the Oklahoma Public School Resource Center, to talk about their mission to help our schools.
Brent Bushey: We have five directors. We’re kind of a back office for schools that don’t have one, is one way to describe what we do. We have directors in technology, finance, legal, teaching and learning or curriculum and, I always forget one, I think communications I forgot this time. The idea there is we provide a wraparound service. Schools can call one of those directors at any time that they need help, and we don’t charge extra. We just charge a one-time fee – it’s an all-you-can-eat buffet. And so we’re there as consultants for schools in those five areas. We’re a connector, when we can say, oh well, this, you had that challenge, that was a challenge last week for this school district. So we can connect schools. And then we provide professional development and other sorts of solutions to challenges. And what we’re going toward and through our membership model is, we want to be top of mind for administrators to call and we want to be the place when they have a challenge or when they want to be strategic and be creative, that we’re a place that they can reach out to for ideas and ideally for resources as well.
Rob: Well, as everyone really knows, the budget, the state budget this next year is certainly not projected to be very good, and that’s going to mean, possibly, some reduced funding for schools, and that’s a whole debate into itself. How does your group come in there to help?
Bushey: Sure. So, uh, yeah, the budget scenario is not pretty for anyone. And I think no matter what, it’s gonna be a difficult year for everyone. We are supportive of public schools, both, you know, in terms of our interactions with them as well as supportive at the Capitol building. And we would hope that, you know, legislators take into account the important work that educators are doing. So what we’re looking at is how can we advocate for schools to get the funding that they need as well as if we can’t give them a raise, if we can’t prevent cuts, how can we remove other burdens, other administrative burdens, as well as how can we spur innovation, you know? The puck we do more with less. I think no matter what, that’s the mentality that we should be driven by on a daily basis, but especially in times of short budgets that we need to look toward innovation. And I think that that can a number of different avenues, looking at how we can use technology more effective, how we can share resources amongst districts, how we can take advantage of retired teachers who are out in the field that potentially could come back in a part-time way. I think there’s, there’s no silver bullet. This is gonna be a difficult year. And no matter what, education will always be a difficult thing because it’s hard work. But I think that while teacher pay and our budget are and should be driving some of the majority of our education discussion, we can’t let that blind us to the other variables that we can control and that we can focus on to make educators’ lives easier.
Rob: Great. Well, Brent, we certainly appreciate you coming by.
Bushey: Definitely. Thank you.