Path Home Shows 2016 Show Archive November 2016 Show 1646 Oklahoma Horizon TV Show 1646

Oklahoma Horizon TV Show 1646

This week on “Oklahoma Horizon,” we look at the impact early childhood education has on our workforce.
Oklahoma Horizon TV Show 1646

Oklahoma Horizon TV Show 1646

For more information visit these links:

Canadian Valley Tech Center


University of Oklahoma

OU Children’s Hospital


Potts Family Foundation

25 by 25 Coalition

Ready Nation

Oklahoma Capitol Restoration Project

Framing History Exhibit - OSU Museum of Art

OSU Museum of Art

Show Details

Show 1646: Oklahoma Horizon TV
Air Date: November 13, 2016



Rob McClendon: Here’s what’s coming up on your “Horizon.” Well, Oklahoma is home to some of the best preschool education you’ll find in the country. Seventy-six percent of Oklahoma 4-year-olds are enrolled in the state’s publically funded prekindergarten program. One of just four states that offers publically funded preschool access to all age-eligible children regardless of family income. And we’re starting, well, we’re starting to see it pay off. Since universal pre-K’s passage almost two decades ago, we’ve seen a steady rise in fourth-grade reading scores – only one of 13 states to do so and the fourth best in the nation. Today, we begin our show with a focus on early education and the impact it has on our workforce.

Nancy Fishman: Believe it or not, the skills gap starts even before kindergarten. We noticed a difference in children as young as 18 months of age with the number of words that they know.

Rob: From there, we head on over to the state Capitol to check in on the latest restoration efforts.

Josh Martin: Over the course of the last 18 months, we’ve done extensive design and investigation work to bring the building back to her full glory.

Rob: And we end our day with the retired lawmaker who’s framing history. Stay with us for “Oklahoma Horizon.”

Female Announcer: “Oklahoma Horizon” is made possible by CareerTech – a job for every Oklahoman and a workforce for every company, with additional support from the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry.

Rob McClendon: Hello, everyone. Thanks for joining us here on “Horizon.” I’m Rob McClendon. So how early should workforce training begin? Well, a growing body of evidence shows as early as pre-K. In fact, medical research shows that genetic makeup is not the key element in generating a child's cognitive or social skills. But that doesn’t mean parents aren’t vitally important because it is a child’s interaction with adults in the first three years of life that creates the constructive brain development that will last a lifetime. And early childhood education is going through something of a renaissance. Much like what we’re seeing in middle and high school, it’s now less about learning by the test and more about learning by doing. And it’s this different focus that instructors say could help our workforce development down the road. Our Blane Singletary takes us to a tech center where learning by doing takes on multiple forms.

[Singing: We’re ready to start the day].

Blane Singletary: It’s the start of another day of play at the early care and education program at CV Tech. Here, it’s as much an educational experience for these teachers and caregivers in training as it is for the preschoolers.

Mary Beth Carver: In the program, the students learn about early childhood education, they learn about child development.

Blane: That’s Mary Beth Carver, director of the program.

Carver: The most exciting part, though, is the interaction with young children.

Blane: It’s this interaction that’s at the forefront of what they do here.

Carver: We just know that the most important thing that the child needs is interaction with adults. And so through this program, students can experience every aspect of a child’s young life.

Blane: And Carver says one of the best kinds of experiences a young child can have is play.

Carver: Play is the most important thing that children do. Play is a child’s work. The child is really learning about their world. They’re practicing what they’re going to do in the future.

Blane: And what these preschoolers and toddlers are doing today is also what these high schoolers are doing. They aren’t learning by worksheets, textbooks or flashcards, but through activities involving real-world objects and experiences. Desaray Hayes is a senior in the program.

Desaray Hayes: We’re all learning together. We’re here as students, but they’re also students theirselves. So being able to communicate, interact with them, see what they think or what I think, I think that’s much better than just reading it out of a book.

Blane: The goal of this program for these kids age 4 and younger is to get them on the right track through literacy and numeracy. And the way they do that is through language. That’s goes double for the kids who can’t even speak yet.

Carver: We need to provide children with a language rich environment. We need face-to-face. That child needs to see your expressions and hear your language. That’s how he develops language. The job of the toddler is to learn language. The preschooler’s learning how to communicate.

Blane: And this isn’t just something happening here at CV Tech. It’s a growing trend in early childhood education. Jennifer Quillian, early childhood specialist at the University of Oklahoma, says numeracy has been left out of this conversation for too long.

Jennifer Quillian: If we can incorporate math into literacy and show them how easy that is – talking about cutting the apple in half, I mean, those are vocabulary terms in math, and talking about measuring and pouring.

Blane: But with children being at day care or preschool for only a fraction of their day, it becomes necessary for parents to continue this learning experience at home. Luckily, that’s easy to do, too.

Quillian: My son is actually really into sports. And so we started talking about numbers that players wear, and we bring attention to that. So we started talking about numbers, counting to those numbers, what does that number look like, mom? We play hiding games – I’m going to hide under something, so try to find me under something.

Blane: Reinforcing vocabulary and fostering math in this way is essential to getting children in the right state of mind when they start elementary school, middle school and even further down the line, when they start in the workforce. Dr. Marny Dunlap is a physician at OU Children’s Hospital.

Marny Dunlap: We know about 80 percent of a child’s brain is formed by the time they’re three years old. So early literacy is really the key. We want kids to hear words and sounds and, you know, singing and talking and all of those things. Because we know when kids start school, they’re more likely to stay on track. They’re more likely to pass their third-grade reading test. They’re more likely not to drop out of school, get more education and become more productive citizens in the workforce.

Blane: And with the jobs that Oklahoma will need in the coming years, many of which are STEM jobs, the time to start preparing kids for this reality is now. Again, Mary Beth Carver.

Carver: What we need is children to be interested in math and numeracy and interested in language. Jobs are changing, so children need to have the ability to reason. They need to be able to figure out problems on their own. Those are very important for the future.

Blane: And these education experts agree learning by play in preschool is a no-brainer.

Quillian: They’re going to do those through play and play is so important.

Rob McClendon: Now, in the past, we’ve talked about how a little playful, creative thinking can help everyone, regardless of their occupation. To see these stories and more about early childhood development just head to our website at and look for them under the value added section. Now, when we return, we take a look at the economics of early childhood education.

Female Announcer: You’re watching “Oklahoma Horizon” with Rob McClendon – weekly insight into your changing world.

Rob McClendon: So why fund early childhood education? Well, the most obvious answer is it costs less to do it than not to do it. Numerous studies show education and good parenting practice in the first three years of a child's life can make a dramatic difference in the lives of young children while also producing an educated workforce. That’s why the Potts Family Foundation, with the help of others, started an early childhood coalition called 25 by 25.

Pat Potts: 25 by 25 is trying to build this coalition and move our state from being in the bottom 25 in terms of children’s well-being. Probably I should say, the 25 percent that are in the bottom, to among the top 25 states by 2025.

Rob: Well, according to Pat Potts, by investing early on in life, we reduce the need for less effective and more costly corrective interventions later on that can range anywhere from remedial education to even the criminal justice system. Well, Ready Nation is a nonpartisan national network of 1,400 business leaders advocating for a skilled workforce and stronger economy through investments in children and youth. And I visited with their deputy director, Nancy Fishman, before she spoke to the 25 by 25 Coalition.

Rob: Well, Nancy, every time we talk about the workforce, it seems like we’re also talking about the skills gap. How early does that issue start?

Nancy Fishman: Believe it or not, the skills gap starts even before kindergarten. We noticed a difference in children as young as 18 months of age with the number of words that they know. Those children in households whose families are lower on the socioeconomic scale actually know fewer words than children in families of middle and upper class professional parents. And that gap only grows. And it’s that gap in words and knowledge that leads to later difficulty in reading, which creates the skills gap that we see in our workforce today.

Rob: So it’s not only predictive to success in school, but predictive in success later in life in the workforce.

Fishman: Exactly, we know that these early skills, children entering kindergarten ready to learn, are ready to succeed. Those that can read on grade level by third grade are more likely to be able to graduate from high school on time and with the skills that are needed by the workforce. Those children that are falling behind early have a very difficult time catching up. And we’re trying to meet those needs by ensuring that children, all children, have access to high quality early learning opportunities.

Rob: And it seems as if that this is something that has been long realized in education circles, but increasingly it’s being realized in business circles as well.

Fishman: Absolutely, matter of fact, we have 1,500 business leader members across the country who are interested in supporting these efforts because they see it as a workforce development issue. They understand that children need to get a good start in life in order to be able to successfully join the workforce later. They also see it as a workforce issue today. Many of their employees are parents and grandparents of young children. And they know that their employees are more productive when their children are somewhere where they are safe and happy and able to learn. Perhaps that’s at home with a parent. Perhaps that’s in a high-quality early learning center.

Rob: And I want to explore that just a bit more, but let’s talk from the parent’s perspective. What does that do for a parent to know that they have affordable day care?

Fishman: It gives them an opportunity when they’re at work to focus on work. Parents love their children and want their children to do well. If their children are somewhere that are safe when they’re at the office, they’re able to focus on the job that they are doing and not wonder if their child is safe and happy. It really gives them an opportunity to be fully present when they’re on the job. It also gives them an opportunity to take fewer sick days. When their children have reliable, stable child care, the parent is able to get to work on a more regular basis.

Rob: Talk to me how on, how important it is in the development of the juvenile brain that they’re exposed to many of the things that they’re going to need later on in life?

Fishman: Well, we know that about 90 percent of a child’s brain is developed by the age 5. And it’s not difficult to help a child’s brain develop well. Children learn from interactions with adults from early on. With babies they call it serve and return. I say something to a baby, the baby makes a funny cooing sound, and I smile, just like you’re doing. I smile back at the baby. It’s serve and return. It’s taking a child with you to the grocery store and saying, look, these are apples, some apples are red, and some apples are green. It doesn’t have to be complicated. It just needs to be interactive with the child. And of course we know that reading to a child is one of the best things that we can do to help a child really fully develop a love of learning and a love of books.

Rob: Yeah, and it sounds like so much of this certainly can be found in day cares and in schools, but it also needs to be found in the home.

Fishman: Absolutely and that’s one of the things that we do. We work with our business leaders on parent engagement. Business people can provide lots of good information to their employees, good resources for them to be able to better engage with their children, to know what typical early childhood development is. Parents, especially first-time parents, don’t know whether their child or children are developing appropriately for their age. But with information, they know when to make that call to the pediatrician. Maybe information on how to better afford health care. Information on where to send your child to a high quality early learning experiences. Parents are a child’s first teacher, and we do everything we can to help support that relationship.

Rob: Yeah, and bottom line, if we’re going to make these improvements, it’s going to take not only business and education, but also parents.

Fishman: Absolutely. We all need to work together to help these young people succeed.

Rob: All right, Nancy. Thank you so much.

Fishman: Thank you.

Female Announcer: Still to come on “Oklahoma Horizon,” framing Oklahoma history.

Charles Ford: Our best artwork was some $25 prints and some $85 frames.

Female Announcer: But first, Oklahoma’s Capitol restoration.

Rob McClendon: Well, Oklahoma’s state Capitol is now a full time construction zone. Restoration work that began in 2015 and will continue for the next six years has the Capitol looking a bit different these days with scaffolding now surrounding parts of the exterior.

Josh Martin: We’re pleased to announce that we’ve started the exterior portion of the work on the Capitol renovation project for the great state of Oklahoma. Over the course of the last 18 months, we’ve done extensive design and investigation work to bring the building back to her full glory. The main purpose of this project is to ensure that this building is ready to last productively another 50 to 100 years.

Steve Mason: Recently the building has been in very sad shape from the sewer, the elevators to the windows, and just the building was falling down and leaky roofs.

Martin: When this process started, one of the discussions we had was do we move the legislature and all, the governor and everyone, out of here for several years. And we came up with a method to keep them in here and move them around a bit which actually saved about $7 million.

Mason: In 18 months, we’ve moved quickly, we’re on budget, we’re ahead of schedule, and we have really not had any surprises yet. There’s been enough investigation in this first 18 months that we understand the project.

Martin: There’s three major items that we’ll be working around on the projects. First of all, if you look closely around the building, you’ll notice that the stone is cracked and spalled in multiple locations and that the grout joints between the stone is coming out all over the place. This is important because it allows water into the building which is what we don’t want to happen. So we will touch every square inch of this building repair those stones, repair the grout and mortar, and do a general cleaning on the overall surface. The second major portion of the work is the window replacement. So all of these existing windows, there’s 477 of them, will be removed from the building, taken, restored back to their original beauty, put back in place and put back in service. Additionally, with regards to the water intrusion that’s in the building, there’s a guttering system that will we installed up on the roof, and basically our mission here is to make sure that this building doesn’t leak and that the people’s house is in proper working order. If you look behind me, the scaffold that we’re constructing is really the key piece of equipment that we need in order to perform this work. So what you’ll see over the course of the next three years is scaffolding systems being built around the building. After the scaffold goes up, the next thing you’ll see is, we’ll put a large tarp over this scaffold, and what we’re doing is we’re enclosing that work area. The reason we need to do that is, the materials that we use to make the repairs are temperature sensitive, so we want to keep the temperature inside that scaffold between 50 and 90 degrees at all times. It’s easy in March and April, it’s hard in June and July, so that scaffolded area will actually be air conditioned or heated, depending on what time of year it is.

Roger Thompson: The legislature established the bond oversight committee so that we could work together with private citizens, with representatives, with senators and say, hey, we’re making sure every dime is being spent the way it’s supposed to be spent, and we’re not spending more than we need to spend. We’re dealing here with a part of history that is going to last for years and years to come that is actually not only the seat of government, but it’s also the seat of who Oklahoma really is. But today’s a super cool day. I mean the scaffolding is going up. We’re going to work. Three years, the outside is going to be done. In six years, the inside is going to be done. It’s a cool time to be here.

Rob: And it’s not just the exterior that’s under restoration. On the inside of the Capitol, demolition began this fall in the basement where major infrastructure and utility work is under way.

Andrea Gossard: Between now and the end of the year, we’re basically looking to get the basement 100 percent cleared out. We’re going to shift the traffic from this main west corridor. We’re actually going to take it to the north side of the building here in the basement, so the traffic pattern is going to change a little bit. Right now we’re roughly three to four weeks ahead of schedule. Basically we want by the first of the year to be in a position where we can start putting back all the new primary installations. But really, it’s just kind of opening up the new traffic pattern and preparing for the next session so that everything is kind of set and the people understand how they get around in the building. So that’s really what we’re focused on for the next couple of months. Just on the other side of this wall is the maintenance access, the loading dock access, readying the major material deliveries. On Saturday, we’re actually going to set up and cut the walls in, and then we’ll actually tip out the remaining portions of the concrete that are left behind after the cuts. With this being the main corridor for pedestrians from the west entry, we’ve created a corridor here for everybody to walk through similar to the existing west corridor, although that’s going to go away. We’re going to route everybody over here. What we’ve done is, we’ve installed these windows, just kind of so everybody can take a peek into the construction area. After we reroute traffic here to the north corridor, that wall will actually be demolished so you’ll be able to see from this point all the way to the south end of the building. And hopefully it will give everybody an idea of what we’re doing on a daily basis. Things change quickly around here, so just a little window into the construction world, and everybody can take a peek as they come in every day.

Rob: The Oklahoma Capitol Restoration Project has its own website and Facebook page which we do have links to at

Female Announcer: “Horizon” is at your fingertips – join us on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to catch the segments you may have missed and our latest new content as it happens.

Rob McClendon: Well, with all the construction going on at the state Capitol, much of the artwork that now hangs inside needs to be protected. All together 68 different paintings will be moved into storage as work progresses, with many of these historic pieces owing their very existence to one man, retired state Sen. Charles Ford.

Rob McClendon: If a picture is worth a thousand words, for years Oklahoma’s state Capitol didn’t say much.

Charles Ford: Our best artwork was some $25 prints and some $85 frames.

Rob: And for longtime lawmaker and art lover Charles Ford, that was unacceptable.

Ford: So I decided to just go out and get a, hire an artist to do something historical about Tulsa, which was the, Washington Irving when he came through Tulsa in 1832 and he visited with the Osage.

Rob: And with that donation began an effort to make the Oklahoma state Capitol not just the seat of government, but a source of state pride.

Ford: Once I did this, a number of senators had come to me and said, you know, I’d like to do something that’s historical about my community. And I said fine, all we need is money, and then I’ll find an artist.

Rob: And so began an effort to frame Oklahoma’s diverse history, mixing historical portraits with picturesque landscapes from across the state, each representing a place or a time pivotal in Oklahoma history.

Ford: If we all can remember this is Ada Lois Sipuel Fisher who broke the color code at the law school at OU. This is Thurgood Marshall, he was from Tulsa – a Tulsa lawyer. And Mike Wimmer, he does such wonderful things. How’d you like to have to paint the fabric of that coat?

Rob: Oh, it’s so realistic.

Ford: How about this fabric here? You know, that’s, he just --

Rob: Wonderful artist.

Ford: He is just so talented.

Rob: And today, the Senate art collection has grown to 198 works worth in the millions of dollars, each unique for not just their artistry but their subject matter.

Ford: Every time we do a painting, we do a lot of research before we ever get started. We try to do the costumes, any gun or firearm, if there was a big wagon or saddle or whatever.

Rob: Accurate portrayals that often include some familiar faces when the historical details are lacking.

Ford: Since about the Osage treaty of 1825 that moved the Osage back into Kansas and allowed the Cherokee and the Creeks to move into Oklahoma.

Rob: Yeah, certainly some historical significance here, but also some personal significance too.

Ford: Well, it’s got my picture into it as one of the models, and I haven’t aged in 175 years.

Rob: You’re looking pretty spry there, you are.

[piano music].

Rob: An artistic tribute to a long-time Oklahoma lawmaker and his campaign to make the halls and galleries of the state Capitol a glimpse into Oklahoma’s heritage.

[piano music].

Rob McClendon: Now, I was able to visit with the senator at a traveling exhibit of the Capitol Art Collection at the OSU Museum of Art, but once the arts council ran the numbers on keeping these paintings on loan to local museums during the Capitol restoration, it proved to be logistically and financially unfeasible. So if you would like to see the entire Capitol collection you may want to head to 23rd and Lincoln sooner than later.

Female Announcer: Want to see more stories like this? All our segments are streaming on our YouTube channel at OklahomaHorizonTV.

Rob McClendon: Next time on “Oklahoma Horizon,” we look at an annual holiday tradition – and that’s traffic and the impact it has on your pocketbook.

Twenty-one dollars for every hour that vehicle is sitting in there, is said to be the average cost of a vehicle sitting in a traffic queue per hour. And when you talk about 27 or 17 or 7 miles of traffic backup, that’s a lot of money.

Rob: Avoiding the holiday headaches on the road, on Oklahoma’s show for the heartland, “Oklahoma Horizon.”

Rob McClendon: Well, that is going to wrap us up for today. But you can see more of any of our stories on our website at Follow us throughout the week on Twitter at OKHorizonTV. Or like us on Facebook where we do post our weekly stories. Thanks for including us as part of your day. I’m Rob McClendon. Hope to see you back here next week.

Female Announcer: “Oklahoma Horizon” is made possible by the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education; with additional support from the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry.