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Updated: January 13, 2022 @ 9:44 am
Serving Southeast Oklahoma Since 1896
Secretary of Education Ryan Walters toured McAlester Public Schools campuses in November 2020.
Secretary of Education Ryan Walters toured McAlester Public Schools campuses in November 2020.
OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma’s top education appointee is facing backlash after critics said he made a “insulting” and divisive social media post that accused educators of acting out of fear, not necessity, when deciding to close schools.
Some education advocates, meanwhile, questioned whether Ryan Walters, who serves as Gov. Kevin Stitt’s secretary of education, understands the challenges public schools are facing and why such decisions are being made.
“The first reaction should not be to shut schools down. It is the last resort. Parents are tired and children suffer when administrators act out of fear and not in the best interests of their kids and their future,” Walters wrote in his Tuesday tweet. “I call on schools to use all of their available resources and administrative staff to cover classes to ensure all of our students are given an in-person education option. They should fulfill their obligation to educate our kids in Oklahoma.”
The tweet came as dozens of districts statewide have announced plans to close or switch to virtual learning through early next week amid a resurgent COVID-19 virus that is sickening students and teachers and is exacerbating shortages of substitute teachers, cafeteria wokers and bus drivers.
State Rep. Jacob Rosecrants, D-Norman, said Walters’ tweet is “out of touch” and divisive as it attempts to place “some kind of blame” on educators when support is most needed right now.
“It’s based on ignorance of the situation,” Rosecrants said. “There should be folks, parents, teachers and administrators who are just a.) confused and b.) horrified by such a take because they’re already on the front lines and living through this viral pandemic, which keeps coming back.”
A former teacher, Rosecrants said it comes as a surprise that Walters, who currently teaches a virtual class for McAlester Public Schools, would say something like that when everyone is struggling.
Cases tripled over the weekend at McAlester Public Schools with the district reporting 31 staff and 71 students testing positive and 566 total out as of Tuesday night.
Superintendent Randy Hughes said the district is closing Thursday with the goal of returning to in-person instruction after Monday.
“That’s five days and hopefully they can get better by then and we get people back and be able to effectively have class,” Hughes said.
Though Walters was aware his tweet swiftly generated a flood of outrage, he remained unapologetic Wednesday, saying that he stands for Oklahoma students and their parents who want and need schools to remain open.
“I’m going to unapologetically stand on behalf of Oklahoma students,” Walters said. “Parents are speaking loudly that they want an in-person option for their kids.”
Walters, who plans to run for state superintendent later this year, said he wants school administrators to use some of the $2 billion in federal coronavirus aid to boost substitute pay, and he expects district leaders to reach out to their communities and request help. Since his tweet, Walters said he’s had several great conversations and seen communities rally together. He said 450 districts remain open, and he anticipates an uptick in substitute applications as nonprofits and community leaders step up.
“The governor and I are working on what are all of the options, what can we do to help,” Walters said, adding that he’s signing up to become an occasional substitute teacher himself.
“I know that Oklahomans are going to rally together to help our schools stay open,” he said.
Katherine Bishop, president of the Oklahoma Education Association, said Walters’ tweets were “perplexing” and “disturbing,” and highlighted a lack of knowledge of what is happening in schools. A shortage of substitute teachers has forced educators and administrators to work harder and harder in order to keep classes in person.
She said teachers are leaving the profession because they don’t feel that state officials know what’s happening in schools and aren’t listening. She also said they’re not asking what can be done to help but are instead ordering things must be done.
“So I absolutely understand the outrage that came about from that tweet,” Bishop said.
Bishop said schools are so short staffed that they’re cramming hundreds of kids into gymnasiums or cafeterias just so that there are enough staff to watch them.
She said that the state is still in the throes of a pandemic, and there are going to be points in time where districts have to move to distance learning for the well-being of everyone in the school systems and community.
Bishop said, “This is their last resort, and this is not an easy decision that they’re making to have to move to distance learning.”
Hulbert Public Schools, in eastern Oklahoma, shifted to virtual school Thursday and Friday after over 20% of its student body either tested positive for COVID-19 or were in quarantine.
Chisholm Public Schools, in north Enid, reported that about 13% of its 1,150 students and 17 staff members were ill Wednesday. Of those, 44 students had tested positive for COVID-19. The district had 10 substitute teachers working.
In Woodward, Superintendent Kyle Reynolds said there were 11 students and seven staff members out due to positive tests along with 65 students and 3 staff members on quarantine for close contact. The district had 18 substitutes working Wednesday, but was still two substitutes short.
Muskogee Public Schools reported 16 staff and 82 students had tested positive for COVID-19 over the past seven days. Several districts in the area have transitioned to virtual learning.
Carly Atchison, a spokeswoman for Stitt, said that since Day 1, Stitt and Walters have fought “tooth and nail to keep schools open.”
“Gov. Stitt stands with Secretary Walters,” she said. “Kids need to be in the classroom, and he appreciates schools that are doing everything they can to stay open.”
In a tweet, Rick Cobb, superintendent of Mid-Del Schools, said it’s “insulting” that Walters would think closure is any district’s “first reaction.”
“We’ve been pulling all available staff to cover classes. The fact that #oklaed schools and districts have maintained instruction as long as we have shows your complete lack of situational understanding,” he wrote. Cobbs’ district plans to close its doors starting Thursday due to a rise in COVID-19 cases, high teacher and student absences and staffing shortages in school kitchens, on buses and among substitute teachers.
Pam Deering, executive director of the Cooperative Council for Oklahoma School Administration, said that they’re proud of administrators who have weathered “this nearly two-year storm of uncertainty” while being innovative to keep schools open.
“We have seen these school leaders substitute in classrooms when teachers were sick, serve lunches for cafeteria workers and roll up their sleeves for custodial duty when staffing was low,” Deering said. “They have worked within their local communities to do what’s best for their individual schools and district – and we know they will continue to do all of these things, and more, to ensure all of the needs of Oklahoma’s public school children are met throughout the entirety of this pandemic.
Katherine Jeanne in Enid, Brian King in Tahlequah, Johnny McMahan in Woodward, Adrian O’Hanlon III in McAlester and Cathy Spaulding in Muskogee contributed to this report.
Richard Reid Hill, 76, of Red Oak, OK passed away at his home in Red Oak, on Wednesday, January 5, 2022. Memorial Services will be on Monday, January 17, 2022 at 2 pm at the Opera House in Elk City, OK. Services are under the direction of the Waldrop Funeral Home of Wilburton.
Patricia (Trish) McCabe, 56, of Wilburton, OK passed away on Monday, January 10, 2022 at The Texoma Medical Center in Denison, Texas. Services will be on Friday, January 14, 2022 at 1 p.m. at The Bowers Baptist Church with the burial to follow in the Wilburton Memorial Gardens Cemetery in Wi…
Cecil Warren Morgan, 82, formally of Red Oak, Oklahoma passed away on Sunday, January 9, 2022 at the Mercy Hospital in Ada, Oklahoma. Services will be on Thursday, January 13, 2022 at 2 p.m. Graveside Services at the North Rock Creek Cemetery in Red Oak, Oklahoma. Officiating will be Rev. Ja…
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Carrots Have These 8 Amazing, Surprising Health Benefits
Initially, the vegetable originated in the geological area and the Asian United States, and it was initially only available in purple and yellow hues. Carrots are an excellent source of beta carotene, a natural mineral introduced by the body to provide sustenance, and they are high in fibre.
Carrots, which are crunchy, orange, and delicious, provide a variety of benefits to our health, pores, skin, and hair. These don’t appear to be particularly tasty, but they are loaded with numerous important nutrients, for example, beta-carotene, cell reinforcements, potassium, fibre, sustenance K, and so on.
Carrots are cultivated to promote eye health, lower dangerous LDL cholesterol, and aid in weight loss. Let’s put it to the test and find out why carrots are so good for you!
The following are twelve effective edges you might get from carrots:
1. Supports gadget
Most importantly, carrots contain a few phytochemicals that are well-known for their cancer-causing properties. Carotenoids and carotenoids are present in more than one of these associations. Overall, compounds create resistance and activate specific proteins that prevent the growth of most tumor cells. An investigation reveals on a screen that carrot juice can also fight leukemia.
2. Advances Glowing Skin
Investigate tips that stop outcome, and vegetables well off in those composites will finish pores and pores and skin ground and work with people’s appearances, thus making them more noteworthy young.
3. Fortifies Bones
Carrots are high in vitamins, minerals, and cancer-fighting agents. Vitamins B6 and K, potassium, phosphorous, and other minerals contribute to bone health, a more durable, and help with mental performance. Aside from selling the body to free extreme annihilation, cancer prevention agents keep an eye on the casing in the course of dangerous microbes, infections, and diseases. Physical cell digestion is managed by the ophthalmic component. Carotenoids have been linked to improved bone health.
4. Advances Male physiological circumstance (ED)
These fruitfulness meals may increase the number of sperm cells and their motility. According to research, this is a direct result of the fake carotenoids found in carrots, which are responsible for the vegetable’s orange color. However, it is still unknown whether carrots can improve sperm enjoyment and motility. Carrots are being tried to improve food for male physiological conditions and erectile dysfunction. Cenforce FM and Cenforce D can be used to treat impotency.
5. Keeps From Cancer and Stroke
Carrots have an unusual endowment in that they are loaded down with anti-cancer resources that will depress the cells’ blast. Essentially, studies have discovered that carrots can reduce the risk of a variety of diseases, including colon, breast, and prostate cancer.
6. Further develops the natural framework Health
Carrots contain a significant amount of dietary fibre, which plays an important role in supporting healthy stomach function. Fibre expands your stool, allowing it to pass more easily through the stomach-related plot and preventing stoppage.
7. Assists with managing polygenic affliction and basic sign
Carrots are high in fibre, which promotes cardiovascular health by lowering LDL cholesterol levels in veins and blood vessels. Calcium is absorbed through the frame of carrots, resulting in low but dangerous cholesterol levels.
Carrots have an unbalanced fibre content. An investigation found that advanced fibre consumption improves aldohexose digestion in people with the polygenic disorder. Following a healthy, well-balanced diet and maintaining a healthy weight can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Inconsistencies in glucose digestion may require a high level to combat aerophilic strain, and this is frequently where the inhibitor nutrients dilettanti ophthalmic thing axerophthol fats-solvent sustenance may also benefit.
According to one review, juice provided a 5 wrinkle inside the beat fundamental sign. The supplements in carrot juice, with fibre, K, nitrates, and vitamin C, have all been obtained to help this final product.
8. Advances Healthy Heart
To begin with, each cancer prevention agent is beneficial to your coronary heart. Furthermore, at 0.33, they should contain fibre, which can help you stay in shape and lower your chances of having a heart attack.
9. Forestalls devolution
Edges that are hostile to ophthalmic detail ensure the floor of the eye and provide a sharp inventiveness and perception. Taking juice will help to delay many eye diseases, such as macular degeneration, cataracts, and visual impairment. Overall, carrots contain lutein, which is an inhibitor that protects the eye from obliterating light.
10. Works on urinary organ and Liver perform
Carrots contain glutathione. Cell reinforcement has been shown to be effective in treating liver disease caused by aerophilic strains. The greens are high in plant flavonoids and beta-carotene, both of which stimulate and develop your popular liver component. Carrots contain carotenoid, which can help fight liver problems.
11. Palatable Anti-Aging
Along with carrots on your regular food, you will appreciate limiting the way you get more seasoned. Furthermore, beta-carotene functions as an inhibitor that advances cell harm, which happens as a result of the casing’s normal digestion.
12. Advances Weight Loss
Uncooked Carrots are 88% water when raw or ebb and flow. A regular carrot has the lowest difficulty level of 25 energy. Taking everything into consideration, including carrots in your diet is a wise way to fuel yourself while collecting calories.