Education Forum includes discussion on technology, funding, accountability

Panelists were Murray State president Joy McDaniel, Denison Superintendent Henry Scott, Director of the Southeastern Center for Regional Economic Development Kathy Hendrick,  Durant Superintendent Jason Simeroth, and Southeastern president Larry Minks. At far right is moderator Aaron Adair.

Panelists were Murray State president Joy McDaniel, Denison Superintendent Henry Scott, Director of the Southeastern Center for Regional Economic Development Kathy Hendrick, Durant Superintendent Jason Simeroth, and Southeastern president Larry Minks. At far right is moderator Aaron Adair.

DURANT, Okla. – The increase of technology use and the decrease in funding were among a wide range of topics discussed Monday at SE Forecast: An Educational Forum. Sponsored by the Southeastern Oklahoma State University Student Government Association, the 90-minute event attracted a crowd of 60 students, faculty, and staff to the auditorium in the Glen D. Johnson Student Union.

Panelists were Southeastern president Larry Minks, Murray State College president Joy McDaniel, Durant Superintendent of Schools Jason Simeroth, Denison (Texas) Superintendent of Schools Henry Scott, and Director of the Southeastern Center for Regional Economic Development Kathy Hendrick.

Serving as moderator was Southeastern Assistant Dean of Distance and Adult Education and Assessment Management System Coordinator Aaron Adair. As far as national trends in education in the 1970s-90s, President Minks mentioned diminishing resources, accelerated technology, the challenges of access and diversity, and conflicting public expectations.

President McDaniel noted that the evolution of technology is the greatest trend she has observed during her career in education, citing the popularity of on-line courses and interactive TV.

Dr. Simeroth said the new Durant High School offers the “latest and greatest technology. It provides us with the opportunity to change the way we teach — to challenge our students to be problem-solvers.”

With 50 years of public school experience to his credit, Dr. Scott agreed that technology is a wonderful tool, but that “technology cannot replace a quality teacher.”

In her remarks, Hendrick emphasized the importance of business and industry and education continuing to communicate their needs to one another. That communication is key to sustaining a highly-trained workforce and healthy economic development future.

On the issue of decreased state funding, McDaniel said “we’ve changed from state-funded institutions to state-assisted institutions.”

Coupled with the decreased funding are increased accountability and expectations, the panelists agreed.

“We’ve gone way overboard on testing in Texas,” Scott said. He later stated that greater funding should be allocated to early childhood education so that students don’t fall behind in the early grades and become dropout risks later on.

Minks commented on such national and state initiatives as Compete to Complete and Complete College America as programs designed to increase the number of college graduates.