Robby Korth

Robby Korth joined StateImpact Oklahoma in October 2019, focusing on education reporting.

He grew up in Ardmore, Oklahoma and Fayetteville, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Nebraska with a Journalism degree. Robby has reported for several newspapers, most recently covering higher education and other topics for The Roanoke Times in southwest Virginia. While there, he co-created the podcast Septic, spending a year reporting on the story of a missing five-year-old boy, the discovery of his body in a septic tank a few days after his disappearance, and the subsequent court trial of his mother. Although the story was of particular interest to residents in Virginia, the podcast gained a larger audience and was named as a New and Noteworthy podcast by Apple Podcasts.

On a personal note, Robby loves trivia games and won his elementary school's geography bee in fifth grade.

Robby Korth / StateImpact Oklahoma

The coronavirus has thrown each individual’s education into chaos. And Oklahoma teachers, students and administrators are trying to bring order back into students’ lives.

But billions of dollars from the federal government should give schools the opportunity to work at mitigating learning loss.

Oklahoma’s State Department of Education announced Monday the start of a new multiyear initiative to best leverage those monies called Ready Together Oklahoma.

It will begin this summer, State Superintendent for Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister said.

Epic Schools

Epic Charter Schools’ governing board voted shortly after midnight Wednesday to reform its controversial learning fund.

Starting in July, the details of the fund will be available for public inspection for the first time.

The learning fund gives up to $1,000 to students who are enrolled in the school for educational purposes. In the previous five years, it’s accrued almost $80 million.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

After convening for hours in a closed meeting, Oklahoma’s State Board of Education flipped public school funding on its head.

 

The board voted 4-3 on a resolution to “equalize funding for all charter schools and public schools.”

American Academy of Pediatrics

It appears Oklahoma teachers, who were bumped up a priority group in December, may start receiving COVID vaccinations by the end of the month.

Gov. Kevin Stitt is one of the loudest voices calling for Oklahoma students to attend in-person classes. That’s why in December, he announced teachers would move up in the line for vaccines. But they’re still behind people over 65 who are receiving vaccines now and those with comorbidities, who are next in line.

Robby Korth / StateImpact Oklahoma

Gov. Kevin Stitt quietly removed and replaced State Board of Education member Kurt Bollenbach of Kingfisher and replaced him with an anti-mask activist from Enid this week.

Melissa Crabtree has been an outspoken critic of masking in Enid. Bollenbach was one of three board members to vote in favor of a mask mandate in Oklahoma schools.

Stitt – who has repeatedly said he won’t implement a statewide mask mandate – has said when making political appointments to various boards he hopes people will do what he wants.

Parent Mandii Brower vividly remembers what it was like when her kids' school in Yukon, Okla., switched to distance learning in the spring: "It was just like, we never learned with our teachers again. They never checked on things again." She says "school" consisted of just a few short daily assignments.

"I [couldn't] see my kids' education going that way."