Friday, March 01, 2019

Giving Praise to the Enid Public School System

The local newspaper printed the state report cards for Oklahoma state public secondary education schools. Many people outside of Oklahoma may be unaware that Enid is the hub for northwestern Oklahoma, and that there are multiple public school systems in what bigger cities would call "suburbs" of Enid.

For example, there is the excellent Chisholm School District in North Enid, Pioneer School district in southwest Enid, Waukomis School District five miles south on Highway 81, and a handful of other school districts just outside the city limits of Enid, including Drummond, Garber, and Cimarron. There are also some stellar private Christian schools, including Oklahoma Bible Academy and Emmanuel Christian School, two of the finest Christian schools not just in our state, but in this region of the United States.

Enid is definitely not a one school district city.

That said, I want to praise Enid Public Schools. Schools, like churches, will always have their detractors. I'm not one of them.

There are few public school districts in the entire state of Oklahoma that experience the challenges that the Enid Public Schools system faces.

Nearly 5,000 Pacific Islanders live in Garfield County, over 3,000 of them Marshallese from the Republic of the Marshall Islands. Enid is the county seat of government for Garfield County. The city of Enid, Oklahoma has the highest percentage of Pacific Island people, per capita, than any other city in the United States. Emmanuel Enid even has a Pastor to Pacific Islanders (Yohanes Arwakon) who is in Majuro, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, to learn the language, make contacts with government officials, and get as much knowledge as he can on how we can help our Pacific Island friends acclimate to American culture and help those who live in Garfield County develop their community standard of living.

When the United States government conducted nuclear testing in the Pacific during the 1940s and 1950s, we destroyed the livelihood of many Pacific island cultures. Specifically, the Marshallese people were devastated by nuclear fallout.

In what can only be considered "government atonement" for the devastation caused in the Pacific, the United States government allows the Marshallese, Chuukese, and other indigenous Pacific Island people groups affected by U.S. nuclear testing to freely move from their homes in the Pacific to the United States without a visa. They can also work in America, join the American military, and be considered permanent residents of America without all the official U.S. government approvals required by every other immigrant who desires to come to America. The Marshallese and Chuukese have chosen three places in the United States to live: Portland, Oregon; Springdale, Arkansas, and Enid, Oklahoma.

Once again, Enid has the highest percentage of Pacific Islanders per capita of any city in the United States.

Though the Marshallese, Chuukese, and other Pacific Island cultures are given free access to enter America and work, they are barred from benefits, including medical insurance, welfare, and other government subsidies that even some illegal immigrants obtain.

It's a catch-22.  America says, "Come and enjoy our country. Pay your taxes. Fight for our military. Oh, by the way, no benefits for you."

The Pacific Islander families in Enid can't afford private education. Many of them can't afford nice homes in the suburbs of Enid. Though there are some Marshallese in all school districts in and around End, the vast majority of the 5000 Pacific Islanders in Garfield County are affiliated with Enid Public Schools.

When one looks at the "State Grade" for Enid High School, one will see that EHS received an overall grade of "C." 

That's a miracle.

Drill down a little further and you'll see why that grade wasn't the "A" or "B" the school deserves.


I know enough about school grades that if a student gets two "D's" and one "F" out of a possible six grades, the student would be ecstatic over a "C" grade.

Listen carefully. I don't blame our Pacific Island friends for the "C" grade of the Enid Public School System. Not at all.

I'm saying that a final grade never tells the entire story.

I'm thrilled with the progress of Enid Public Schools and challenge every Enid citizen to "step up to the plate" and help.

Volunteer Tutoring of Pacific Island Children
The Pacific Island Culture is different than American culture. Nobody wears a watch. It's called "Island Time." Meetings start two hours late and it's considered proper. In America, that's called "Chronic Absenteeism." It takes seven years to become fluent in the American language because English is a very difficult language to learn. "Proficiency" takes time - well into college-age years, so Pacific Islanders will never be as English proficient as American kids of privilege. In addition, Pacific Islanders have low expectations regarding jobs. There's no need to "graduate" and go to "college" if one needs to make money to help pay the family bills through manual labor.

Kudos to Dr. Darrel Floyd, Superintendent of Enid Public Schools, the administrators,  the teachers, and all who help make Enid Public Schools a great school system.

Have you driven around Enid lately and seen the progress in infrastructure to our Enid Public schools? I've been in Enid for nearly three decades, and we have been making unbelievable strides in upgrading and expanding our educational facilities these last five years.

Building the Pacific Island Ministry Center, Enid, Oklahoma
The church I pastor is also doing our part to help our Pacific Island friends. In addition to supporting a pastor and his family who minister directly to Pacific Islanders, we're building a Pacific Island Community Center in partnership with Forgotten Ministries. We are teaching those from the Pacific Islands English every week through a ministry called "English as a Second Language" (led by Monda Lowen). We also pull in all the Pacific Island children we can to tutor them every Monday, helping them with their homework. Many of us are talking to the state government officials to possibly get Pacific Islanders including in state medical insurance programs which will help our local hospitals. We are working with local colleges and universities to increase graduation rates of Pacific Island high school by offering scholarship incentives for a college education. When we get our Pacific Island Ministry Center finished, we'll be offering job training and career days to allow local businesses to help Pacific Islanders in career advancement.

It's the least we can do for our Pacific Island friends to help them acclimate to American cultural expectations.

The point of this post is to encourage you to realize that what is happening at Enid Public Schools is extraordinary.

And it's due to great leadership.


Christiane said...

God Bless the work of Wade's Church in assisting the Pacific Islander community in Enid. This is a true 'work of mercy' and adds gravitas to their Christian witness. Be blessed!

Unknown said...

Great article! Thanks for sharing the information!

Anonymous said...

So, nuclear fallout from GOV testing the A bomb ruins generations of Pacific islanders lives - wonder if GOV's future response to its current stratospheric aerosol injection testing on every US citizen will be as lame as their response to the islanders? These man made chemicals are being found on pristine mountain tops in ultra-high levels, and they are ending up in all of our bodies.

Glad to hear you guys are involved and care for those unfortunate people. Ken

Anonymous said...

Unfamiliar with SAI programs? Good overview here even though it's 5 yrs old:

Rex Ray said...

Prayer asked for my brother.

Dialysis no longer working as stoppage has occurred. Will have operation in other arm. We'll be there.

Christiane said...

REX RAY, I will keep vigil prayer today for your brother. Let us know how he does.
I know that you are worried and I also know that in the midst of our worries, the Good Lord can also send peace to our hearts. You can rest in that peace, and trust in Our Lord. We are all in God's keeping from moment to moment. Be comforted.

Wade Burleson said...

Prayers, Rex!

Scott Shaver said...

Sure will Rex

Christiane said...

"Lord have mercy on us, for we have hoped in Thee,
look upon us now with compassion, and deliver us,
for Thou art our God, and we are the works of Thy hands,
and we call upon Thy Name now
for Thou hast made us
and we are Thine." Amen

Rex Ray said...


Good news. Today, doctors were able to clear the dialysis blockage without surgery that he may not have survived.

Christiane said...

Hey there, REX RAY

Thankful for the good news! Prayers will continue, this time of thanksgiving. :)

Christiane said...

"“Our life revolves unceasingly, but the centre is ever the same,
and the wise will regard only the seasons of the soul.”

(Henry David Thoreau).

Rex Ray said...


You wrote, “English is a very difficult language to learn.” Have you seen this?


We'll begin with a box and the plural is boxes;
but the plural of ox became oxen not oxes.

One fowl is a goose, but two are called geese,
yet the plural of moose should never be meese.

You may find a lone mouse or a nest full of mice;
yet the plural of house is houses, not hice.

If the plural of man is always called men,
why shouldn't the plural of pan be called pen?

If I spoke of my foot and show you my feet,
and I give you a boot, would a pair be called beet?

If one is a tooth and a whole set are teeth,
why shouldn't the plural of booth be called beeth?

Then one may be that, and three would be those,
yet hat in the plural would never be hose,
and the plural of cat is cats, not cose.

We speak of a brother and also of brethren,
but though we say mother we never say methren.

Then the masculine pronouns are he, his and him,
but imagine the feminine, she, shis and shim.

Some reasons to be grateful if you grew up speaking English;

1) The bandage was wound around the wound.
2) The farm was used to produce produce.
3) The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.
4) We must polish the Polish furniture.
5) He could lead if he would get the lead out.
6) The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.
7) Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to
present the present.
8) A bass was painted on a bass drum.
9) The dove dove into the bushes.
10) I did not object to the object.
11) The insurance was invalid for the invalid.
12) There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.
13) They were too close to the door to close it.
14) The buck does funny things when the does are present.
15) A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer line.
16) To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.
17) The wind was too strong to wind the sail.
18) After a number of Novocain injections, my jaw got number.
19) Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear.
20) I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.
21) How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?
22) I spent last evening evening out a pile of dirt.

Let's face it - English is a crazy language.

There is neither egg in eggplant nor ham in hamburger; neither pine nor apple in pineapple.

English muffins weren't invented in England

We take English for granted. But if we explore its paradoxes, we find that
quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square and a guinea pig is
neither from Guinea nor is it a pig. And why is it that writers write but
fingers don't fing, grocers don't groce and hammers don't ham?

Doesn't it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend?

If you have odds and ends and get rid of all but one, what do you call it?

If teachers taught, why didn't preachers praught?

If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat?

Why don’t children play on the playground when they go to a play?

Ship by truck and send cargo by ship?

Have noses that run and feet that smell?

How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites?

You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house
can burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a form by filling it out
and in which an alarm goes off by going on.

If Dad is Pop, how come! Mom isn't Mop?