The Norman Transcript

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October 5, 2012

Superintendents: System is flawed

NORMAN — Superintendents representing 79 public school districts and an estimated 300,000 Oklahoma children from across the state shared their concerns Thursday about the state’s A-F School Grading System at the Oklahoma School Board Association offices on North Lincoln.

The Oklahoma State Department of Education will release the grades for all 1,761 public schools in the state Monday, but superintendents from across the state say the state’s grading method is “deeply flawed.”

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Janet Barresi has touted the new A-F Report Cards as “transparent” and “easily communicated to the public.” The superintendents contend the new system may do more to misrepresent than inform parents and residents appropriately.

Edmond’s Superintendent David Goin joined a panel of five superintendents who spoke representing the superintendents present as well as those unable to attend the press conference. Other panel members included Keith Ballard, superintendent of Tulsa Public Schools, Joe Siano, superintendent of Norman Public Schools, Cathy Burden, superintendent of Tulsa Union Public Schools, and Karl Springer, superintendent of Oklahoma City Public Schools.

All of the superintendents stated they were strong supporters of evaluating the education system and supported the bill passed by the legislature in 2011, but they did not believe the system adopted by the state Department of Education would be effective because they termed it a flawed system of evaluation.

Officials stated a 10-page technical guide and a 28-page report card guide with 48 calculation tables are necessary to understand how a school receives a grade.

“School districts are not opposed to accountability or improved communication on school performance,” Ballard said. “We have demonstrated accountability for student achievement for over a decade under No Child Left Behind. We were hopeful that the new A-F Grading System would be an improvement over the previous system. In its current form, however, the new system is highly discriminatory and is aimed at holding schools down. The intent is to embarrass schools, and that is unacceptable. ”

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