The Norman Transcript

Letters

December 5, 2013

Strive to improve schools

NORMAN — Editor, The Transcript:

An editorial in the Nov. 11 Norman Transcript criticized the A-F school report cards administered by the Oklahoma Department of Education, claiming that a study by University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University researchers showed that the grading system “seems to value affluence and devalue diversity.”

I take exception with that claim. The study (essentially a follow-up to an earlier one that had been funded by two education-establishment organizations with a stake in the grades) arrived at some curious conclusions.

The researchers, who based their findings on a meager 3 percent of graded schools, found that 70 percent of achievement in the classroom is due to factors beyond a school’s control.

There are, of course, stark realities that impact students. Far too many Oklahoma children live in poverty and endure the litany of hardships that go with it. That doesn’t mean schools can or should give up on those kids.

Education is often a way out of poverty. The grading system is about expectations and academic rigor — traits every bit as important in a school serving poor students as those in affluent suburbs.

The A-F grading system is not designed to embarrass anyone. Rather, it is a tool to bring transparency and accountability to a public education system in which, frankly, many Oklahomans have lost faith.

A-F is akin to a visit to the doctor. Not knowing you have a health problem does not make that ailment go away. If you know about it, however, you can treat it and take steps to lead a healthier life.

So it is with A-F. Discrediting its review does no good. Rather, we need to look at the results and strive to improve opportunities for our children.

For children in Norman Public Schools, those results were very good.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Letters
  • Norman should act wisely

    Editor, The Transcript: The fact that the city of Norman sells water for oil/gas drilling (or any other purpose) for less than half what they pay Oklahoma City when buying water, and while Norman residents are on rationing, is an act of ...

    April 18, 2014

  • Fallin should help residents

    Editor, The Transcript: I see this week that our empty skirt of a governor asked the federal government (small business administration) for much money. She is concerned about the suffering of the business owners in Lexington and Purcell ...

    April 17, 2014

  • League of Women Voters meeting

    Editor, The Transcript: On Saturday, May 10, the Norman League of Women Voters will hold its annual meeting at the Memorial Presbyterian Church, 601 24th Ave. SW, Norman, OK, from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm....

    April 12, 2014

  • Frackers should use gray water

    Editor, The Transcript: As reported by Joe Wertz in the March 31 issue of StateImpact Oklahoma, Finley Resources, a Texas-based oil drilling company, has arranged with the city of Norman to buy Norman’s drinking water from hydrants to use ...

    April 11, 2014

  • Columnists have it wrong

    Editor, The Transcript: I typically enjoy Class Act (the Q&A with school counselors published on Fridays) very much. I think they bring a rational and empathetic response to parents’ concerns when it comes to the challenges students and ...

    April 8, 2014

  • An unfortunate response

    Editor, The Transcript: On April 1, the citizens of Norman voted to approve the renewed PSST and to make it permanent by a narrow margin of 3,798 for versus 3,660 against. As a result of this vote, Mayor Rosenthal stated in The Norman ...

    April 6, 2014

  • Apathy and lack of understanding may doom universal health care

    Editor, The Transcript: Enrollments in the federal and state health exchanges were higher than expected and late enrollments are expected, yet people still contend the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is not going to be successful....

    April 6, 2014

  • The Medieval Fair as a measure of human progress

    Editor, The Transcript: This upcoming weekend we are invited to “Step back in time for a day of revels at the Medieval Fair. Enjoy mirth and merriment with kings, queens, knights and fools as the kingdom comes alive.” It’s an opportunity ...

    April 6, 2014

  • Acts of kindness still alive

    Editor, The Transcript: Random acts of kindness may be an overused phrase, but when kindnesses happen to your family, it is great to know it is alive and well....

    April 4, 2014

  • Property tax increase needed

    Editor, The Transcript: Household and government budgets are necessary to keep spending on track. Voters’ choices can determine the direction of budget cuts and adjustments. Always vote smart....

    April 2, 2014