The Norman Transcript

Opinion

November 8, 2013

New report cards do not make the grade

NORMAN — Oklahoma’s new A-F report cards for public schools were unveiled Wednesday to much praise from some elected officials and scorn from school leaders across the state.

The report cards have been touted by State Superintendent Janet Barresi and Gov. Mary Fallin as a way for parents to gauge how their children’s schools are performing. While the report cards give some schools well-deserved bragging rights, we don’t think they do much to help parents and taxpayers evaluate their schools, and they are not particularly helpful to schools in showing the path toward improvement.

The grades actually could be harmful, once posted online and incorporated into various real estate websites, if the grades are given unwarranted credibility and used by people moving into an area to make home-buying or school-attendance decisions.

We also aren’t happy with the process leading up to the report cards’ unveiling.

Local school officials received their results two weeks ago, and as Enid Superintendent Shawn Hime pointed out, Enid Public Schools’ grades changed 10 times. That many changes don’t instill much confidence in the system. Neither does a report from University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University researchers that shows the grading formula used is flawed.

On top of those problems, there was the spectacle Wednesday when the report cards were unveiled on the Oklahoma State Department of Education website. Districtwide results and results for individual school sites were released. Then, later in the day, the districtwide results were pulled down, when Education Department officials admitted they were mistakenly released.

We acknowledge the grades given to schools do offer some enlightenment, such as pointing out a need to work more on science and reading, for example. However, that’s really not anything new. No one — from educactors, to parents, to politicians — is disputing there is room for improvement in our education system.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Opinion
  • Congress should close gaps

    Of all of Edward Snowden’s revelations about electronic surveillance by the National Security Agency, the most unsettling was that the government was accumulating vast numbers of records about the telephone calls of American citizens. In ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Border obsession overlooks trade

    Texas Gov. Rick Perry made headlines recently by ordering 1,000 National Guard troops to the border. This bravado comes at a price: $12 million a month. Perry plans to send the bill the federal government. That’s one way to finance your ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Intercession badly needed in this world

    Yesterday was my feast day, or as the Italians call it, my “onomastico.” Since I live in the United States, it went completely unnoticed. If I lived in Italy, however, I would have been showered with cards and phone calls. That’s because ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Help better than commentary

    For the last seven years, I have helped run Hands Helping Paws, an animal welfare and rescue group that fosters Norman’s abandoned animals and advocates for spay and neuter initiatives to reduce our community’s problems with stray and ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Stick to the sports

    Editor, The Transcript: Why must we, especially us nice conservatives, be subjected to political commentary in a sports column? I hear/view Fox News routinely and find their coverage quite acceptable. I also hear/view CNN and MSNBC. I ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Corporation Commission should should evaluate quakes, fracturing

    Editor, The Transcript: Is your house at risk of being damaged in an earthquake because of fracking? Maybe. We’ve seen more earthquakes and tremors in Oklahoma seven months into 2014 than in the two previous years combined. At the same ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Norman can stop fracking before it escalates

    Editor, The Transcript: There are 163 fracked wells within Norman city limits. With growing attention to health and safety concerns, the city is considering changes to the existing oil and gas ordinance....

    July 27, 2014

  • We should be offended by things that matter

    Editor, The Transcript: I’m offended. Why you say? I live in the USA, in Norman — a great town. What could possibly offend me? I’ll tell you. It’s people that are offended by the most meaningless things (what to call an evergreen tree in ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Porch leap looked muchbigger as a kid

    It’s no secret that porch designs have changed over the years. Drive through new Norman developments and look at the porches. Most only have room for a potted plant and a spot to drop those UPS packages, no place for a porch swing or ...

    July 27, 2014

  • State, local jobmarkets look up

    A tight labor market is often a big problem for economic development professionals. They need to be able to promise companies that there are willing workers in the community’s labor pool....

    July 26, 2014