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Opinion

December 8, 2013

Oklahomans have not lost faith in schools, but have lost faith in leadership

NORMAN — Editor, The Transcript:

Phil Bacharach has been one of the writers whose stories and articles I have enjoyed reading through the years. His work has been, with few exceptions, well organized, informative and on point. His recent letter to the editor was one of those exceptions.

He took the Norman Transcript to task for a Nov. 11 editorial concerning studies by Oklahoma University and Oklahoma State University that found that the Department of Education A-F grading system “seems to value affluence and devalue diversity.”

Mr. Bacharach noted that the research was conducted after similar findings were reached by two education-establishment organizations which he claimed had a vested interest in the grades schools received.

He further claimed that the A-F system is about expectation and academic rigor and was not designed to embarrass anyone. As proof, he cited the grades received by Norman Public Schools, noting that five schools received an A, ten earned a B, and not a single school in the district received an F.

I find it curious that Mr. Bacharach cited Norman as the example of the fairness of the system. It is true that Norman is a very diverse community, due primarily to the presence of the University of Oklahoma, which welcomes students from across the nation and from all over the world.

I find it more curious that he failed to mention that Norman is one of the most affluent cities in the state. He also overlooked the efforts of the university and their Norman leadership partners to attract and support hi-tech businesses and organizations, i.e., Astellas, Hitachi, National Weather Center, National Severe Storms Laboratory.

I read the report of the research team from the University of Oklahoma. I found the research parameters and data sources to be valid and the results consistent with the data collected. In addition, I know and/or know of the research faculty involved in the study.

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