The Norman Transcript

Opinion

February 10, 2013

Clarifying some points made at town hall meeting

NORMAN — Editor, The Transcript:

The discussions during Tuesday night’s town hall were insightful, and I praise Caitlin Schudalla’s coverage in her article from Feb. 6, 2013.

I do wish to address a point she makes and hope to clarify one of the errors of the report.

In her article she states, “Nashert and Barksdale ... failed to deliver clear answers on how they would handle policy issues such as the A-F grading system or state-level advocacy for NPS if elected.”

I felt I was very clear in my answers to the questions regarding the issue of the A-F grading system for school performance.

I stated: “I’d like to see a more comprehensive grading system that didn’t just include a ‘snap shot’ evaluation based only on student testing but included teacher observation of student performance (after all they interact with these kids nine months out of the year on a daily basis) and performance also based on the grades of the students and would change the grading system to consider the socio-economic demographics of the school, where we have kids coming to school with no parental academic support or come from fractured homes.

“I oppose a grading system based only on a standardized test. As a teacher myself, I base my evaluations on student performance on their test scores and their quiz and homework scores and their classroom participation and discussions of concepts. So, it makes sense that a grading system for schools should include more of a comprehensive system and not just a grade based on student performance on standardized tests. Personally, I’d give Norman schools an ‘A’ grade.”

How much clearer could I have been?

Also, when Ms Schudalla quoted me, “My teacher would pinch me on the cheek, give me a hug and tell me every day that she loved me,” was at the very least a partial quote that made it sound like I was referring to Mrs. McCray’s actions only when I was a child in her third-grade class at Kennedy. I believe I stated, “As I would see Mary McCray, my third-grade teacher at Kennedy who died last year, in the community, every time she would see me, she would pinch me on the cheek, give me a hug and tell me that she loved me. I want to be that kind of person.”

The last time I saw that marvelous woman, she was almost 92 years old, and she insisted on getting out of the car’s backseat to embrace me the way she always did over the many years after my experience as her third-grade student.

Thank you again for the coverage of the townhall meeting.

GARY BARKSDALE

Norman

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