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Teachers, administrators react to A-F grading report

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Nov. 8 -Democrat State Superintendent of Public Instruction candidate, Dr. Ivan Holmes says administrators, educators, and parents should ignore the latest controversial A-F grading system report card issued to schools by Superintendent Janet Barresi on Wednesday.

“How can you take it seriously when members of the Superintendent’s own party in both houses of the legislature question the results and implementation of the A-F grading system report card?  That should be both personally and politically embarrassing to Superintendent Barresi,” Holmes said.

Administrators and educators should put together their own report card on the failures of the State Department of Education, says Holmes.  “If anyone deserves an ‘F’ it would be Superintendent Barresi and Governor Mary Fallin for failing our kids once again.  In my opinion, they would both fail in the areas of funding education, communication with administrators and teachers, openness and transparency in decision making, storm shelters for protecting our kids, and basic common sense,” says Holmes.

The report card issued Wednesday stated the number of ‘F’s’ increased from 10 to 163 and the number of ‘D’s’ increased from 138 to 263 in just one year.  “If Superintendent Barresi believes in the accuracy of her own report card, then our schools are going backward under her leadership not forward,” stated Holmes.

OKLAHOMA CITY - The controversial A-F grading system was released today. The release delivered some good news and some bad news.

The good news is more schools scored an "A" than last year, but the bad news is many more schools also scored an "F!"

As for the grades, 354 schools, about 20-percent, received an overall grade of "A."

That's more than double the number of schools which received an "A" last year. There were 163 schools which received a failing grade, compared to last year when there were just ten "F's."

Santa Fe South, a charter school in Oklahoma City, saw scores at two schools go up; however, their elementary school dropped to an "F." School officials say they are all for accountability but believe this system is still flawed.

Jace Kirk, a parent of four Santa Fe South students, said, "They love their school. The "F" label is not an accurate depiction of what happens at their school."

Two of his children attend a school which, according to the state report cards, scored an "F."

Chris Brewster, superintendent at Santa Fe South, said, "There isn't a harder working or better cohort of teachers anywhere I've worked with than my elementary school."

Mr. Brewster says the high school and middle school improved over last year's score. Last year the high school was given a "C." This year they received a "B." The middle school had a "D" last year, but was given a "C" this year. However, the elementary school dropped a grade from a "D" to an "F."

Mr. Brewster says accountability is good, but he's not convinced this grading system is an accurate picture of a school's success.

He said, "If we received straight 'A's' we would also say we don't believe that to be an accurate indication, by this metric, of the strength of the schools."

Officials with the Oklahoma Education Association agree, saying this system unfairly labels children in our state as a failure or a success.

Linda Hampton, president of the OEA, said, "If you have a child that has done their very best and their school gets a "D" or an "F" and they read that in the paper they transfer that, they internalize that and they think, 'Well, I'm a failure.'"

Kirk says there's more to a school than these grades show. He encourages other parents to educate themselves.

Kirk said, "Be in your child's school. Be involved. Know what goes on there and take some time to read this report and try to understand how they come up with these grades."

Those opposed to the grading system say not only is it discouraging for students but it will make it harder in the long run for schools with lower grades to recruit teachers. A problem opponents say will add to a problem many districts already face.

This year, the grades were broken down as follows:

A = 354 schools, or 20 percent

B= 499 schools, or 28 percent

C= 472 schools, or 26 percent

D= 263 schools

F= 163 schools.

Officials say 24 percent of schools scored either a D or an F this year.

Click here for more information and reaction on the grades.

Ryan Owens, the executive director of the United Suburban Schools Association, stopped by our studios to give the perspective of administrators and teachers to the new rankings.

Thursday, Barresi will stop by our station and answer viewer questions.

You can head to KFOR's Facebook page and submit your questions for her.