State could take over failing schools

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OKLAHOMA CITY — The largest school district in the state is speaking out against the possibility that the State Department of Education might take over failing schools. Last month Oklahoma was one of 11 states granted a waiver for the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

According to the waiver application, it is a possibility that the state could be taking control of the schools that aren’t up to snuff.

Oklahoma City Public School Superintendent Karl Springer is submitting a stack of paperwork to the state that he believes will prevent the state Department of Education from taking over 24 failing schools in his district.

Springer says, “We recognize that Oklahoma City Public Schools needs to improve. That’s absolutely an imperative for us. We will resist any takeover by the State Department of Education of our schools. We do have a plan we plan to implement and execute that plan.”

Springer and Board of Education Chairperson Angela Monson have major concerns about the state stepping in where they believe local control is the answer.

For the past two years, Oklahoma City has been hard at work implementing sweeping reform for the district’s 43,000 students.

They believe the continuous learning calendar, Great Expectations programs and Teach for America are working.

Angela Monson says, “We have set the bar very high for ourselves over the next few years and we feel like as a locally-controlled district we can reach that bar.”

The district has been involved in on-going talks with the State Superintendent’s Office.

Department of Education spokesperson Damon Gardenhire says there is no talk at the state level about taking over failing schools.

“It will be a complete partnership between the State Board of Education, the local board of education and the local leadership at the school level. All of the citizens of the state understand that we need to do something to address the needs of the students in these failing schools. That’s what this is about. We can’t leave kids in failing schools and continue to think that we will succeed as a state.”

State Superintendent of Schools Janet Barresi is preparing her blueprint for state education reform right now.

She’ll be presenting it to the State Board of Education Thursday.

Priority Schools in OCPS:

ASTEC Charter MSBodine ElementaryCapitol Hill High SchoolDOVE Science Academy ElementaryF.D. Moon AcademyHupfeld Academy / Western VillageJackson Middle SchoolJefferson Middle SchoolJohn Marshall MiddleSchoolsLee ElementaryM.L. King Jr. ElementaryMarcus Garvey Leadership CharterRogers Middle SchoolRoosevelt Middle SchoolSanta Fe South Middle School CharterShidler ElementaryStar Spencer High SchoolThelma R. Parks ElementaryWheeler ElementaryDouglass Middle SchoolJustice A.W. Seeworth AcademyOklahoma Centennial Middle SchoolU.S. Grant High SchoolOklahoma Centennial High School

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