OKLAHOMA – The Oklahoma State Department of Education released the 2014 A-F Report Card for Oklahoma public schools today.
This is the third year of the state issuing the report cards and more than one-third (646) of Oklahoma schools improved their overall score, with 289 schools receiving A’s.
However, there was also a rise in “F” schools with 200 public schools receiving a failing grade.
This is how the grades breakdown:
|A – 289 (16.1%)||354 (20%)||160|
|B – 473 (26.4%)||499 (28%)||842|
|C – 504 (28.1%)||472 (26%)||594|
|D – 299 (16.6%)||263||138|
|F – 200 (11.2%)||163 (D&F combined=24%)||10|
Thirty schools (1.6%) did not receive a 2014 report card.
According to the Oklahoma State Department of Education, the school grades provide parents, students, businesses and communities with a clear, easily understood snapshot of how local schools are performing.
“The A-F report cards are vital to ensuring accountability. Parents and communities must know what schools are excelling and what schools need additional help,” said State Superintendent Janet Barresi. “In doing so, Oklahoma educators and schools can build on successes and focus on particular challenges.”
Barresi stands by this system and believes improvements will continue to be seen.
“We’re getting down to what the needs of Oklahoma students really are,” said Barresi.
She says the latest grades show schools are working to improve.
“We said in Oklahoma we were going to raise the bar and have more rigorous standards. When you have that you have a period of time where you transition,” said Barresi.
She says that transition is why some schools saw a drop in their grade. She believes they will likely rebound in the future.
Luther Public Schools saw a drop from a C to an F at two of their schools.
“Our changes which were implemented this year, we’ve thrown dollars into it, have not had time to be measured,” said Superintendent Sheldon Buxton.
Barresi says the depressions in those grades are simply growing pains which are encouraging districts to better themselves.
“There’s a lot of great conversation going on across the state and so districts are now involved in constant improvement,” she said.
While Barresi says the system is gradually improving there are still those who are completely opposed to the system.
“They are designed to label schools and that doesn’t really do anything to help our students.” said Alicia Priest, with the Oklahoma Education Association.
The state board of education was quick to point out there are several smaller districts which failed in the past and are now making vast improvements and have seen that reflected in their grades.
The board is hoping to invite representatives from those districts to future meetings to talk about what they’ve done to see such improvement.
Oklahoma City Public Schools Superintendent Rob Neu says the OKC Public School staff will not focus on state reports cards. Instead, he wants the staff to focus on engaging the students.
“The information provided on the A-F School Report Cards is a benchmark and only one measure of what student success looks like. Oklahoma City Public School staff will continue to connect with students as true partners in their education by building relationships; by doing so the test results will take care of themselves. OKCPS will not focus on standardized testing or state report cards. Instead our focus is on engaging our students and parents; as well as providing additional resources to our teachers to improve the academic achievement of our students,” said Neu.
Governor Mary Fallin released the following statement regarding the school report cards:
“Oklahoma has great teachers and administrators, and they have my thanks for the difficult, important job they are doing.
“The A-F grading system is designed to empower parents by providing them with an easily understood measurement of how a school is performing. This year’s grades demonstrate that Oklahoma has hundreds of “A” schools and many pockets of excellence. It also continues to show – as we have known for years – that there are many schools that are struggling. The superintendents and teachers of schools receiving a D or an F must remember: a bad grade is not a punishment; it is a call to action. Parents should also understand that we are absolutely committed to helping these schools succeed in the future.
“Knowing where we have difficulties is the first step in working towards improvement. The challenge now is to rally around those schools and the students in them to improve results. That will take an all-hands-on-deck effort, with parents, teachers, administrators, and local and state governments working together.
“I am confident that we can successfully improve public education in Oklahoma. Doing so will require the development of robust, Oklahoma academic standards to replace Common Core, which are being developed now. It will also require more financial resources in addition to the $150 million in increased funding provided in the last two years. Moving forward I am committed to delivering those resources, some of which I would like to see go towards pay-raises for teachers, so we can attract and retain the best and brightest professionals to our classrooms.
“Nothing is more important to the future of Oklahoma than succeeding at improving education.”