MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Oklahoma News

November 3, 2013

Fallin sees criticism of grading system as unhelpful

TULSA (AP) — Criticism from educators of Oklahoma’s A-F grading of schools is unproductive and could affect funding for public schools, according to Gov. Mary Fallin.

Fallin’s spokesman Alex Weintz told the Tulsa World that the criticism is hindering Fallin’s ability to make the case to the public and to lawmakers that increased funding can help schools and student performance.

“It’s not helpful to anyone’s cause,” Weintz said. “The fact of the matter is this grading system, regardless of whether or not you believe it should have been put together differently, is the law.”

Weintz said Fallin is “dismayed” to see groups representing the education community touting a report issued by researchers at University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University.

Educators around the state, who have criticized the grading plan since its debut in 2012, point to two analyses by OU and OSU researchers that concluded that the formula the grades are based upon “has very little meaning and certainly cannot be used legitimately to inform high-stakes decisions.”

Weintz said Fallin disagrees and believes the conclusions are harmful to public education.

State Superintendent Janet Barresi has released an education budget request for fiscal year 2015 of $2.5 billion, an increase of $174.9 million over the current budget. On the day the request was released, Fallin’s office urged education supporters to get behind the grading system and stop endorsing reports that criticize it.

“The governor believes that increased resources — if allocated appropriately — can help improve the quality of schools and improve student performance,” Weintz said. “She is an advocate, if we have extra funds, of trying to funnel those into education.

“It is crippling her ability to make that case to the public and to other lawmakers if the education community itself is touting a report which in essence says schools can have very little effect on student performance.”

Weintz said that a number of school officials are engaging in “personal political vendettas.” He pointed specifically to Broken Arrow Superintendent Jarod Mendenhall, who last week called for a no-confidence vote on Barresi and whose district published a four-part series on Oklahoma education on its website.

“That’s an example of the kind of thing that is unhelpful, inappropriate and legally questionable,” Weintz said. “This is essentially campaign material that is being put together on state time and state resources.”

Mendenhall defended his actions.

“Part of my duty as a superintendent is to educate parents and patrons about the issues affecting schools,” he said. “That was the intent of this series and, after reading it, I hope citizens have a better understanding of the reality that exists for public schools and the students they serve.”

The A-F grading formula replaced a school accountability system that gauged schools with an Academic Performance Index score of zero to 1,500.

The grades for schools statewide are expected to be released this week.

1
Text Only
Oklahoma News
AP Video
Judge Ponders Overturning Colo. Gay Marriage Ban Airlines Halt Travel to Israel Amid Violence NYPD Chief Calls for 'use of Force' Retraining VA Nominee McDonald Goes Before Congress Bush: Don't Worry, Sugarland Isn't Breaking Up US Official: Most Migrant Children to Be Removed Police Probing Brooklyn Bridge Flag Switch CDC Head Concerned About a Post-antibiotic Era Raw: First Lady Says `Drink Up' More Water Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law Holder Urges Bipartisanship on Immigration Raw: Truck, Train Crash Leads to Fireball US Airlines Cancel Israel Flights Obama Signs Workforce Training Law Crash Victims' Remains Reach Ukraine-held City Diplomatic Push Intensifies to End War in Gaza Cat Fans Lap Up Feline Film Festival Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die Veteran Creates Job During High Unemployment
Poll

Should a federal judge have the power to strike down Oklahoma's ban on gay marriage?

Yes
No
     View Results
Featured Ads
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Stocks