MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Oklahoma News

November 5, 2013

Gov.’s office: School grades criticism was not a threat

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Recent criticism of a report on the new A-F public school grading system should not be construed in any way as a threat to educators, a spokesman for Gov. Mary Fallin said Tuesday.

Fallin spokesman Alex Weintz said the governor, school superintendents and teachers “are all on the same side.”

Weintz voiced concerns last week that constant criticism over the A-F grading system could make it difficult for Fallin to make the case for more funding for education. Ivan Holmes, a Democratic candidate for state superintendent, blasted Fallin, saying she was trying to bully educators into quieting their criticism.

“Gov. Fallin is attempting to blackmail, harass, intimidate and threaten our educators over their dissatisfaction with the current A-F grading system,” he said.

School officials statewide have criticized the A-F grading of schools since its debut in 2012. They have referred to a report by researchers at the University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University that said the formula underlying the A-F grades was flawed and “has very little meaning.”

Weintz said Tuesday that Fallin has not and will not threaten funding for schools based on opposition to the A-F grading system.

“She is asking that groups representing superintendents reconsider their endorsement of a report that argues that education cannot make a significant impact in student performance,” Weintz said in a statement. “That argument undermines the advocates of public education who believe it is worth investing in and improving, including our teachers and superintendents.”

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