Ryan Walters Shares New Accreditation Plans Ahead Of Dept. Of Education Meeting

The Oklahoma State Department of Education meets this morning to discuss a change in accreditation, which would affect all public schools in the state.

Thursday, November 30th 2023, 12:57 pm

By: News On 6


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The State Board of Education discussed a topic that will affect all public schools: a change to how schools are accredited.

Superintendent Ryan Walters spoke with News On 6 ahead of the meeting.

"Parents are frustrated, our communities are frustrated, so what we've got to do is take a different approach. The status quo has not worked," Walters said.

School accreditation has been a topic of discussion for the last few years. First, when state education officials put Western Heights under state control due to issues with its accreditation. Those issues have since been resolved and the district is back under local control.

This year, State Superintendent Ryan Walters led a push to downgrade Tulsa Public Schools' accreditation due to issues with test scores and reported financial issues that led to criminal charges.

Now, Walters said he's looking to revamp the accreditation process to hold all public schools accountable for kids struggling academically.

"Every school that's found deficient in academics will get much more involvement from the state department of education. That's resources, that's personnel, that's training programs," Walters said.

Walters said, for example, a school that performs less than 50 percent basic in math will be deficient and if the state's plan goes into effect, those schools would see stricter scrutiny from education officials and resources to boost scores.

"You set measurements, and you talk through with districts on how to meet those measurements, and if they fall short, you hold them accountable, and you also give them ways to be successful," Walters said.

The accreditation discussion is part of a 60-day process where anyone can comment on the proposal.

Those comments are generally submitted on the state's website, on which the state board of education will vote, followed by votes of the Oklahoma House and Oklahoma Senate.

What Are The Levels Of Accreditation For Schools?

According to the US Department of Homeland Security, accreditation applies to the entire school as an institution. An accredited school with no deficiencies "indicates that each entity of a school contributes to the achievement of the school’s objectives" but not every element of accreditation is directly related to education. Other standards, such as testing security, capital improvements, staffing, detailed graduation requirements, and student activities programs.

Current Accreditation Standards In Oklahoma

There are five levels of status after an accreditation.

The levels include:

Accredited With No Deficiencies meaning all standards met

Accredited With Deficiencies meaning some standards aren’t met overly impacting the quality of education.

Accredited With Warning says the deficiency seriously distracts from the quality of education.

Accredited With Probation means the lack of progress and failure to get back on track.

Non-accredited

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