School Districts Continue To Protest New Grading System

Friday, October 5th 2012, 6:02 pm
By: Emory Bryan

Tulsa Public Schools has sent a letter home to parents criticizing the "A-F" school report cards and disputing what the State Department of Education says has been a transparent process.

In the letter, Ballard says, "We have attempted many times to sit down with State Superintendent Barresi and her staff to talk about the inaccuracies of many of the measures. We still have 16 outstanding questions that have gone largely unanswered. To say the process has been transparent is a gross exaggeration."

Thursday, a group of school superintendents held a news conference to complain the grading formula was unfair.

10/4/2012 Related Story: School Superintendents Express Concerns Over New Oklahoma School Report Cards

TPS spokesman Chris Payne said late Friday that 202 districts have signaled their opposition to the way A-F has been implemented by the State Department of Education.

Ballard's letter to parents, which will go home with students, says, "I believe the grades as they may be released on Monday are not an accurate reflection of our schools."

Read Ballard's letter to parents here.

In her newspaper column, released Friday, State Superintendent Barresi addressed some of superintendents' claims.

"Districts have taken issue with several areas of calculation. Several administrators have claimed that the State Department of Education has refused to listen to their concerns or answer their questions. This is untrue. We have exhaustively communicated with districts. We've sought and used their input. We've had multiple meetings where members of my staff have listened to concerns and answered questions. We've written responses to questions. We've talked to districts by phone.

"We have heard the concerns of districts; in many cases, they just prefer we used a different formula than the one required by law. Of course there are areas where we may request the law be tweaked in the future to address certain calculations, but my staff stands behind the calculations and the grades."

The state school board will take a final action vote Monday on whether or not to publish the report cards to a website, so they will be available to the public.