Political Analyst Breaks Down Tulsa Public Schools' Accreditation Battle

Political Analyst Scott Mitchell said in the past, issues between the schools and the state were mostly financial, but this one appears to be more personal.

Tuesday, August 15th 2023, 10:21 pm



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The State Board of Education is scheduled to vote on the accreditation of Tulsa Public Schools next week.

News On 6 Political Analyst Scott Mitchell said he hasn’t seen anything like this before.

He said in the past, issues between the schools and the state were mostly financial, but this one appears to be more personal.

Deborah Gist, the Superintendent of Tulsa Public Schools, said she believes the concerns from the state about TPS are politically motivated.

"It's a mystery to us why this person is using this office that he has to wage this personal and political campaign against our city, against our schools,” said Gist Monday on Six in the Morning. “It's been going on for a long time, and we don't understand it."

In response to that comment, a spokesman for State Superintendent Ryan Walters said, “It’s a mystery that Deborah Gist doesn’t understand that kids in Tulsa Public Schools have the lowest graduation rate in the state, that they have more than a million dollars in embezzled money. She has sold the parents and the public a bunch of lies.”

Mitchell said this debate is coming after several years of disagreements about the direction of TPS.

"I don't think it's about the embezzlement,” said Mitchell. “I think this is top-line cultural, there are people in the Superintendent of Public Instruction's office who do not like the way that TPS is being run.”

Mitchell said people should do their research about TPS and public education, because people can interpret data in different ways.

"People have to go about looking at their education system like you're going to buy a car,” said Mitchell. “And if you're going to go out and buy a car, you're going to start getting on every site that you can to try to drill down as to what is the truth, and that's how we're going to have to do that."

He said another big part of the debate can be chalked up to people trying to find answers for why Oklahoma’s education system is ranked so low nationally, and what the government, and schools, can do to fix it.

"It's like three-dimensional chess,” said Mitchell. “There's a lot going on here, it's not just breaking down between liberal and conservative, Republican and Democrat, it's just much more than that. And that is the future of an education system in this country."

Mitchell said one of the best things parents can do is look up the data for themselves about TPS and draw their own conclusions.

You can visit these links for more information about the State Department of Education and Tulsa Public Schools:

State Dept of Education website

Lookup of Schools/Districts and their information provided by OSDE

Tulsa Public Schools website

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