Oklahoma HB 1693 is up for a vote in the State Senate Education Committee next Monday, March 21st or more likely Monday, March 28th. The bill makes changes in the public schools’ grades given in an A-F Report Card and other components of the education “accountability” system which Superintendent Hofmeister is seeking to have approved by the state legislature. These changes are just part of the new State Plan Hofmeister has fashioned around federal government control of education, with the approval of the Governor’s State School Board.
On December 15, 2016 a presentation was made to the Governor’s State School Board. The following power point graph from that presentation shows the race groups being scored differently. The Oklahoman reported: “For white students, the simulated school target for 2017 was around 275 (below grade level). The target for black students was only 200. Low targets were also indicated for Hispanics and American Indians. Thus, the simulation indicated schools where black children performed far worse than white children would face no penalty under the school grading system.”
This new State Education Plan developed by Superintendent Joy Hofmeister has set off a controversial debate as most people would expect when they see the details. “Racial Targets in proposed Oklahoma School grades overhaul merit concern” http://newsok.com/article/5531584
A-F Grades for schools, the “achievement gaps” between groups, new assessments to measure “interim” progress through out the year, giving students 6 years for high school instead of 4 years if they have not become “proficient” and aligning our state plan to the federal control of education are some of the very controversial and important issues that are involved in the new State Plan for Education which is on the table right now at the State Capitol. The cost of all of these changes which will be millions of dollars must also be carefully considered.
The full power point presentation from 12-15-2016 referenced above is available on the State Department of Education web page for HB 3218 on the right side of the page in the blue column, scroll down to Board Presentation on Accountability (PPT).
So much time, money and effort has been and is still being spent on measuring/assessing/testing and data collection that the focus has shifted from the learning process and specifically from the students as individuals. We will NEVER create equal outcomes for all students but we should be committed to equal opportunities for ALL students to succeed to the best of their individual ability. This is the cry being heard across the country. The state of Michigan is in the process of dropping the A-F School Reports all together “State Drops A-F Grades for Schools” http://www.washingtontimes.com/news….
We can hold teachers and administrators accountable without having to use a federally devised ideology that just doesn’t work. I hope our legislators will not pass this plan but delay it so we can work on getting the focus back where it belongs and out of the control of the federal government.