The Edmond Sun

Local News

April 25, 2014

Education leaders looking at adding more flexibility to testing exemptions

OKLA. CITY — Following the latest kerfuffle over standardized assessments, the State Department of Education is reviewing its testing exemption policy to determine how to add more flexibility.

Joel Robison, state Superintendent Janet Barresi’s chief of staff, said even before the latest brouhaha erupted Wednesday, conversations already had started about the need for more flexibility. Currently the only federal exemptions allowed are for emergency medical issues and for first-time English language learners. Department of Education spokeswoman Tricia Pemberton said the education department receives hundreds of calls a year querying about different scenarios that have to be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

“I suspect that before next year’s testing window opens, there will be some flexibility added, and we will announce that. We just haven’t determined how we want to go about that, but it is needed,” Robison said.

The latest standardized assessment flare-up came as a state Department of Education assessment coordinator denied a testing exemption to two Moyers Public Schools sixth graders, who were left orphaned in a Sunday car crash that killed their parents, Rodney and Crystal Sutterfield, and two others. Moyers Superintendent Donna Dudley exempted the students anyway before Barresi personally intervened and issued a blanket exemption to both youth.

Robison said the employee’s initial decision, while wrong, “was based upon some fairly rigid federal guidelines on assessments.”

Robison said the exemption rule is complex. In Oklahoma, districts must test at least 95 percent of students or automatically lose a grade on the state’s A-F letter system. The federal government requires 90 percent of students be tested. In the state’s smallest districts, a handful of students could be the difference between compliance and failure.

But some saw the initial decision to deny the exemption as a lack of flexibility and compassion by the State Department of Education. It raised the ire of people across social media platforms and irked state legislators from the area.

“It’s imperative that we instead of using common core, we start using some common sense in where we make judgments on students in public schools today,” said Rep. Curtis McDaniel, D-Smithville, adding the was glad the exemption was eventually issued.

Ginger Tinney, executive director of the Professional Oklahoma Educators, a statewide organization based out of Noble, said the latest incident was “ridiculous,” but happens “when you write such hard, fast rules.”

“If there are standards written, they need to be broad,” she said. “There’s always going to be something that’s going to happen that you never thought of. Things happen at the last minute that are extremely horrible, catastrophic.”

She believes ultimately, decisions about exemptions should be left to local administrators.

“They know who and who shouldn’t take a test. You’ve got to trust your local administrators to do the right thing,” Tinney said.

Wednesday marked the second issue in a week involving standardized testing in Oklahoma. On Monday, the state was forced to suspend online testing for the second year in a row after thousands of middle school students experienced disruptions due to a technical glitch.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • 1,000th baby group.jpg INTEGRIS welcomes 1,000th birth since opening in October 2011

    Being the father of a new baby boy is pretty exciting, but being the father of INTEGRIS Health Edmond’s 1,000th baby made it even more special.
    “When we got to the hospital, the night-shift nurse told us we were in a race with another couple who had gotten there at 7 a.m.,” said Bryan Lane, the new baby’s father.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • okco fair 100.jpg Oklahoma County Free Fair offers competition, free fun

    Oklahoma County residents are invited to compete in the 100th annual Oklahoma County Free Fair as they take part in many activities scheduled just for them.
    The county fair will get underway Aug. 21-23 at the Oklahoma State Fair Park and will be highlighted by its open adult and youth along with 4-H and Oklahoma Home and Community Education categories, as well as its special contest and activities.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Great Expectations names 4 Edmond public schools ‘Model Schools’

    Great Expectations, a non-profit foundation that provides intensive professional development to teachers and administrators, announces four Edmond Public Schools have earned the organization’s highest distinction: Model School. Based on Great Expectations theory implementation, there are three categories of recognition, including Transitional School, Progressive School and Model School.

    July 31, 2014

  • Grieving children find support at Calm Waters

    Calm Waters Center for Children and Families offers free support groups for children, ages 3–18 and their families whose lives have been affected by death or divorce.
    Oklahoma continues to rank among the top states in the nation for unintentional and premature deaths, leaving single parents raising children. Additionally, Oklahoma continues to have one of the highest divorce rates per capita in the nation. These tragedies leave children feeling isolated, sad, and uncertain.

    July 31, 2014

  • Church hosts adult Vacation BIble School

    “Jesus is the Source” will be the theme of Edmond First Church of the Nazarene’s second annual adult Vacation BIble School.
    The progam will be from 6-8:30 p.m. Aug. 4-7 at the church, located at 3001 S. Boulevard. It will include a light supper at 6 p.m. and songs, games, storytelling and crafts beginning at 6:30 p.m.
    Presenters will include members of the congregation acting as Bible characters and a special performer will be in from Texas.

    July 31, 2014

  • officers killed 1.jpg 67 cops die on duty across country

    The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund reports that 67 officers have been killed in the line of duty during the first half of 2014 — a 31 percent increase from the same period last year.
    Of these 67 officers, 26 were killed in traffic-related incidents, 25 were killed by gunfire and 16 died due to job-related illnesses and other causes. California led all states with eight officer fatalities followed by Florida, New York, Texas and Virginia each with four peace officer fatalities.

    July 31, 2014 2 Photos

  • Lankford, James 2011.jpg Lankford, rest of Oklahoma delegation vote to sue president

    A Democratic leader said the House does not have standing to sue the president after members of Oklahoma’s congressional delegation voted to do just that.
    At 6:28 p.m. Wednesday, members of the House approved by a 225-201 partisan margin H. Res. 676, which gives House leadership the authority to file a lawsuit challenging actions by President Barack Obam

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • UCO, local Y create community garden

    A new community garden is providing a transformative learning opportunity for students and helping stock UCO’s Central Pantry.
    The University of Central Oklahoma’s Volunteer and Service Learning Center and the Edmond Rankin YMCA are sponsoring the garden, providing a transformative learning opportunity for students, and organic fruits, vegetables and herbs for the food bank.

    July 31, 2014

  • MS_prisons 1.JPG DOC action could save $36.8 million annually

    The Oklahoma Department of Corrections expects to avert more than 2,100 offenders by 2021 saving more than $36.8 million annually, an audit states.
    Tuesday, State Auditor and Inspector Gary Jones  released the results of a performance audit of the DOC that was requested by Gov. Mary Fallin. The audit for the period July 1, 2007 through June 30, 2013, distinctly focused on governance, financial management and capacity management.
    Audit recommendations included:

    July 30, 2014 2 Photos

  • food bank.jpg Regional Food Bank receives donation

    At a special celebration event Wednesday, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation announced that over the last fiscal year they gave more than $30 million in cash and in-kind contributions to charitable organizations throughout Oklahoma. Additionally, the retailer and its Foundation have partnered with local food banks to provide more than 15 million pounds of food to residents.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

Featured Ads
NDN Video
Famous Internet Cats Help Big Cause With Viral Video Recapping a Blockbuster MLB Trade Deadline Chapter Two: Composing for a film in retirement Is Justin Bieber Dating a Model? Guardians of the Galaxy (Trailer) 'Sharknado 2:' Hottest Memes Surfing The Net Raw: Obama Gets Hug From Special Olympian Snoop Dogg Narrating Animal Footage Is Perfect Tigers Acquire David Price - @TheBuzzeronFOX Russell Brand Slams Sean Hannity Over Gaza Conflict Segment Woman's Dive Goes Terribly Wrong Brian Williams Reports on Daughter Allison Williams' 'Peter Pan' Casting News Did Jimmy Fallon Look Up Heidi Klum's Dress? What Drama? Miranda Kerr Poses Topless Plane crashes in San Diego Costco parking lot Justin Bieber Takes To Instagram To Diss Orlando Bloom You Won't Believe the Celeb Cameos in "Sharknado 2" Pitch Invading Morons Cause Chaos - @TheBuzzeronFOX Orlando Bloom 'Takes a Swing' at Justin Bieber In Ibiza Sadie Doesn't Want Her Brother to Grow Up
Poll

The runoff race for the 5th District congressional seat is set for Aug. 26. If the voting were today, which candidate would you support?

Al McAffrey
Tom Guild
Undecided
     View Results