The Edmond Sun

Local News

October 19, 2012

State Senate candidates weigh in on A-F grading

EDMOND — The state’s A-F grading system for public schools is flawed, said Richard Prawdzienski, an Independent state Senate District 41 candidate. He fears the state will lose quality teachers with the strict regimentation becoming mandatory for teachers.

“They’re doing robot-checking teaching of students and they’re roboting teachers,” Prawdzienski said.

Prawdzienski will face Republican incumbent state Sen. Clark Jolley Nov. 6 in the general election. Both men live in Edmond.

It makes no sense for teachers to be chastised for not having enough people attend their open house, Prawdzienski said. Teachers with large numbers of students are receiving negative points when students do not spend appropriate time with the teacher.

“That is not teaching. It is basically working as a robot,” Prawdzienski said.

Prawdzienski advocates for amending the state Constitution to dismantle public schools with the responsibility of teaching left to parents, he said. Churches and community advocacy groups could pay for the cost of a child’s education in instances when families cannot afford to do so, he said.

“Richard and I apparently have several fundamental disagreements about the state’s constitutional role in public education,” Jolley said. “I could not disagree more with his plan to end public common education at the end of the sixth or eighth grade and selling all higher education institutions such as UCO.”

The State Board of Education delayed a vote on the acceptance of the A-F grading system that was due to be released earlier this month. The decision came after more than 306 superintendents objected to what they called the flawed methodology of the grading system in early October. More than 313 school districts, more than 60 percent, are recorded this week in opposition to the state’s grading system of schools, according to an official for Tulsa Public Schools.

In a recent memo to school board members, Edmond’s Superintendent David Goin stated the delay will provide more time to address the issues of concern. Modifications to the school grading system need to be accurate in representing quality schools, Goin said.

Goin said he is concerned about how the state figures lowest achieving students’ growth (Lowest Quartile Growth) and the impact of how the growth of low achieving students will affect a school’s grade.

“Superintendent Goin has a very legitimate concern and he and I have visited about it,” Jolley said. “I agree with his point about so few students having such a large impact on the overall school grade. Fixing that requires a change in the statute that I intend on addressing that next session in February should I be re-elected in November.”

Jolley, who authored the A-F grading reform, added that previously the state was excluding too many students under privacy concerns, an action that causes hundreds of schools to not receive a full report card.

“Our number is significantly higher than what it should be and it needs to be lowered as well while still protecting the private information of the student,” Jolley said.

On Oct. 25, the State Board of Education will focus on the growth factor applied to all schools by making two proposals — the first being the average growth of all students, both positive and negative. In addition, the average gains of students with positive outcomes will be calculated.

“I support a high growth factor being applied to our general population of students,” Goin said. “However, applying the same standard in grading ‘lowest achieving quartile’ students’ performance is sometimes unfair to students, teachers and schools, especially at the elementary level.”

Only 45 of Oklahoma’s 692 elementary schools will receive a grade of “A” under the current formula, Goin said.

Students living with serious handicaps make up a significant portion of Edmond’s lowest quartile, Goin said. Growth in learning is expected for these children, Goin said. He also cautioned that a more modest growth for children with serious handicapped conditions should be celebrated and not penalized.

“The standard for this group of children must be reassessed. Yes, we expect challenging growth for all Edmond students, but the standard must be reasonable,” Goin said.

Improving the educational outcomes of all students, including those who have physical and/or mental challenges should be the goal of policy changes, Jolley said.

Comprehensive data will reveal that “lowest quartile” growth is the formula component resulting in the inordinate small group of “A” schools and a very large group of “B” schools, Goin said.

He suggested that a number of the 45 “A” schools have small numbers of enrollments. These schools likely slipped into the “A” category because the calculation of their school grade did not include their grade for “lowest quartile growth,” Goin said.

Ten of Edmond’s 15 elementary schools are designated as “Reward Schools,” but under the current system, only three of these schools will achieve a school grade of “A,” Goin said.

“Two of the three are small schools that will receive the ‘A’ by virtue of the fact that their lowest quartile grade will not be included due to their small student population,” Goin continued. “The small schools’ GPAs are calculated by entering their ‘whole school growth’ grade twice, once in place of the ‘lowest quartile growth’ grade.”

Jolley is concerned about watering the down the reform.

“As I understand it from my discussions with the State Department of Education, the way we are currently calculating their achievement is not in comparison to everyone else, but as compared to their own personal educational outcome expected in their Individualized Education Plan (IEP),” Jolley said. “I would not favor excluding children who are on IEPs from counting in our accountability systems.

“The moment we begin excluding them, more and more students who fail to test well will simply be moved onto an IEP and we will see a repeat of what Oklahoma has been caught doing in the past: avoiding testing low-performing students under a false pretense.”

The general public will not understand why several larger Edmond elementary schools will receive a “B” grade instead of an “A,” Goin said. Report cards can be used to set goals for improvement only if the grades assigned to schools are accurate, Goin said.

“Looking at the bigger picture across the state; under the current formula, one must assume either that excellent elementary schools are virtually non-existent in Oklahoma or that there is a problem with the calculation,” Goin said.

Oklahoma’s history of grading schools has for the most part been ignored, nor could anyone understand what the numbering system from 0-1500 meant, Jolley said.

“This reform is an important one because it is meant to tell parents the quality of the school their children attend in terms we all more easily understand,” Jolley said.

Text Only
Local News
  • Boston 1 Arcadia man, 80, prepares for 111th marathon

    A year ago, Arcadia resident Tom Briggs was well into the Boston Marathon course when he heard runners nearby talking about an incident up ahead.

    April 19, 2014 3 Photos

  • Anne Josette Hill Police seek teen last seen in Edmond-north OKC area

    The family of a missing teenage girl made a plea to the public Friday to help them find the Casady honors student.

    April 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • 4-19 Calendar

    For information about Edmond senior programs, stop by and pick up a monthly calendar, check out the website at or call 216-7600. Lunch is served at 11:30 a.m. and reservations are needed a day in advance by 11 a.m. For lunch reservations, call 330-6293 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

    April 19, 2014

  • UCO plans Earth Day Fair

    The University of Central Oklahoma invites the community to celebrate sustainability with its Earth Day Fair from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. April 22 in locations throughout Central’s campus.
    The fair kicks off at 10 a.m. around Broncho Lake with exhibitions from local businesses, state agencies and student organizations. Visitors will have the opportunity to learn about its environmental mission and message.

    April 19, 2014

  • UCO School of Music closes semester with concert series

    The University of Central Oklahoma School of Music will wrap up its instrumental performance season with three concerts featuring Central students April 29 through May 1 at Mitchell Hall Theater located on the UCO campus.    

    April 19, 2014

  • Fine Arts 1 Auction benefits Fine Arts Institute

    The Spring Sampler dinner and auction event April 12 at Oak Tree Country Club benefitted the Fine Arts Institute of Edmond.

    April 18, 2014 4 Photos

  • Kaiser joins Thunder ownership group

    Tulsa businessman George B. Kaiser has been approved by the NBA Board of Governors as a new partner in The Professional Basketball Club LLC, which owns the Oklahoma City Thunder. Thunder Chairman and CEO Clayton I. Bennett made the announcement Friday. Kaiser is purchasing the ownership interest of Tom L. Ward.
    “We are honored to welcome George Kaiser as a member of the ownership group of the Oklahoma City Thunder,” Bennett said. “George is a well-respected and important Oklahoma business leader, as well as one of the state and nation’s top philanthropists. His commitment to successful business and community leadership is in true alignment with that of the Thunder.
    “I also appreciate the commitment and leadership provided by Tom Ward as a member of our ownership group from the beginning,” Bennett added.

    April 18, 2014

  • Literally, books come to life for club

    When some of the women at Touchmark at Coffee Creek got together to form a book club, they didn’t know it would be so much fun and become such an important part of their lives.
    The group of about a dozen residents gets together monthly to not only discuss the assigned novel, memoir or classic, but also to immerse themselves in the setting and culture of the book. There is no limit to their creativity.

    April 18, 2014

  • pink.jpg Local children win Edmond Sun Easter coloring contest

    Two local children were named winners of The Edmond Sun’s Easter coloring contest. At left, Madsion Porter, 4, daughter of Tracy Porter, won a princess Easter basket, which included a tiara, tea set, stuffed bunny rabbit and chocolate rabbit. At right, BriAnna Harbaugh, 9, daughter of Leslie Haubaugh, won a Hello Kitty Easter basket, containing art supplies, a Hello Kitty stuffed animal and a chocolate bunny.  The families also received a three-month subscription to The Edmond Sun. For your own subscription to The Edmond Sun, visit, call 341-2121, or visit 123 S. Broadway.

    April 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • jc_HarveySparks.jpg Pastor seeks congressional seat

    Working in the Congressional 1st District office of Congressman Jim Bridenstine was an eye opener for Harvey Sparks, he said. His analytical exposure to Congress has sparked his drive to run for the Congressional 5th District of Oklahoma, said Sparks, R-Oklahoma City.
    Sparks has been a pastor for the majority of his professional life. Sixteen months ago, he was asked by 1st District Congressman Jim Bridenstine to come work in his Washington, D.C., office. He and his wife, Jennifer, have three daughters and a son, ages 10-3.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

Featured Ads
NDN Video
Jabari Parker's Top 5 Plays From Duke Career Kourtney Kardashian Is a Bikini Babe More Manpower Than Ever Expected At 4/20 Rally Debunk'd: Miley Cyrus AIDS, Cheeseburgers Cause Cancer, Military Warning Bill Previewing the NBA playoffs Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite My name is Cocaine Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Lohan Gets Candid About Her Sex List The 2014 New York Auto Show Meet Johnny Manziel's New Girlfriend Chelsea Clinton Announces Pregnancy Funny: Celebrating Easter with Martha Stewart and Friends Man Accuses 'X-Men' Director Bryan Singer of Sexually Abusing Him As a Teenager Man hit with $525 federal fine after he doesn't pay for soda refill Lea Michele & Naya Rivera Feuding? Jabari Parker declares for the NBA draft Singing Nun Belts Out Cyndi Lauper New West, Texas Explosion Video Swim Daily, Throwback Thursday

Do you agree with a state budget proposal that takes some funds away from road and bridge projects to ramp up education funding by $29.85 million per year until schools are receiving $600 million more a year than they are now? In years in which 1 percent revenue growth does not occur in the general fund, the transfer would not take place.

     View Results