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
  • north 1.jpg U.S. News ranks city high schools in state’s Top 10

    All three Edmond high schools are ranked among the Top 10 in the state in a prestigious national list.
    U.S. News & World Report, which publishes annual rankings, ranked Edmond North No. 3 in Oklahoma and No. 437 nationwide. Memorial ranked No. 6 in Oklahoma and No. 847 nationwide. Santa Fe ranked No. 8 in Oklahoma and No. 1,075 nationwide.
    “This recognition serves as validation for our students, parents and staff members at all levels who work together relentlessly in pursuit of academic excellence, Edmond Public Schools Superintendent David Goin said.

    April 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • OC expands to 5 academic colleges

    Oklahoma Christian University will expand from three to five colleges beginning with the 2014-15 academic year.
    OC’s five academic colleges will be the College of Biblical Studies, the College of Business Administration, the College of Engineering and Computer Science, the College of Liberal Arts and the College of Natural and Health Sciences.
    “Our academic and leadership teams have been planning, praying and discussing how to build on OC’s legacy of exceptional success in science, engineering and business,” said Scott LaMascus, vice president for academic affairs. “Our new colleges will focus on growth in these areas and implement strategic planning to help us serve more students.”

    April 23, 2014

  • N Front Door 3.jpg FBI seeks suspect in robbery of local bank

    Police and FBI agents are investigating the robbery of a local bank by a suspect wearing a fake mustache and goatee, a spokesman said.
    FBI Special Agent Martinus McConnell said the robbery occurred Tuesday morning at the Arvest Bank, 2025 Sonoma Park, Edmond.

    April 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • Ekso 1.jpg Deer Creek students see bionic suit in action

    In 2010, a car accident left Guthrie resident Mary Beth Davis paralyzed from the waist down.
    In a few weeks, thanks to INTEGRIS Jim Thorpe Rehabilitation, determination and an Ekso Bionics suit, she will be walking across a stage to receive a college diploma from Oklahoma State University.
    Wednesday afternoon, Davis was at Deer Creek Middle School where students of teacher Jamie Brehm got to see Davis and the suit in action and learn about how it helps people live a fuller life.
    Brehm said the opportunity to have the demonstration fit perfectly with the testing schedule. Brehm said a bonus was having Davis with her inspirational story come to the school. In addition to graduating soon, Davis lives an independent life and she was recently crowned Ms. Wheelchair Oklahoma.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • clock edit.jpg Antique clock collection on display at Edmond Library

    In a world that’s often hurried and brief, the Sooner Time Collectors have nothing but time. Oklahoma chapter members of the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors have provided antique pieces from personal collections to display at the Edmond Library until the end of April.
    Since the 1950s, Sooner Time Collectors have gathered to learn about the inner workings of clocks and to admire one-of-a-kind finds. Of interest to the community is their involvement with repairs for the Cowboy Hall of Fame clock and the UCO tower. They now have 35 members who meet monthly as a chapter of the 16,000-member NAWCC community across America and the world.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Be on the lookout for termites

    Warming temperatures and spring rainfall means swarming conditions for the homeowners’ nemesis in Oklahoma — the termite.
    Termites are Mother Nature’s way of recycling dead wood, as well as aerating the soil and increasing its fertility and water percolation. They are an important food source for other insects, spiders, reptiles, amphibians and birds within the food web, and they are essential for the wellbeing of the environment.

    April 23, 2014

  • Betz handprint.jpg Central students organize ‘Take Back the Night’ to end sexual violence

    The University of Central Oklahoma’s National Organization for Women (UCO-NOW), Institute of Hope and the Violence Prevention Project will host a Take Back the Night (TBTN) march and rally to end violence, beginning 7 p.m. May 1 in Pegasus Theater in Central’s Liberal Arts building.
    TBTN events date back to the early 1970s and focus on eliminating sexual violence in all forms. Thousands of colleges, universities, women’s centers and rape crisis centers have sponsored TBTN marches throughout the country.

    April 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • suspect 1 Police investigate more home burglaries in Edmond

    Residents have reported an additional seven home burglaries to the Edmond Police Department the day after an equal number occurred, according to city records.
    Police spokeswoman Jenny Monroe said a detective is investigating the new incidents reported during the day on Tuesday. Monroe said similarities in them lead the agency to believe they are connected.
    Tuesday’s reported burglaries occurred in different areas including near the Covell-Coltrane intersection and south of 15th Street along Santa Fe. According to city records, they were reported at:

    April 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • earth day 7.jpg Central community learns about water conservation

    Edmond residents know about rain that falls from their roofs after a storm. Some may not know what kind of important role it plays in the nation’s water supply.
    Tim Tillman, the University of Central Oklahoma’s sustainability coordinator, said UCO has a tradition of innovation in sustainable practices. Tillman said Earth Day, first brought to the campus more than 20 years ago, began that tradition.
    During Tuesday’s Earth Day Fair, Jason Summers, a Coca-Cola account manager for on-premise sales, was giving away rain barrels and educating members of the Central Oklahoma community about the benefits of rain barrels.

    April 22, 2014 3 Photos

  • pic 2.JPG Energy secretary touts CNG fleet conversion

    Oklahoma Secretary of Energy and Environment Michael Teague said the state is leading the way in converting its fleet of vehicles to run on compressed natural gas.
    And, he adds, the state is working to get federal officials engaged in moving its fleet of vehicles in Oklahoma to use CNG.
    Teague made those statements Tuesday during a visit to Champion CNG, 13915 N. Harvey Ave. in Edmond. The visit also coincided with Earth Day.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

Featured Ads
NDN Video
Michael Strahan's First Day on "GMA" Amazon's Deal With HBO Leapfrogs Streaming Rivals Stephen Colbert Tells David Letterman His Plan for 'Late Show' Georgetown police officer filmed tripping students Viral: It's Not Pitbull - It's Amy Poehler! Recycling Highlights for Earth Day Lupita Nyong'o Named People's 'Most Beautiful' Peeps Launched into Outer Space NYPD's Twitter Request For Photos Backfires New HBO Go Commercials Capture Awkward Family TV Watching Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India Rise of the Milkbots Jenna Dewan-Tatum Strips Down TRENDING: Brian Williams Raps 'Gin and Juice' on ‘Tonight Show’ Middle School heroes rescue students from burning bus WHOPPER OF FISHING STORY: Florida man catches massive Mako shark Maks Chmerkovskiy's "DWTS" Meltdown The many faces of Mike Woodson Ape Builds A Fire And Toasts Marshmallows In Amazing BBC Video Manchester Utd sack manager David Moyes

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