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Originally posted October 10, 2012
Webmaster's Note: These are Superintendent Dr. Cathy Burden's remarks at the October 8 Tulsa news conference area superintendents conducted after the State Board's decision to postpone release of the A-F grades for schools.
There are many issues that impact the integrity of a simple A-F grading scale but today we agreed to focus on the most egregious one - the calculation of average. The State Department personnel had made an arbitrary decision, not grounded in rules or law, that overstated the state's average score thereby lowering school grades. This was recognized by educators across the state as giving an inaccurate measure of a school's performance.
The State Board members were wise to listen to the concerns of more than 300 districts and parents who came out in force to voice their distrust in the new system.
I want to compliment the State Board members who today voted unanimously to do the right thing. They charged the State Department to recalculate the grades based on a true average so they could determine the impact. This action is a very positive step. It validates the concerns expressed by school personnel and parents and will hopefully set a new standard for the State Department to involve educators in the early stages of future reform efforts.