TPS letter to parents calls grading system 'arbitrary and capricious'
BY ANDREA EGER World Staff Writer
Friday, October 26, 2012
10/26/12 at 2:55 PM
Document: Read the letter here.
Tulsa Public Schools is advising its parents to rely on their own knowledge in judging their children's schools and not on new state report cards that the school district considers to be an "arbitrary and capricious grading system."
In a letter going home with students on Friday, Superintendent Keith Ballard wrote that TPS' reform efforts are extensive and were begun long before state leaders' latest calls for change.
"After today, I will no longer talk about the A-F school grading system. It is flawed, and I stand by my earlier comments that these grades are not an accurate representation of the work being done in our schools," Ballard said in the letter. "It was decided by (State Superintendent Janet) Barresi well in advance about how many A's, B's, C's, D's and F's there would be and adjustments were made to the formula to ensure that outcome."
The breakdown of grades for TPS' 80-plus schools is five 5 A's, nine B's, 17 C's, 37 D's, eight F's.
Of the district's D grades, 33 were for elementary school sites. Three Tulsa elementary schools - Eisenhower, Carnegie and Zarrow - got an A.
Among the biggest surprises for Tulsa school patrons was the C for Eliot Elementary, a school with a longstanding reputation for academic achievement.
Two high schools, Booker T. Washington and TPS-sponsored charter school Tulsa School of Arts and Sciences, each received an A.
The schools that received F's are Greeley and Mark Twain elementary schools; TRAICE and Tulsa MET middle schools; Central, Hale and McLain junior highs; and Tulsa MET/Lombard High School.
Ballard said that if the A-F system had been based on a fair formula, some of those F's likely would have be D's.
Keith Ballard, Tulsa Public Schools superintendent, speaks during a press confereence at the ESC in Tulsa earlier this month. MICHAEL WYKE/Tulsa World File