Letter to the Editor: Punitive grading
BY Stan Trout, Sand Springs
Sunday, November 04, 2012
11/04/12 at 3:09 AM
To understand the Mary Fallin/Janet Barresi agenda for Oklahoma public schools, one needs only to heed the advice of Deep Throat in the Watergate scandal: "Follow the money." Gov. Fallin's most cherished policy initiative is to drastically cut taxes, even to the point of abolishing the state income tax. Standing in the way of that agenda is the inconvenient reality that quality public education requires a serious investment of state dollars.
In that light, the punitive, statistically indefensible A-F grading system that has been gerry-rigged to cast public schools in the most negative light possible, makes perfect sense. Painting Oklahoma public schools with a broad brush to conjure the illusion of mass failure in order to create a rationale for a system of vouchers and charter schools is unfair and inaccurate. The fact is that the overwhelming majority of Oklahoma schools produce excellent results, as evidenced by the Barresi gang's frustration at their failure to give as many failing grades as possible, no matter how deviously they cook the numbers.
A delicious irony in this drama is that public educators cannot be fooled. After many years of compliance with the testing requirements of No Child Left Behind, every district in the state has data experts who can compute student achievement and growth with far greater accuracy than anyone in the State Department of Education or the governor's office. So it's either back to the drawing board for the detractors, or they can step up to their responsibilities and adequately fund our public schools.
Editor's note: Trout is Principal of Charles Page High School in Sand Springs.
Letters to the editor are encouraged. Send letters to email@example.com.
State Superintendent Janet Barresi (right) listen to speakers during a meeting at the Oklahoma State Department of
Education in Oklahoma City. GARETT FISBECK/for the Tulsa World