BY World's Editorials Writers
Tuesday, December 18, 2012
12/18/12 at 2:54 AM
We wish Sen. Earl Garrison, D-Muskogee, well on a plan to reform the controversial law that requires high school seniors to pass four of seven end-of-instruction exams to receive a diploma.
Garrison wants to replace the 2005 Achieving Classroom Excellence law with a bill that would allow students who achieve a certain score on the ACT to earn a diploma. Students no longer would need to take the end-of-instruction exams. Seniors now are tested in algebra I and II, English II and III, biology I, geometry and U.S. history.
With a D (for Democrat) behind his name, Garrison has a battle ahead to get his proposed bill through the Legislature - unless of course some Republicans acknowledge the flaws in the 2005 law.
The class of 2012 was the first whose graduation depended on passing the battery of tests. Everything did not go smoothly. State education officials' treatment of seven area students who appealed the denial of their high school diplomas under the end-of-instruction testing law was shameful - one of many outrages against students and public education by the state superintendent's office.
Not only were the seven denied special-circumstances exemptions from the law, their private educational records, including their names and school districts, grade point averages, learning disabilities, test scores and other information, were posted on a Department of Education website.
The ACT, used by most colleges for admission, seems like a fairer measure of learning.
Raising graduation requirements and increasing the value of an Oklahoma diploma are worthy goals but the flip side of that is creation of a whole class of kids who become dropouts because they cannot pass the four tests. How exactly is Oklahoma better for having a few thousand new high school dropouts, whose graduation has been foreclosed upon and who qualify only for menial jobs if they fail to pass the four tests?
At a minimum Garrison's idea deserves serious study.