Tulsa school officials offer excuses for poor student performance, blame new grading system

November 9, 2012

Victor Skinner Victor Skinner

Victor is a communications specialist for EAG and joined in 2009. Previously, he was a newspaper journalist.
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By Victor Skinner
EAGnews.org

TULSA, Okla. – School officials in Tulsa, Oklahoma are playing the blame game after a new statewide grading system revealed that dozens of the district’s schools are underperforming.

A Tulsa Beacon editorial points out that the district “went from a complex, multi-point system that no one understood to a A-B-C-D-F system that anyone could comprehend.” As a result, eight schools in the district were graded an F, with 37 others getting a D.

But instead of accepting the failures and the challenge to improve, Tulsa Public Schools are blaming State Superintendent Janet Barresi for the new grading system. Tulsa superintendent Keith Ballard says the results are skewed.

Meanwhile, the education establishment and media want the public to believe school funding (or the perceived lack of it) is the issue.

The Beacon editorial sets readers straight:

“Such a response is just an attempt to escape responsibility and guarantees that substantial steps won’t be taken toward improvements. Using a grading system Ballard wants, some of the Fs would become Ds. That’s just an excuse.

“The liberal media, including the liberal Tulsa World, blame the Oklahoma Legislature for ‘cutting education’ funds. They argue that the solution is to throw money at the problem by raising taxes and expanding gambling operations. The Oklahoma Education Association wants more money and more security for all teachers – even those who have students who test poorly.”

The Beacon wisely opines that the problem isn’t the amount of funding schools receive, but rather how they spend the tax dollars. The fact is that too much school funding goes to administration and unnecessary labor costs negotiated by the Oklahoma Education Association, the state’s teachers union.

The conclusion is simple.

“Tulsa parents should be furious over this report,” the Beacon opined. “A liberal philosophy has produced a district with an overpriced budget and poor academics. When the Legislature meets in February, it should target this problem and pass the much-needed reforms to make sure that money spend on public education is spent wisely.”

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