State's school plan gets good grade

Fed­eral com­pli­ance ef­fort by Ok­la­homa re­ceives per­fect score from think tank

Tulsa World - - Our Lives - By Ben Felder bfelder @ok­la­homan.com

Ok­la­homa's new fed­eral-com­pli­ant pub­lic school plan got high marks from the Ford­ham In­sti­tute, which re­viewed all state plans sub­mit­ted un­der the Every Stu­dent Suc­ceeds Act, or ESSA.

Ok­la­homa was one of seven states to re­ceive a per­fect score from the Washington, D.C.-based con­ser­va­tive think tank.

Ford­ham's analysis stated that Ok­la­homa's new school plan uses “rat­ings that clearly and in­tu­itively con­vey to all ob­servers and con­stituen­cies how well a given school is per­form­ing. They sig­nal that all stu­dents mat­ter by en­sur­ing that at least 50 per­cent of schools' an­nual rat­ings are com­posed of mea­sures of growth for all stu­dents and/or mea­sures of achieve­ment that look be­yond pro­fi­ciency rates. And they're fair to all schools — in­clud­ing those with high rates of poverty — by virtue of mak­ing growth mea­sures of any kind con­sti­tute at least half of schools' sum­ma­tive rat­ings.”

Ok­la­homa's plan, Ok­la­homa Edge, out­lines stan­dards for pub­lic schools to meet and spells out how schools are rated in the A-through-F sys­tem.

The plan is wait­ing fi­nal ap­proval from the U.S. De­part­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion un­der the new guide­lines of ESSA, which re­placed No Child Left Be­hind.

State ed­u­ca­tion lead­ers say Ok­la­homa's new plan puts a greater em­pha­sis on stu­dent growth and track­ing the per­for­mance of mi­nor­ity stu­dents in a more tar­geted way.

The plan in­cludes goals of be­com­ing a top 20 state in aca­demic per­for­mance in fourth and eighth grade (Ok­la­homa ranks be­low the na­tional av­er­age); to cut in half the need for math and English lan­guage arts re­me­di­a­tion af­ter high school; rank in the top 10 in grad­u­a­tion rates; and re­duce the need for emer­gency-cer­ti­fied teachers by 95 per­cent.

State Su­per­in­ten­dent Joy Hofmeis­ter said Ford­ham rec­og­nizes Ok­la­homa's en­hanced vi­sion for pub­lic school stu­dents.

“ESSA pro­vided us with a golden op­por­tu­nity to re­turn to the draw­ing board to craft a new, more re­li­able, valid and mean­ing­ful vi­sion for school ac­count­abil­ity in Ok­la­homa,” Hofmeis­ter said. “I am thrilled that the Ford­ham In­sti­tute has rec­og­nized our state plan as one that will lead to higher aca­demic out­comes for all Ok­la­homa schools and stu­dents.”

Hofmeis­ter also said Ford­ham's re­view was a tes­ta­ment to the work of more than 5,000 Ok­la­homans who helped cre­ate the state's ESSA plan over the past few years.

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