State's school plan gets good grade
Federal compliance effort by Oklahoma receives perfect score from think tank
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.