From our Governor (you can read her OP-ED here)
The Governor issued an OP-ED saying that Oklahoma’s A-F grading system is a “system that accurately measures success and failure”. She goes on to say A-F gives “parents an accurate, easily understood method of measuring the quality of education their children are receiving.” Furthermore, she states that “superintendents and teachers of schools receiving a D or an F must remember: a bad grade is not a punishment; it is a call to action.”
Our State Secretary of Education said this (you can read his response here):
“Reporting school performance in a transparent and understandable way is a valuable tool for educational improvement”
He continued his defense of A-F by proclaiming that grades are a great way for parents to compare schools.
And from our State Superintendent of Public Instruction (in her letter to Guthrie Parents)
She starts off with this: “it is intended to be a clear and accurate report to you and other stakeholders regarding the progress of your child’s school and its current academic status … therefore, parents and stakeholders must have an accurate report about each school’s performance. The A-F Grade Card is part of an overall information packet that provides you with a comprehensive picture of each school’s effectiveness.”
So it appears that every member of the defense committee has the same theme: accurate measure, easily understood, school performance, comprehensive picture.
Now let’s read what the State Department of Education’s website says about A-F (it is listed under “intro to Oklahoma’s A-F School Grading System”
You really should read the entire introduction; it is full of comical contradictions to the big 3!
It starts with: “As this is still a relatively new system, however, we must ensure that A-F system is both understandable and interpreted appropriately” What!? I thought this was supposed to be easily understood as indicated by our Governor and Secretary of Education. I thought it was clear and accurate as indicated by the Secretary and State Superintendent. Then why is it necessary to have a 30 page technical document to explain it? Why the need for the State Department of Education to place a “What is and what isn’t” intended to be measured by the A-F report card?
What is next is what I like to call the death blow to any credible defense of A-F by the big 3!
“The A-F Report Card is not:
· A measure of the “school” or “teacher” effect on student learning
· A statement about a school’s overall quality of services provided
In other words, much like a student report card, the A-F grade tells us how students at a particular school are doing…”
Right there in black and white print on the SDE’s own webpage with the State Superintendent’s smiling picture!
“It is not a measure of the performance of a school or the effects of teacher effort!”
It is a measure of the students in a school
So, if it is NOT a measure of the school or the teachers of that school, then why do the Governor, State Secretary, and State Superintendent continue to tell the public it is a measure of a school performance? Why do they continue to insist on providing a public grade for the quality of students at a school? After all, that is exactly what the SDE claims the intent of the report card does! And I haven’t even mentioned according to Teacher, Leader Effectiveness legislation 50% of a teacher’s and principal’s evaluation will be based off a report card NOT intended to measure the teacher effect on student learning!
But hey, if you don’t like me saying the A-F system doesn’t make sense, then let me leave you with the State Superintendent’s own words (in a letter to the Guthrie parents). “I agree that this does not make sense. It does not reflect the direct instructional impact of teachers on your child’s performance”. I couldn’t have said it any better!