Under the system approved by the state Board of Education, 138 schools were given a D. The superintendents' plan would have cut the figure to just 83.
Oklahoma City's F.D. Moon Elementary was among those likely to jump from a D to a C under the superintendents' plan. In 2011, more than 60 percent of fourth-grade students at that school were not proficient in reading compared with just 32 percent statewide. In sixth-grade math, 60 percent of Moon students weren't proficient. In social studies, 67 percent of fifth-graders were not proficient.
The superintendents' alternative plan would have declared a school to be average (as a C grade is typically understood) even when a majority of children aren't proficient in numerous core subjects. To make the school grading scale so lax would have been a disservice to all Oklahoma students and their concerned parents.
Rather than encourage unwarranted complacency about student and school performance, it's important that the A-F system encourage improvement.
In Florida in 1999, more schools got a D or an F than an A or a B. By 2010, 74 percent earned an A or B — even though the bar for achieving higher grades had been raised four times.
The same thing can happen in Oklahoma. Awareness among parents of school grades and the resulting pressure on local officials is a significant development in this state.