Congratulations to Oklahoma for adopting A-F school grading, a policy built on the core belief that all students can learn. This grading scale gives parents, teachers and community leaders clear and objective descriptions of how well students in a school are doing academically. The new school grades also reward improvement. The formula counts the proficiency and progress of all students, including the school's 25 percent lowest-performing students. Oklahoma's school grades will recognize and reward the improvement of all schools and highlight the achievement of their most vulnerable students.
Since Florida first developed A-F school grading over a decade ago, students and schools in the Sunshine State have thrived under this system of accountability and high expectations. In fact, last year nearly 800 high-minority or high-poverty schools in the state earned an A or B.
A-F school grading will serve as a crucial lever for improving academic achievement among Oklahoma's students, just as it did in Florida. Oklahoma's policy establishes clear and achievable goals for schools and communities to organize around the ultimate goal — student learning. Using Florida as a case study, community members will rally to the aid of their public schools when confronted with the fact that their schools are failing to meet students' needs. Because in the end, preparing students for a successful future is something we can all support.
Phil Handy, Tallahassee, Fla.