Education in Oklahoma is improving, but lawmakers need to continue making changes, according to a national nonprofit group headed by one of the country's top education reformers.
StudentsFirst released education policy report cards for each state Monday. The group's CEO and founder is Michelle Rhee, the former chancellor of schools in Washington, D.C. The group advocates such causes as school choice and ending teacher tenure.
Oklahoma ranked No. 13 nationally. Louisiana was No. 1, and North Dakota finished last.
Here is what the report card had to say about education policy in Oklahoma.
Praise from StudentsFirst
Oklahoma teacher evaluations are good and getting better. Evaluations are tied to student learning.
Teachers can be fired for being ineffective.
The state Board of Education can take control of low-performing schools.
The new A-F school evaluation system helps inform parents about the state of individual schools.
Districts can implement performance pay beginning next year.
Criticism from StudentsFirst
Teacher salaries are tied to tenure and education.
Teachers don't have flexibility with benefits and could lose retirement contributions if they leave the profession too soon.
Alternative certification focuses on undergraduate degree studies, not certification exam results.
Voucher programs are unavailable.
Charter schools receive inequitable funding.
Recommendations by StudentsFirst
Eliminate class size regulations after the third grade.
State workers should track spending and student achievement to make sure money is spent effectively.
Lawmakers should allow parents to overtake low-performing schools.
Automatic pay raises for teachers who earn master's degrees.
Loosen laws limiting charter school growth.