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Oklahoma City School Board discussed grade-change policy out of turn, superintendent says

The Oklahoma City superintendent acknowledged a violation of the state open meetings law during a school board meeting Monday night. The school board discussed a controversial grade-changing policy at the end of a meeting after pulling it from the agenda.
BY CARRIE COPPERNOLL ccoppernoll@opubco.com Modified: April 3, 2013 at 8:45 pm •  Published: April 4, 2013

The superintendent of Oklahoma City Public Schools said he and the school board violated state law when they discussed a grade-changing policy at a board meeting Monday night.

The board discussed the policy at the end of the meeting after the issue had been pulled off the agenda.

“It was an indirect violation of the Open Meeting Act,” Superintendent Karl Springer said. “I've never done that before, and I can never let it happen again.”

At issue is an informal policy in Oklahoma City Public Schools that allowed teachers and administrators to change a student's grade in certain classes.

If a student failed a class, his grade could be changed from an F to a D if he passed a corresponding end-of-instruction exam. Oklahoma high school students must pass at least four of seven EOI exams to receive a diploma.

In some cases, the teachers didn't know grades had been changed.

Springer said the practice has been banned this year while a formal policy is created.

A presentation outlining the proposed grading policy was pulled from the agenda. Media outlets were notified Monday afternoon that the issue would be skipped.

Closing comments

The discussion came up during the board comments period of the meeting, which happens after executive session. Most people attending the meeting had left, including the district's attorney.

“I didn't shut it down, and I should have,” Springer said.

District 1 Board Member Bob Hammack brought up the issue. He said he opposed the policy.

“I think that's a terrible idea that we're going to encourage kids to not turn in homework because at the end of the year it will be whatever they do on the test,” he said. “I know it was shelved tonight, but I think it's something that would be a black eye if we ever made public what we intend to do.”

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