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Douglass High School mess reflects a systemwide failure

by The Oklahoman Editorial Board Published: December 4, 2012

Again, it's impossible to draw fully informed conclusions when so much about the investigation and what happened at Douglass isn't public. But the principal isn't solely responsible for making sure students are on a graduation track. That's a years-long effort involving counselors, teachers, administrators, students and parents. Developing that track is a core function of a high school that affects everything from course offerings to scheduling to staffing decisions.

The district also hasn't provided specifics about where the biggest academic gaps are for students. But the breakdown of such a vital function suggests a big problem and that accountability for the egregious lack of oversight and verification should perhaps extend beyond a single individual. If that's happened, let's hear about it!

Parents have a substantial role in checking their child's progress. But parents also should have confidence that an effective system exists to ensure most students are on the right academic track. Springer should feel responsible, as should many under his oversight. So should Springer's bosses — Monson and her fellow board members.

None of their responsibilities is more basic than their duty to provide a quality education for all students. On the best day in Oklahoma City, it's a tough task. That the job is difficult doesn't make the reality of what Douglass students are facing any more acceptable.

Students depend heavily on adults to make sure they're taking the right courses and the right tests on the right timeline. When 80 percent of a school's senior class isn't on track to graduate, just a semester away from what should be their big day, how is that not a failure on the part of the system and all those in charge of it?

by The Oklahoman Editorial Board
The Oklahoman Editorial Board consists of Gary Pierson, President and CEO of The Oklahoma Publishing Company; Christopher P. Reen, president and publisher of The Oklahoman; Kelly Dyer Fry, editor and vice president of news; Christy Gaylord...
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