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Large gap between Oklahoma's education goals and current academic reality

by The Oklahoman Editorial Board Published: August 29, 2013

Hardin says the goal requires setting high expectations and using data to drive spending decisions — no more throwing tax dollars at a “flavor of the week approach.” The district is increasing its focus on teacher quality and expanding student learning opportunities. Hardin said Oklahoma City schools will partner with Teach for America to provide free summer school to nearly 2,000 students.

“We're focusing on implementing initiatives that are measurable, effective and proven with outcomes,” she said. “And the ones that don't do that, we're going to eliminate them.”

Hardin is blunt in her assessment of long-standing education orthodoxies.

“We cannot continue to do what we've been doing and expect a different result,” she said. “This system was set up at the turn of not this past century, but the 1900s, not to educate anyone, but to take children out of the fields and go into an industrial revolution. Why are we cramming them into this same system that does not work?”

Hardin is correct: There should be no sacred cows. The goal of public education isn't to simply maintain schools and employ teachers, but to educate children and prepare them for productive adult life. Fortunately, Oklahoma City and state officials seem to recognize this fact; they appear committed to fostering improvement even in the face of often unreasonable opposition.

ACT scores prove Oklahoma's student performance is slowly but surely headed the right direction. It's up to voters and civic leaders to keep up the momentum. Our long-term prosperity depends upon 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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