Oklahoma Education Department OKs districts to release A-F grades

Oklahoma school officials have been given the green light to release school grades under the new A-F reform system, even though the state Board of Education voted Monday not to release the information.
BY CARRIE COPPERNOLL ccoppernoll@opubco.com Published: October 9, 2012

The goal is to open lines of communication between schools and the public, district spokesman Steve Lindley said.

“We wanted parents to understand more about the system,” he said. “It's something new in place. It's different than they've seen. We wanted to begin introducing them to the topic and begin to inform them about the topic.”

The district also planned community meetings Monday night at nearly every school for anyone who wanted more information about the new grading system or specific school grades. The meetings have been postponed, Lindley said.

Board member Bill Price said he understands that some districts want to move ahead and release the grades but others may want to see if their grades change. Either way, local leaders can decide whether to release the data.

“I don't see anything horribly objectionable to it,” Price said. Moore Superintendent Susan Pierce said she doesn't plan to release test scores until they are approved by the state Board of Education.

“I think it's just a matter of opinion, but we are of the opinion that we were told that the grades would not be for public view until after the state board approved those grades,” Pierce said.

Pierce said she's pleased with the preliminary grades her schools have received, but she still wants to wait.

“We want the most accurate information used and the most accurate formulas used in interpreting our grades,” Pierce said. “ ... We just want to make sure that we are sending out the very best information that's available to us. We're proud of our schools and we want to be proud of our grades.”

The same is true for several other metro school districts.

Oklahoma City. “The Oklahoma City Public School District respects the Oklahoma state Department of Education and its decisions,” Superintendent Karl Springer said in a statement. “We will release the information when directed by the OKSDE.”

Edmond. “We believe that it would be premature to release the A-F grades,” district spokeswoman Susan Parks Schlepp said. “The current grades are not certified and are perhaps subject to change.”

Norman. “As these are preliminary grade calculations that are uncertified by the state Board of Education, we do not think it is appropriate to share them until we have had the opportunity to get a legal opinion,” district spokeswoman Shelly Hickman said.

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