Oklahoma legislators stand behind A-F law; other states have faced challenges

Oklahoma is among 10 states that have recently adopted a letter grade evaluation system for schools, a model born and raised in Florida and promoted across the nation by former Gov. Jeb Bush. New York City also adopted the model for public schools in the mid-2000s.
BY MEGAN ROLLAND mrolland@opubco.com Modified: October 8, 2012 at 9:25 pm •  Published: October 8, 2012
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“All of us had input into what the rules would look like,” Jolley said. “I don't think this is a closed process.”

What others have done

Oklahoma is among 10 states that have recently adopted a letter grade evaluation system for schools, a model born and raised in Florida and promoted across the nation by former Gov. Jeb Bush.

New York City also adopted the model for public schools in the mid-2000s.

“There has been controversy surrounding each one of them as they've gone into adoption and releasing the letter grades,” said Jaryn Emhof, communications director for the Foundation for Excellence in Education, a nonprofit that promotes many of Bush's education reforms.

But Emhof said that push back is proof to the power of labeling schools with letter grades rather than nondescript terms or raw number scores.

“We have not seen that level of discussion and debate around a school report card,” Emhof said. “When you give a school a 1-5 or satisfactory, unsatisfactory, it doesn't for whatever reason generate that public dialogue and reaction.”

Sen. John Ford, R-Bartlesville, chair of the Senate Education Committee, said that is the beauty of the law — that everybody understands an A, and everybody understands an F.

“The A-F is a huge change in how we do things, and part of it is we're asking for data that is not readily available today,” Ford said, referring to some of the growth models. “This should be significantly easier next year.”

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