Oklahoma school district officials should move forward

The Oklahoman Editorial Published: July 8, 2012

Give Sand Springs school Superintendent Lloyd Snow credit for honesty. At a recent State Board of Education meeting, he called for ending graduation tests, saying, “Other states are beginning to turn the clock back.”

It's refreshing when someone admits he wants to move the state backward. Snow might wish for the standards-free good ol' days when the living was easy for administrators, but that won't benefit students. Lax standards have left too many kids unable to qualify even for jobs that don't require a college degree.

As he urges living in the past, Snow doesn't comprehend the present. This was the first year Oklahoma high school seniors had to pass four end-of-instruction exams to get a diploma. The appeals process now under way shows those tests didn't result in widespread hardship.

Out of 522 school districts, just 22 have students pursuing appeals. Of 39,523 seniors, only 120 have appealed, just three-tenths of 1 percent. And even those numbers may be inflated.

Two districts — Tulsa and Broken Arrow — account for 76 percent of appeals. Tulsa has 70 (compared with just six in Oklahoma City). Broken Arrow has 21, but 13 were dismissed because the kids had actually passed their four exams. Whoops! It must be really encouraging for those Broken Arrow students to know their administrators pre-emptively declared them incapable of learning.

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