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Oklahoma schools chief tries to quell fears of state takeover

Part of Oklahoma's waiver from the No Child Left Behind Act outlines a process for the state to hire a private company to run poor performing schools.
BY MEGAN ROLLAND mrolland@opubco.com Modified: February 9, 2012 at 9:02 pm •  Published: February 9, 2012
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State schools Superintendent Janet Barresi acknowledged and then squashed rumors that Oklahoma's waiver from the No Child Left Behind Act would mean immediate takeover of some underperforming schools.

“I think the term ‘taking over the school' is a rough term. We're looking at it as a very particular type of partnership with that district,” Barresi said. “We are assuming responsibility in a partnership with a district to look at multiple options to help those students perform.”

The state's waiver application outlines a process for the state to hire a private company to manage failing schools that don't show a capacity for improvement.

Already 77 schools identified as the lowest performers have been asked to submit “capacity reviews” that will defend the school district's work to improve the school. The applications are due by Feb. 15.

“It's very important to get an overall view of how each school is performing,” Barresi said. “We thought it was critical that we not just look at raw data having to do with test scores. We didn't think that was fair.”

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