HARDLY a day goes by lately without some news coverage of changes coming to public education. At the Capitol, at the state Department of Education and in local schools, conversations are happening about reforms that either are under way or soon will be.
On Monday, seven Oklahoma schools will find out for sure if the state Education Department will intervene in an attempt to improve poor student achievement. The superintendent over one of those schools — Santa Fe South Middle School, an Oklahoma City charter school — has objected to the school's placement on the list.
Schools also are sorting through new rules on the A-F grading system. The Legislature approved the new system last year, and late last month the state Board of Education approved rules to implement the system.
And by April 16, school districts have to settle on which evaluation systems they will use for teachers and administrators.
These changes are happening amid conversations at the Capitol about deregulation, budget and potential changes to high school graduation requirements. And don't forget, it's testing season for students.
Many of the changes hitting schools are unsettling for educators but hold a great deal of promise for teachers and students. Chief among those is the new evaluation system.
We've all heard that a teacher is the most important in-school factor impacting student achievement. Reforms should reflect that.
The decision schools face on selecting a teacher and administrator evaluation system is a big one. There are political undertones, to be sure. The state's Teacher Leader Effectiveness (TLE) Commission seemed headed toward picking one model for statewide implementation but eventually decided to let districts choose among three models, including one developed by Tulsa Public Schools with help from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.