Teacher quality is an issue Oklahoma City school board should delve into

The Oklahoman Editorial Published: April 10, 2013

The school board can't have it both ways. It's arrogant to charge the community advisory boards with fulfilling their mission and then criticize them for developing and trying to execute a plan with the best interests of the students in mind. Worth noting: The proposal came to the board with a recommendation for approval from district staff.

One point of contention is language that would allow Carlson more freedom in hiring decisions. The proposal calls for her to keep about 90 percent of the school's existing staff, which means some teachers may not be rehired. Some board members were worried that subpar teachers would be forced on other schools.

Until those hiring decisions are made, the outcome is difficult to predict. What if some John Marshall teachers don't have the right certifications for the school to move forward with its finance academy focus? What if some teachers truly aren't up to the task and Carlson has her eye on more effective teachers? Moving subpar teachers happens all the time in Oklahoma City and other school districts. It's a prime indicator of a broken system. This isn't fair to the kids or the teachers who must pick up the slack.

This isn't a new issue for the school district. It rears its head time and again, whether the focus is on charter schools or schools getting federal school improvement funds. The issue of teacher quality is much bigger than John Marshall and its enterprise school proposal. The school board would do well to delve deeply into this issue sooner rather than later, and let the school and community leadership group get on with the business of fulfilling their vision for a better John Marshall.

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