Jenks district official reacts to state grades

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Reported by: Ian Silver
Updated: 11/06/2013 6:27 pm Published: 11/06/2013 5:29 pm

District administrators across Oklahoma and Green Country claim the state's A through F grading formula is flawed.

State superintendent Dr. Janet Barresi defended the formula. She said the complaints come from superintendents who are upset some of their schools got low grades.

But we talked to an official with Jenks Public Schools who said they have issues with the formula even though their schools got high grades.

Lisa Muller is the assistant superintendent for Jenks Public Schools and said all of her district's schools got A's and B's from the state.

Still, she hopes the formula will be improved.

"This is not a matter of being dissatisfied with the grades or it being some kind of political motivation. It's simply that we do, indeed, trust the research that says that this is not a reliable or valid way to calculate grades," said Muller.

But Barresi says such complaints are political with a state superintendent race coming up next year.

"That's something I reject. That's for politics. That's for a political race. It is important now; let's just focus on the students," said Barresi.

Baressi claimed the formula is simple and transparent, but Muller said it's a bit more complicated than that.

"The legislation itself is fairly simple. It's the 31 pages of calculation and explanation that the state department has created through the rules process," she said.

Baressi says the formula was created using input from leaders like Muller.

"At the time the law was changed, it was a direct result of the input of superintendents and administrators," she said.

But Muller said other states on the A through F system use a different formula and research from OU and OSU shows our current formula is not effective. That's research Barresi flat out rejects.

"A more robust data system in the state, and one that can provide better, more accurate and reliable information for schools; information that can truly be used to drive improvement," said Barresi.

Baressi pointed out there are no rewards or punishments for schools based on their grades, it's simply to let parents know how their school is doing.

Muller says the system should be more effective at showing schools how they can improve.

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