Lawmakers react to the Oklahoma State Board of Education’s vote to demote TPS’s accreditation

TULSA, Okla. — Lawmakers and Tulsa Classroom Teachers’ Association are reacting to the State Board of Education’s vote to demote Tulsa Public Schools’ accreditation. This comes after the board found TPS in violation of House Bill 1775, the Critical Race Theory law.

The Oklahoma State Board of Education voted in a 4-2 vote on a more harsh penalty than originally recommended for the district. The board ultimately decided to demote the district’s accreditation to the more severe “accreditation with warning,” instead of “accreditation with deficiency.”

Accredited with warming means, according to the board, “the site (or school) fails to meet one or more of the standards. Seriously detracts from the quality of the school’s education program.”

Board Member Brian Bobek said his opinion is if teachers go through the training they’ll develop biased ways of thinking.

Board Member Estela Hernandez wanted an even harsher demotion for TPS. She wanted to see the district be demoted to “accredited with probation.”

Oklahoma State Rep. Regina Goodwin was at the meeting and said there’s no evidence that HB 1775 was violated. She adds, no evidence was presented.

President of the Tulsa Classroom Teachers’ Association, Shawna Mott-Wright, is a teacher and TPS parent. She said people are playing politics with education. She said there’s lack of evidence CRT was in the training.

“Several teachers have been through that training, including some of our members who have some of the same beliefs as the teacher who made the complaint and they said that was not taught so its obviously a witch hunt,” she said.

Mott-Wright said there’s bigger issues to address, like the teacher shortage. She adds, hiring and retaining teachers is already a struggle and this will add to the problem.

She said it’s unclear when or what the impacts will be to the district as of now.