March 28, 2013 – Oklahoma PTA Statistics Say A-F Report Card System Is Not Working For Its Primary Purpose
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Anna King, President
2801 N. Lincoln Blvd. Suite 214
Oklahoma City, OK 73105
Oklahoma PTA Statistics Say A-F Report Card System Is Not Working For Its Primary Purpose
Oklahoma City, OK – March 28, 2013 – Simply put, the evaluation system is flawed both in concept and in practice. The report card system intentionally focuses all the accountability on schools without taking into account state or district financial cutbacks, and completely ignores socio-economic changes within our state and individual districts. It inaccurately reflects the actual performance of the schools and education of the students within and how they are learning.
The idea of the A-F system is honorable; however, the application is lackluster at best. Furthermore, the reception among parents, according to an ongoing survey Oklahoma PTA is conducting, shows that the advertised purpose of the system, which is school and district transparency and public understanding, is not actually taking place. For example, over half of respondents to the survey don’t agree with the grade their school and/or district received and two-thirds of respondents say the system doesn’t impact their view of the school and/or district.
Parents are encouraged, directly or indirectly, to transfer their students out of failing schools with the idea that they will do better and that “bad” schools will finally be forced to improve; but in practice this could create a two-tiered educational system where some schools become warehouses for the disadvantaged, while parents with the initiative and/or means will switch to private schools or charter schools, many of which operate for profit.
In short, the stated goal of the A-F system not only isn’t being met, but is actively contributing to the failure of its stated goal through its misrepresentations to parents of how their school is performing.
“Investment doesn’t have to always be money; teacher and administrative support, a greater implementation of parent involvement, and resources and support for socio-economic deficiencies can all be initiated without any funds at all – a little encouragement can go a long way,” says Anna King, President of Oklahoma PTA. “For example, schools and districts that partner with local and state PTAs for parent inclusion campaigns, community outreach programs, and advocacy programs tend to have higher student performance.”
We believe the system is flawed as to be incapable of being “fair” by any helpful standard. For example, not all students are counted equally – or at all in some cases. “We’ve had many parents express concern because their children are not counted in the formula used to determine parts of the grade,” King says.
We would like to see all students counted, and the system redesigned to accurately reflect what is going on in the schools. We would like to see some major changes to the formula that reflect a balanced performance measurement plan of all students and includes assessment throughout the year as opposed to basing it on high-stakes testing.