The Duncan Banner


November 7, 2013

Waurika reacts to state standards

WAURIKA — In 2010, Florida Gov. Jeb Bush spoke to educators in Oklahoma touting the A-F Report Card system as the premier tool for holding school districts and instructors accountable for student academic performance.

Bush said Oklahoma needed education reform and the A-F Report Card was the best model for student improvement, determining which students need remediation and giving parents a way to judge if their children are receiving quality education.

One of Bush’s key supporters was Janet Barresi, who was one year away from being elected Oklahoma’s State Superintendent of Public Instruction. After being elected in 2011, Barresi announced the A-F Report Card would be the standard for accountability in the state’s public school system.

Now, roll the film to July 2013 and a vote by the Florida State Board of Education that continued a process of removing the A-F Report Card as that state’s standard. That vote continues Florida’s transition away from the A-F model to an accountability system known as Common Core State Standards.

Back in Oklahoma, however, public schools are into another year of using the A-F Report Card that was pushed by Barresi — and the outcry from educators is reaching a flash point. The temperature rose to a new level in late October, when the state department delayed the release of the final results for the 2012-13 school year until they were released on Wednesday,

As the new results are becoming public knowledge, educators around the state continue criticizing the system; some suggest the 2012-13 results be tossed out, others favor simply ignoring the results. And the reaction to Barresi’s handling of the accountability issue has prompted Broken Arrow Superintendent Jarod Mendenhall to call on school administrators statewide to move on a vote of “no confidence” in Barresi, who is running for reelection.

Waurika Superintendent Roxie Terry is among the educators questioning the A-F system, wondering why the Oklahoma state department hung its hat on an accountability model that was already in question before it was adopted.

“A majority of states who started using the A-F Report Card have moved away from it,” Terry noted. “Jeb Bush came (to Oklahoma) a couple of years ago and convinced people that Florida’s system was wonderful, and now Florida has changed almost everything.

“In Oklahoma, we’re following a plan that’s proven not to work, and it’s thoroughly frustrating for educators.”

Noting the state’s results were to have been released in late October and have since been delayed until some time this month, Terry explained some of the glitches that occurred in the process, which requires students to take achievement tests over the course of one day.

“The results were released to the schools for review and to note mistakes or corrections,” he said. “But the scores completely changed from one letter grade to another. In six days of the review, the final test scores changed six times.

“(Educators and administrators) said they were finding mistakes and errors in what had already been reviewed. There are still many mistakes that are not found yet and won’t be until the scores are officially released.”

In a letter to administrators dated Oct. 28, the Cooperative Council for Oklahoma School Administration (CCOSA) revealed that research departments at two Oklahoma universities “identified three areas of significant concern with the state’s new accountability system for public schools.”

CCOSA and the United Suburban School Association (USSA) issued a press release saying, “We have no confidence in the state’s broken school accountability system. Therefore, we will not seek a delay in release of any grade reports.”

The release continued, “Two reports and one technical addendum from researchers with the education policy centers at our state’s two research universities confirm that confidence in the school report cards would be misplaced.”

Terry said the upcoming release of the 2012-13 scores “is basically a worthless piece of paper.”

The preliminary review, he asserted, “Shows how unreliable and inaccurate the results are. When two major universities say it’s inaccurate, why are we using those results?”

While some superintendents have been sending letters to parents explaining the problems with the A-F Grade Card system, Terry said, “I’m not going to do that. I think our people (in Waurika) are intelligent enough to know by watching TV news and newspaper reports in which so many people are saying the system is inaccurate.”

For his part, Terry will support dropping the A-F Report Card for another system that gives a more accurate view of student progress and district accountability.

“I wish we had something that we, as educators, can use,” he said. “The state department wanted to make it easy for the public to understand (performance of educators), but the purpose of testing is to give educators a method to improve our curriculum with test scores.

“The A-F system puts more emphasis on finding a letter grade for the school than on how a certain student is doing.”

— Jeff Kaley is managing editor of the Waurika News-Democrat

Text Only
  • School closings

    Duncan, Comanche, Marlow, Central High, Bray-Doyle, Empire and Velma-Alma schools are closed for Monday March 3.

    March 2, 2014

  • Empire FFA Empire FFA champions

    The Waurika P.I. recently held its annual FFA Opening Ceremonies contest at the First Baptist Church in Marlow. Chapters from Stephens and Jefferson County competed for first place and an opportunity to attend the state contest in Stillwater.
    Seventeen teams competed with four coming back for the finals. The Empire FFA ninth grade team came out on top. Team members were Cale Schreiner, Anna Mitchell, Luke Davis, Alexia Newman, Ryley Dumas and Blake Cheatwood.

    November 24, 2013 1 Photo

  • Ryan KerrDFFA Greenhand quiz finalists

    Ryley Dumas of the Empire FFA chapter and Ryan Kerr of the Duncan FFA chapter were two of 50 high school freshmen FFA members from across Oklahoma to qualify for the state finals of the Greenhand Quiz Career Development event held Oct. 21 on the campus of Oklahoma State University in Stillwater.

    November 24, 2013 2 Photos

  • Central High FFA national Central High FFA attends National Convention

    Central High FFA attends National FFA Convention
    A group of 11 students and five adults from Central High left the Tuesday afternoon, Oct. 30 on their journey to the National FFA Convention in Louisville, Ken.

    November 24, 2013 2 Photos

  • Smoke Rings Duncan High yearbook team proves they’re ‘smoking hot’

    Deadlines, staff meetings and presentations are only a few of the reasons the Duncan High School Smoke Rings yearbook staff were awarded with Sweepstakes for the second consecutive year.
    This year’s yearbook “Smoke Rings” and newspaper “Demon Pitchfork” staff attended Fall Media Monday, hosted by Oklahoma Scholastic Media, on Nov. 4 at the University of Oklahoma. Staff members had their choice of various sessions to attend throughout the first part of the day, then awards were announced for the 2012-13 yearbooks.

    November 10, 2013 1 Photo

  • Schools receive A-F report cards

    Most school districts may not be happy about the results of the A-F grading system released Wednesday.
    The Duncan School District received a D+, a grade it shares with the Comanche, Empire and Velma-Alma school districts. Those grades make up half of the school districts in Stephens County.
    Other county results included Grandview with a C, Bray-Doyle with a C+, Marlow with a B- and Central High with an A. Central High was the only school district to receive an A last year.

    November 7, 2013

  • Waurika reacts to state standards

    November 7, 2013

  • Teacher of the Year Candidates Teacher of the Year candidates

    Nine Duncan teachers were recognized for their outstanding contributions to the Duncan School District. And in two weeks one will be selected as Teacher of the Year.
    These nine teachers are this year’s teacher of the year nominees. They include Christy Jarboe, Emerson Elementary; Kyle McPherson, Plato Elementary; Cindy Millirons, Woodrow Wilson Elementary; Michelle Spurgin, Mark Twain Elementary; Amy Benton, Horace Mann Elementary; Tammy Bennett, Duncan Middle School; and Denise Clark and Lisa Snider, Duncan High School.

    November 5, 2013 1 Photo

  • DHS Band at OBA DHS Band places eighth in OBA contest

    Duncan High School Band’s marching season is drawing to a close. And for its final contest, the band placed eighth overall, while giving what Band Director Jeramy Haas referred to as its best performance.
    The band competed in the Oklahoma Band Association (OBA) contest Oct. 26 in Mustang. The contest featured 4A and 5A high school bands from around the state. And the DHS Band was one of the competing bands to make it to finals.

    November 3, 2013 1 Photo

  • 10-27 RRTC Otha Grimes.jpg Otha Grimes Scholarship benefits 10 nursing students

    Ten Red River Technology Center Practical Nursing students were recently awarded the fall Otha Grimes Scholarship by the Oklahoma CareerTech Foundation.

    October 28, 2013 1 Photo