The Duncan Banner

October 9, 2012

School report card release postponed by state board

Derrick Miller
The Duncan Banner

DUNCAN — The A-F Report Card, which will track progress and effectiveness of school districts throughout Oklahoma, was postponed from its original release date Monday.

In August, the Oklahoma State Department of Education announced it would release the A-F school report cards in October. The date set was Monday. But during an Oklahoma State Board of Education special meeting, the board chose to table the release of the report cards until the Oct. 25 regular meeting.

“I think the good news is that we feel like we’re being listened to as educators,” Duncan Superintendent Sherry Labyer said.

The A-F report cards will replace the Academic Performance Index in state school C3 Plan reform program, which has a goal to have every graduating student in 2020 to be college, career and citizen ready. In a column by Janet Barresi, state superintendent of public instruction, Barresi talked about how the report cards would give parents a better idea of how the schools in their area rate.

“Everyone understands an A-F grade,” Barresi wrote. “It is the same system schools use to communicate students grades to parents. The system previously used, the Academic Performance Index, rated schools on a zero to 1,500 scale. Very few parents understood what it meant when their school had, for instance, a score of 1100.”

When the State Department of Education released the grades to the school districts, the districts had 30 days to submit corrections in the data reflected by the school report cards. Several school districts did submit corrections or logged complaints about the grading system.

According to a press release from the department, the department reacted to the request for questions by not setting a firm release date until all corrections could be completed.

Labyer said the new grading system is supposed to provide better communication between schools and parents. She said the grade system is intended to make schools more accountable for progress or lack of progress.

“I’m not opposed to accountability, but we want to be held accountable for information that’s accurate,” Labyer said.

She said a lot of educators and administrators attended Monday’s board meeting to let the Oklahoma State Board of Education know their concerns. Labyer said many school districts have voiced their concerns to one another and have found similar concerns.

By doing this, they’ve been able to join in a unified voice to let the State Department of Education know what concerns exist with the A-F report cards.

“They have a unified voice. It’s a good thing for educators,” Labyer said. “There have been a lot of people who have been very, very upset over their grades. I was not exactly happy with some of ours.

“I feel good about the unity of educators across the state.”