The Duncan Banner

Opinion

November 10, 2013

Accountability present in Duncan schools but not in current state evaluation model

DUNCAN — Accountability in Duncan Schools has always been a priority and transparency is one of the cornerstones for doing business in our district. In May of 2011, the Oklahoma Legislature passed H. B. 1456 to grade school performance on an A through F scale. At the time the law was passed, we did not completely understand the details of the grading system but fully intended to follow the law and embrace the evaluation model to improve student achievement. H.B. 1456 was intended to provide a system that would be useful to parents, educators, and students. It was to be a fair and equitable model that fairly assesses students through high stakes testing in grades 3 through 12. Unfortunately, the A-F grading system has failed to meet the intentions of the legislators responsible for the passage of HB 1456.

A testing debacle occurred in the spring of 2013 that negatively impacted our students testing experience. The testing company servers crashed, and students were “kicked off” the testing sites. The crash forced some students to completely start over while others were interrupted as long as three hours.

Because A-F grades are based on spring testing, educators and other professionals became frustrated and concerned about the affect this would have on overall school performance. Researchers from Oklahoma University and Oklahoma State University issued the following statement, “This year has borne witness to numerous testing protocol failures that corrupted the limited data used to calculate a grade for schools.” They further stated, “The data we have analyzed demonstrates quite dramatically that the letter grade system for school evaluation has very little meaning and certainly cannot be used to legitimately inform high-stakes decisions.”

On October 16th, Duncan Schools’ letter grades were issued. Since that time, our letter grades at each site have changed nine times. Some additional challenges we experienced include: cut scores in science and writing were changed after our students took the test, some students writing assessments have been re-graded, incorrect demographic information has been discovered, several reporting deadlines have been altered, and multiple testing messages from the Oklahoma State Department of Education have changed. In addition, OSDE informed districts they may send disputed writing tests back to the testing company to be graded a second time at a possible cost of $125/test.

Until research proves otherwise, I, as superintendent of Duncan Schools, will stand with OU/OSU researchers, professional organizations such as the Cooperative Council of School Administrators, and highly respected educators in our state and agree that the present accountability system is invalid, unreliable, and not relevant in assessing our students.

Sherry Labyer,

Duncan Superintendent

580-255-0686,

sherry.labyer@duncanps.org

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • Governor, state Legislature have misplaced priorities

    If the Oklahoma State Legislators and our Governor spent less time interfering in women’s rights to manage their bodies, creating ways to lay more taxes and fees on the middle class in order to generate more tax breaks which benefit only the wealthy while also conceiving methods with which to fill Oklahoma’s for-profit prisons, they would be doing all of us a favor. Instead, why not work to enhance funding for our schools and wage increases for all school employees? While reforming the state’s educational budget, why don’t they approve wage increases for our Oklahoma State Troopers and enlarge their Academy to insure qualified individuals are ready to fill the upcoming vacancies as many of the older force retire?

    April 9, 2014

  • Self government key to keeping politicians in check

    Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that federal campaign laws that limit the total amount of money donors can give to political parties, committees and candidates for federal office (U.S. House, Senate, and President) was unconstitutional. The ruling will not increase the current $2,600 limit on how much a donor can give to a federal candidate in each primary and general election or the $32,400 limit that can go to a national party committee. Those limits are still in place.  The ruling will instead remove the limit on how many candidates/committees to which a donor can contribute.

    April 9, 2014

  • Legislative goals crucial to priorities in education

    I am a member of several professional organizations where I attend regular meetings, network with colleagues, and stay abreast and informed on education best practices.  The Cooperative Council for Oklahoma School Administration, better known as CCOSA, is a nonprofit organization that establishes close and continuous communication and cooperation between educators, taxpayers, and legislators to improve the effectiveness of professional school administrators and to communicate the needs of schools. Attendance this time of year is especially critical because legislators are in session.

    March 28, 2014

  • An impressive ranking that could be better

    That Duncan was named one of the best 15 communities in Oklahoma by Movoto, a national Real Estate company, is news worth celebrating.
    Of 43 places with population of 10,000 or more, as determined by the U.S. Census data, Duncan finished 15th. Norman was first, Edmond second, Yukon and Moore tied for third and Bethany was fifth.

    March 9, 2014

  • Kids shouldn’t have to pay for having punster parents

    Friends and neighbors, I’ve been cloistered in my Thought Chamber for the past few days, contemplating many high-brow philosophies and haughty hypothesis that we who think on a different level use to exercise our finely-tuned minds and remain intellectually superior to the Great Unwashed.
    As you see, the time alone has been intellectually beneficial. I just composed an opening sentence (what we in the journalism dodge call a “lead”) that’s 46 words long.

    March 9, 2014

  • The blissful serenity of No-TV Land

    Life without TV is possible. Maybe you should try it. I did. It’s a do-able thing, I tell you. I’m still here, no worse the wear, no oozing wounds, no serious loss of brainwave activity except for the slow, inexorable downhill decline that already started when TV viewing was a daily occurrence.

    Granted, two months without the tube is quite likely not a scientifically acceptable sample from which is to hold forth. But it’s the best I can do, so deal with it.

    March 9, 2014

  • Cooper’s message is to remain active

    Dr. Kenneth Cooper, the Dallas physician who coined the phrase “aerobics” more than four decades ago, who has become a world leader in physical fitness and who has saved, literally, thousands of lives by promoting the value of an active lifestyle, shared his philosophy of life here last week.

    March 9, 2014

  • Time to take the “B” out of the “Three R’s”

    Our young folks are hitting the stretch drive toward the end of another school year, during which they’ve been taught “Three R’s”, which are not really “r’s” at all.
    In case you missed it, reading is the only one of the “Three R’s” that actually begins with the letter “r.” Writing starts with a “w” and arithmetic begins with the letter “a.” There are two reasons we drop the “w” from “writing” and the “a” from “arithmetic”: 1. For poetic flow in the age-old saying; and, 2. many people have a secret yen to talk like the Beverly Hillbillies.

    February 23, 2014

  • Thank you for lettin’ me be myself again

    Friends and neighbors, hope I don’t sound like the biggest egomaniac since Donald Trump, but you know, I am the most interesting person I’ve ever known.
    Forgive me if — on first blush — that sounds like the most totally self-aggrandizing statement you’ve ever heard. And if you’ve headed to the restroom to express an editorial opinion about the statement above, I’ll stop for a couple minutes.

    February 15, 2014

  • Buzz misfired in Vanity Fair body slam of Duncan

    As the new kid in town, I’m reluctant to leap atop the ramparts to defend the honor of Duncan, Okla., my new adopted hometown.
    But to heck with that. When an out-of-towner comes into your house and soils your rug, it’s on.
    I speak, of course, about the article in Vanity Fair magazine about Duncan and the  killing last year of Chris Lane, the Australian who was gunned down in August.

    January 24, 2014