TULSA - Oklahoma's new A through F school grading system has been a point of contention since its adoption.
Around 300 Oklahoma school superintendents, including Tulsa Public Schools Superintendent Keith Ballard, have opposed the rankings, saying the new system's grading formula is too tough and expects too much of growth.
But the release of its underwhelming results Thursday has stirred up further discontent among Tulsa school administrators.
A quick check of the newly released grades shows Tulsa Public Schools received four As, nine Bs, 18 Cs, 37 Ds and eight Fs. Mobile readers click this link - http://bit.ly/tpsgrades - to see all the schools in the Tulsa district.
Ballard, who praised the state board for postponing the release earlier this month, says this was not the outcome he and hundreds of other superintendents were hoping for.
"I do not believe that these grades are a fair assessment of what is going on," he said. "I think it is demoralizing to teachers and students and I think it sends a confusing message to parents."
Ballard says he's in support of an A through F grading scale but was hoping his and other superintendent's input would matter.
"The way I see it, is that Superintendent [Janet] Barresi wanted this formula even though we had shown that there were flaws in it and even though we could not find any other state that had done it in this manner," said Ballard.
Ballard has reason to be upset. Eight of the 10 Oklahoma schools to receive an F were TPS schools.
He says he recognizes some schools are struggling, but low income -- not ineffective teaching or administerial strategies -- is the biggest reason why.
"The biggest indicator of low achievement is poverty," Ballard said. "I don't want to make any excuses, I want to say that we are going to do everything we can and we have been doing everything we can to improve student achievement."
Barresi has described the A through F system as simple and "easily communicated to the public," and says it will provide greater transparency for schools, allowing students and parents to see how their schools are performing.
To view the complete list of grades, visit the Oklahoma Department of Education (http://bit.ly/athroughf) online.
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