Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Up to Our Eyeballs in Alligators

As parents and students are preparing for the start of another school year, I am reminded of the person who is up to their eyeballs with alligators in a swamp, looking for a way to drain it. Maybe it's too late to drain the swamp...but I don't think so.

The issue that I have been blogging about the longest,(public education in Tulsa), is now front and center with the local media. Just in time for our poor parents to put their kids in school. Here is a link from KJRH about the ability to transfer, but there is much more to this story.

First of all, the 23 schools is the wrong number and only pertain to the Tulsa elementary and middle schools. The needs improvement list identifies 38 schools, including high schools that failed the API index for two or more consecutive years and is a result of the Federal Legislation called the "No Child Left Behind Act". You can learn more about the list and the law from the Oklahoma State Department of Education website. Schools that don't meet standarized criteria for two years in a row are put on this list. The result is that the local school district must offer parent the choice to transfer to any other school in the district that the parent so chooses.

The spokesperson for Tulsa Public Schools (TPS) was bragging about how last year 11% of parents eligible for the open transfer took advantage of it, and that all indications this year is that percentage would be less. I also noticed that TPS was being very creative by adding additional school days and starting school early for some of the Northside schools (attendance is one of the criteria used to determine the list). This really does not seem "fair" and creates a false sense of compliance as compared to the other schools with fewer school days.

What is not mentioned in the KJRH article, but is so germaine is the situation in the public high schools here in Tulsa. KOTV mentioned it on their newscast last evening. But I think what they said was wrong. I know that 7 of 9 TPS high schools are now officially on the list. This includes Edison. The only two not on the list are Booker T. Washington (BTW) and Memorial. Now Memorial may only be about 6 months away from being on the list as they failed it for the first time earlier this year. It takes two years of failing to make the list. What was said on KOTV was that there were no schools for parents of high schoolers to tranfer to, since all were on the list.

But Memorial is not and neither is BTW.

By the way, BTW is the best school in the district, with the highest API score. But TPS will not let you seek a transfer there. I guarantee the good ole boy network is alive and well at the education service center and the educational establishment.

They have had the bully pulpit regarding education since the beginning. And the results are disasterous and they continue to degrade. Parents, its past time to take a deep breath and dive for the drain plug to empty the swamp of failure in Tulsa's public education. Only then will we begin to see our beautiful city begin to turn around in a meaningful way.

1 comment:

D.Schuttler said...

Any system that would rather start school earlier in the year to keep students from taking tests after Christmas break because the students will not retain the subjects in their brain, during the 2 weeks out and cause worse test scores. A better idea would be finding a better teaching sysytem so the students will retain the knowledge longer than 2 weeks. When TPS admits to their faults maybe then the TPS calendar will be the same year after year along with the start times.