Wednesday, November 30, 2005

What Will It Take?

This is really nothing new for T-Town. Yeah, our public school system overall is bad. It made the "needs improvement" list again. You can link to an article about it here.

Here is the gist of the article;

1-30-05 - Low test scores and graduation rates prompted state education officials to order 22 Oklahoma school districts, including Oklahoma City and Tulsa, to improve based on federal No Child Left Behind standards.

Tulsa and Oklahoma City, the state's two largest districts, both were criticized for low graduation rates in a report presented to the state Board of Education on Tuesday.

Schools are graded on test scores, graduation rates and the number of students who take end-of-course tests. Those failing to meet those benchmarks for two consecutive years make the "needs improvement" list.

Appearing on the list a second year, but not showing improvement are: Commerce, Oklahoma City, Tulsa, and Western Heights.

Appearing on the list a second year, but showing improvement are: Broken Arrow, Cache, Cameron, Canadian, Crooked Oak, Edmond, Grandfield, Idabel, Keota, McCurtain, Midwest City-Del City, Millwood, Okmulgee, Pittsburg, Putnam City, Shawnee, Wynnewood, and Wynona.

Do you see a trend?

The two largest public school districts in the state, Tulsa and OKC are the two worst. Broken Arrow and Edmond, the third and fourth largest cities in Oklahoma are now also on the list. Midwest City, Del City and Putnam City are also larger cities with larger schools and districts.

I am convinced that larger schools breed the apathy among students and staff alike. Students can literally disappear and fall through the cracks, while teachers are overwhelmed with behavior problems, special needs kids and paperwork.

One greatly needed reform is for smaller schools. I'm talking about high schools with less than 300 students max. That way, everyone knows everyone and you might be able to build a family-type learning conducive environment.

The old ways of traditional education coupled with the mores and attitudes of the public are not enough to reform the public education system. It will have to be reformed from without.

I know you are all sick of me beating this drum. I just hope that someday, someone with some authority will pick up on it. I think it is THE MOST CRITICAL FACTOR TO GETTING TULSA BACK ON ITS FEET!

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