Governor Mary Fallin today released the following statement regarding the Oklahoma State Department of Education's release of A-F grades for public schools. The grades are available online at afreportcards.ok.gov.
"Delivering high quality public education is one of the most important things we can do in Oklahoma to increase prosperity in our state. Good schools teach children the skills they need to succeed when they enter the workforce or pursue post-secondary education. They also help to produce the highly skilled workforce that we need to retain and attract businesses and jobs to Oklahoma.
"We have many great teachers and schools that are helping to produce positive outcomes and improve student performance. Those teachers and schools deserve recognition. Unfortunately, we know we are also falling short in many areas. Historically below average NAEP scores in reading, writing and math; as well as college remediation rates higher than 40% indicate that in many instances we are failing to prepare our students for life beyond high school.
"These are problems that need to be addressed--cooperatively and with a shared sense of urgency--by lawmakers, administrators, teachers and parents. But before we can improve education, we need a system that accurately measures success and failure.
"The A-F grades delivered today provide that system. They give parents an accurate, easily understood method of measuring the quality of education their children are receiving. They also give teachers and administrators a benchmark to measure progress.
"The grades issued today, as expected, paint a mixed picture. The majority of our schools are performing adequately. Many are operating at a very high level, thanks largely to dedicated and skilled teachers.
"Some schools, however, are clearly in need of immediate improvement. The superintendents and teachers of schools receiving a D or an F must remember: a bad grade is not a punishment; it is a call to action. Parents should also understand that we are absolutely committed to helping these schools succeed.
"Oklahoma has great teachers. We have a supportive community of parents who want to play an active role in their child's education. And we have state resources committed to delivering assistance as we work to move these schools in the right direction.
"Working together, we will succeed in better preparing our kids for college and the workforce. Nothing is more important for our children or for Oklahoma's sustained prosperity."