Oklahoma Lawmakers Debate Over Controversial School Grading Bill

Thursday, February 23rd 2017, 5:37 pm
By: Aaron Brilbeck

The state house of representatives passed a bill today dealing with the grading of schools. But opponents say the bill is nothing more than "institutionalized racism." 

The bill is supposed to help identify schools in need of improvement. But opponents say it gives higher grades to black and minority children, just because of the color of their skin.

"Are you really comfortable with black children being told that you've got a lower bar?" asked Rep. Regina Goodwin, D-District 73.

The bill would revise the current A-through-F system used to grade schools. Instead, students would be evaluated based on a point system, with more points given to minority students.

Opponents say that falsely inflates school grades and does nothing to help academically struggling minority students.

"The only opportunity that we have as legislators to say we don't want to institutionalize racism; saying that we're not going to help black kids in inner city school districts,” said Democratic House Minority Leader Scott Inman. “We're just going to fudge the numbers, pencil whip the system, and get them into it so we don't have to fix the system if you don't support it this is our only vote."

“First of all, I never said that I believe in this system, this or that. I think anybody that knows me knows I'm not one who believes in giving everyone a trophy. I believe everyone should move forward based on what they're doing," said Rep. Michael Rogers, R-District 98.

Backers of the plan say it's just a starting point, and that they expect all students to reach the same levels of proficiency regardless of race.