State Takeover Of Under Performing OKC Schools Not Likely

Wednesday, February 22nd 2012, 7:08 pm
By: News 9

Oklahoma City School officials are worried about a possible takeover of some of its schools. State education officials said that's not in the cards.

Twenty-four schools in Oklahoma City are on what's known as the "needs improvement list." Under No Child Left Behind, those schools could be under federal control.

A waiver for Oklahoma is now shifting the responsibility to the state and it has leaders with the Oklahoma City School District concerned.

Before submitting a plan to improve two dozen schools in Oklahoma City, School Board Chair Angela Monson and Superintendent Karl Springer expressed concerns about the idea of a state takeover of low performing schools.

"We, as a local education agency, do have the capacity to turn around our schools," said Monson. "We're not objecting to parameters being established, but think we should have been afforded the opportunity to work with them."

OKCPS District's improvement plans include hiring extra trainers for teachers, creating advisory boards, and also offering after-school programs for struggling students.

Monson said interventions implemented in OKC schools in the last couple of years should prove the district is already moving forward, but the district needed the state education department to work with them, not threaten them.

"We're not talking about that, First of all, the state is not interested in taking over, [but] rather identifying ways to better work together, [to] get the politics out of the process, Let's focus on what's best for the students," Damon Gardenhire, spokesman for the Department of Education, said.

Gardenhire said the waiver requires the state to identify chronically failing schools that miss the mark year after year.

"What we're encouraging is that everybody come to the table with solutions and look at those solutions, figure out best practices, and what's working and let's focus on that."

State Representative Jason Nelson, (R-Oklahoma City), is also offering a bill that calls for a partnership between local school boards and the state.

Here is a list of the 24 under performing schools:

ASTEC Charter M.S. , Bodine Elementary, Capitol Hill High School, DOVE Science Academy Elementary, F.D. Moon Academy, Hupfeld Academy/Western Village, Jackson Middle School, Jefferson Middle School, John Marshall Middle School, Lee Elementary, M.L. King, Jr., Elementary, Marcus Garvey Leadership Charter, Rogers Middle School, Roosevelt Middle School, Santa Fe South Middle School Charter, Shidler Elementary, Star Spencer High School, Thelma R. Parks Elementary, Wheeler Elementary, Douglass Middle School, Justice A.W. Seeworth Academy, Oklahoma Centennial Middle School, U.S. Grant High School, Oklahoma Centennial High School.