Endangers Choice for Some Charter School Families
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla., April 17, 2015 — The Oklahoma Chapter of PublicSchoolOptions.org, the largest parent-led school choice group in the state of Oklahoma, released a statement today on SB 782, highlighting some of the specific reasons why the bill hurts supporters of schools of choice.
Colleen Cook, Oklahoma Chapter Chair: “Oklahomans should remember that SB 782 has a long history. This bill started out long ago as one that was very, very bad for school choice advocates. We’ve fought to make this bill a lot better than it was, and I’m proud that PSO was an integral player in that fight. With that said, there are some specific problems that this bill presents for the future of our schools, and Oklahoma voters need to consider them carefully.”
— SB 782 relies on a flawed A-F school grading system. Oklahoma voters and legislators of all political stripes agree that the current A-F school grading system is a flawed mechanism for assessing the success or failure of a school. In fact, a recent PSO poll of 600 registered voters found that 74% of Oklahomans believe that the letter grade given a school is not accurate.
— SB 782 uses a non-existent “average student” to judge schools rather than individual student performance. Oklahoma voters overwhelmingly believe that individual student performance should be the unit of analysis when it comes to measuring how school perform, rather than taking action or making decisions based on rolled-up student averages of whole student populations.
— SB 782 ultimately takes choice away from parents by putting the fate of a school into the hands of unelected bureaucrats. Under the legislation being considered, if a school does not perform to an arbitrary standard set by the state, a school could be shut down by the state board of education without recourse. Such action takes choice out of the hands of parents and puts it into the hands of individuals who have never met the students whose lives they are changing.
Cook continued, “Though there are parts of this bill that are good for school choice, there are still some fundamental flaws. Oklahomans should ask their legislators why these measures are included. PSO has worked very hard to improve this legislation. As a result, we have much-improved legislation being sent to the Governor. With that said, Oklahomans cannot let political expediency driven by out of state interests get in the way of sound public policy. We look forward to continuing to spotlight these problems in the future in order to ensure that every parent has the right to determine what is best for his or her student’s educational future.”