I think just about everyone in the state of Oklahoma remembers the Health Care Exchange debacle. Governor Fallin wanted to take 45 million dollars so Oklahoma could set up health care exchanges even prior to the determination by the Supreme Court as to whether Obamacare was even Constitutional.
Apparently, our governor is at it again.
May 2, 2012, the Administrative Rules and Government Oversight Committee met and disapproved the A-F grading system rules created by the Oklahoma State Department of Education. [For those uninitiated, there was a bill (HB1456) passed by the legislature last year (authored by Representative Lee Denney) which created the A-F nomenclature for Oklahoma schools - not the grading system itself - the formula upon which the grading was to rest, was left up to the SDE to determine.]
I am creating another more in-depth blog about the process, so I won't go into detail here. I simply want to point out a couple of things:
- The A-F grading system is the backbone of the NCLB waiver. Those schools considered failing, according to the grading system, will be taken over by the SDE and subjected to something called the Turnaround model (even more information here).
- To implement the Turnaround model, the SDE applies for something called School Improvement Grants (SIG).
All of these things are written about extensively in the waiver. They are ALL processes created by the FEDERAL DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION. This program - A-F school grading - is a method by which local control of schools is usurped using money - from a federal government trillions of dollars in debt.
May 2, three things happened:
- The State Department of Education posted a press release saying that it was receiving nearly 6 MILLION dollars in SIG grants.
- Mary Fallin issued a press release reaffirming her support of the A-F system.
- The A-F grading system was disapproved by the Administrative Rules and Government Oversight Committee.
Here's our take on that situation:
The A-F system is now FINALLY under scrutiny by the legislators who passed the bill last year under the pretense that this would be a way for parents to finally understand how well their school was working for them. I can't imagine they had any idea at the time that this would be used as part of the NCLB waiver and all the punitive rules for 'failing' schools that came along with them. Now, if, using the A-F formula, a school is found to be a D or F school, the SDE can come in and take over a school - including 20% of its Title 1 Funding to implement the Turnaround model. Gone is local control - the state assumes control - using federal money and a federally prescribed program which hasn't even worked in Arne Duncan's OWN Chicago school district, let alone others!
The Governor and Dr. Barresi realize that if the A-F grading system goes down - the WAIVER GOES DOWN - and WITH IT the newly minted 6 million dollars in SIG grants.
So, once again we have to ask ourselves...education 'reform' is it about the kids, the parents, the schools - or is it really, only about money?