Education Week ranks Oklahoma 26th

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at
Fri Jan 9 19:44:32 UTC 2009

Education Week ranks Oklahoma 26th

Patty Miller
The Edmond Sun

EDMOND — Education Week reported Wednesday that Oklahoma is the
nation's 26th best education system.

Its "Quality Counts" score was up two rankings from 2008.

The 13th annual "Quality Counts," graded Oklahoma with an overall
score of 76.1, a "C," which was the national average. No state earned
a score higher than 84.7.

Oklahoma's scores were among the nation's highest, in several
sub-categories including teaching profession (the nation's 10th best),
standards and assessments (13th best) and policies related to
transitions and alignment (15th best)

Perfect scores were given for school accountability and for education
policies related to the economy and workforce.

"Education is the key to economic success and social progress in our
region," Southern Regional Education Board President Dave Spence said
in a press release. "States that are raising student achievement and
graduation rates are overcoming the poverty and social challenges that
our region has faced historically."

The Quality Counts report estimates that nearly 1.4 million students
in the 16 SREB states now receive English Language Learner services.
More than one in four ELL students nationally are not making progress
in student achievement, the report shows, and rates are lower in some
SREB states. ELL student achievement already is a major issue in
several SREB states, the report shows, including Arkansas, Florida,
Louisiana, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas.

The report notes that few states require training for all teachers in
English-language-learner instruction, and that only 33 states have set
standards for the instruction of English-learners. Florida — an SREB
state — is one of only three states nationwide that require all
prospective teachers to show they are competent to teach these

The report also shows that even though states will need tens of
thousands of additional English-as-a-second-language teachers in the
next five years, only 11 states currently offer scholarships, tuition
reimbursements or other incentives for teachers to become specialists
in the field. Oklahoma is not one of these states.

This year's Quality Counts report also stresses the need for states to
continue improvements in high school and college graduation rates as
the region is seeing more students who are learning to speak English.
Percentages of students from Hispanic and other backgrounds are rising
significantly in SREB states.

"The bottom line is we're moving forward and this annual study
recognizes that," said State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Sandy Garrett. "Researchers for this report work daily with education
law and policy changes, so their improved outlook for Oklahoma is

"However, doing better and more than other states isn't enough. The
global race is on to increase the number of students who graduate from
high school ready for college and today's competitive workplace, and
we have no intention of slowing down our efforts," Garrett said.

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