The past few years have brought some mixed results on the education front for Oklahoma with Education Week both praising and then criticizing the state in 2006 and 2007 "Quality Counts" reports.
However, the recent trend continues with a 2007 U.S. Chamber of Commerce Report that gives Oklahoma a "D" in education. Here's a breakdown of the report and the reasons for our low grade.
About the U.S. ChamberA private organization made up of over 3 million businesses across the country as well as a number of state/local chambers and trade associations, the U.S. Chamber of the Commerce has been lobbying for business interests nationwide since 1912.
Their interest in education stems from the notion that the students are the future of the United States business community. Studying the current state of the educational system is the first step in what they hope is an increased involvement by private business organizations. Within the report, the Chamber writes:
...for too long the business community has been willing to leave education to the politicians and the educators...
About the ReportEntitled "Leaders and Laggards: A State-by-State Report Card on Educational Effectiveness," the U.S. Chamber's report is, along with the aforementioned Education Week study, one of the more extensive available today. The primary difference between it and the studies of other organizations is that it concentrates particularly on "academic outcomes with attention to key business metrics."
It scores each state based on the following criteria:
- Academic Achievement: Student performance on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) tests
- Academic Achievement of Low-Income and Minority Students: Minority and Low-Income student performance on NAEP tests
- Return on Investment: Student achievement compared to amount of education money spent
- Truth in Advertising About Student Proficiency: Difference between number of students deemed proficient by state and by NAEP
- Rigor of Standards: Difficulty of classes and curriculum requirements
- Postsecondary and Workforce Readiness: Graduation rates, AP scores, College attendance rates
- 21st Century Teaching Force: Teaching certification requirements and alternative certification methods
- Flexibility in Management and Policy: Management control by principals, Charter school laws
- Data Quality: Effort to collect, study and report educational data
Oklahoma PerformanceOklahoma scored a "D" overall in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce study, but there were a couple of troubling scores, including two failing grades.
An "F" score in "Truth in Advertising About Student Proficiency" was credited to the fact that state student scores are higher on the Oklahoma tests than on the National tests.
Oklahoma scored well in only one category, "21st Century Teaching Force." The state received it's only "A" there.
Here's the report card for Oklahoma, along with a small sampling of neighboring states:
U.S. Chamber Education Report Card - State Comparison
|Education Standard Category||Oklahoma||Texas||Arkansas||Kansas||Missouri|
|Academic Achievement of Low-Income and Minority Students||D||A||C||A||D|
|Return on Investment||C||B||D||A||B|
|Truth in Advertising About Student Proficiency||F||D||B||C||A|
|Rigor of Standards||C||B||C||D||D|
|Postsecondary and Workforce Readiness||D||B||C||C||D|
|21st Century Teaching Force||A||B||A||C||B|
|Flexibility in Management and Policy||C||C||C||D||C|
|Overall Average Grade||D||B||C||C||C|