Oklahoma placed in the top 10 in the nation in overall grades issued by Education Week's 2006 "Quality Counts" report card. But the 2007 report doesn't have quite as much good news for our state. Using new criteria this year to evaluate the nation's public education systems by state, the report is in its 10th year and is highly regarded in the industry as one of the most comprehensive reports available.
Quality CountsBased in Washington D.C., Education Week is one of the more respected educational trade publications in the United States. "Quality Counts," first launched in January of 1997, set out to evaluate the nation's public school systems by a particular set of standards. These standards would be testable and result in an annual report to measure educational progress around the country.
In its own progression, the report has become more and more detailed. The 2007 version is entitled "From Cradle to Career," and it breaks down a meticulous state-by-state examination of the nation's public school systems as well as offering an overall state of public education in the U.S.
After weighing each category, the report gives a "Chance-For-Success Index" score that is based on 13 indicators highlighting "whether young children get off to a good start, succeed in elementary and secondary school, and hit crucial educational and economic benchmarks as adults." The report measures and grades education systems under the following categories:
- Family Income
- Parent Education
- Parental Employment
- Linguistic Integration
- Preschool Enrollment
- Kindergarten Enrollment
- Elementary Reading
- Middle School Mathematics
- High School Graduation
- Postsecondary Participation
- Adult Educational Attainment
- Annual Income
- Steady Employment
Oklahoma's MarksThe state of Oklahoma was ranked 40th overall in the nation in the "Chance-For-Success Index."
Oklahoma scored highest and above the national average in Linguistic Integration, meaning the state had a high percentage of parents who are fluent English speakers. The state also did well in Steady Employment.
The state's lowest deviation from the national average came in the category of Family Income, but Oklahoma also scored poorly in both Elementary Reading and Middle School Mathematics, two categories that measure student proficiency on the National Assessment of Education Progress.
Overall, Oklahoma lost points in 8 of the 13 categories and only gained in the two mentioned above.
What it MeansWith the new set of standards for the 2007 report, Oklahoma's educational system doesn't look nearly as "headed in the right direction" as last year. However, much of that is attributable to state factors rather than necessarily educational ones.
Oklahoma State Superintendent Sandy Garrett, while very complimentary of the new changes to the research method, was critical of the report not taking things like "teacher quality" and "school funding" into consideration.
Other educational officials such as Keith Ballard, Executive Director of the Oklahoma State School Boards Association have remarked that gains are being made in the areas of the report in which the state scored poorly.
Quality Counts 2007 Report - State Comparison
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