Board Rules on ACE Appeals
The State Board of Education in its regular monthly meeting on Thursday approved recommendations on 88 appeals for waivers from Achieving Classroom Excellence graduation requirements. The board continued four appeals to a special meeting to be held at 10 a.m. Aug. 3. Of the appeals voted on, the board approved waivers for seven students based on extenuating circumstances; the board approved three waivers because the students have been accepted into a selective university; 70 appeals were denied based on evidence the student did not meet criteria for granting an exception; and eight appeals were dismissed for a variety of reasons, including several who had already met ACE requirements through alternative assessments or projects, two who actually met ACE requirements their sophomore and junior years, and one appeal that was removed at the request of a parent. A fifth-year senior was granted an appeal because the student was a freshman before the legislation became law.
Test Results Show Positive Impact of ACE Legislation
The Board heard a report on state test results that showed improvement on third-through eighth-grade tests as well as significant gains in the number of students passing high school end-of-instruction exams. In Algebra II, for example, the passing rate jumped more than 20 points in the last four years. Gains were noted in other areas as well, such as Algebra I, English III and Geometry. State Superintendent Janet Barresi said the results show that Achieving Classroom Excellence legislation is having a desired effect on students and preparing them for life in the 21st Century. There were areas, such as fifth-grade writing, third-grade math, and fourth-grade reading, where more focus is needed, Barresi said.
State Aid Initial Allocations Explained
Board members were given an explanation of this year’s initial state aid allocation to Oklahoma School districts. State law requires the State Department of Education to fund each public school student in the state, whether they attend traditional public schools, charter schools or are full-time virtual students. The amount funded is calculated on weights attached to each student, which include special education, bilingual, gifted and talented, or economically disadvantaged. State aid is distributed based on the Average Daily Membership (ADM) of each school in the state and the weights attached to each student. The state this year has an anticipated growth of 11,000 weighted ADM – the largest growth ever recorded by the State Department of Education. The state also anticipates more charter school students this year based on seven new charter school applications. State law allows funding for virtual students only at midyear, so money was retained to fund those students at that time. Board members were told that in years past, when too little was retained in the initial allocation, districts suffered at midyear when they could not be given enough money to keep up with student growth. This year, the state worked to shield districts from such action at midyear.
Accreditation Report Delivered
The 2012-13 Accreditation Report for each school district in the state was delivered to Board members Thursday. For the coming school year, there are 372 nonpublic, public, charter, and career and technology education districts accredited with no deficiencies; 83 with one deficiency; 27 with multiple deficiencies; 111 districts accredited with a warning; and 9 listed as on probation.