Ben Felder with the Oklahoman compared every Oklahoma school’s poverty rates to the letter grade they received on the 2015 A-F School Report Card. His analysis shows that schools with lower grades typically had much higher levels of poverty, and schools with high grades were usually in more affluent areas.
Based on the analysis, Felder found that the poverty rate for an A school in the state is 45 percent.
“As you move down the grading list, the poverty rate grows bigger — B: 58 percent, C: 67 percent, D: 76 percent, and F: 84 percent."
In Oklahoma County, which is home to school districts in Oklahoma City, Edmond and Midwest City, the income gap between A and F schools is even starker. The average in Oklahoma County is A: 29 percent, B: 56 percent, C: 67 percent, D: 77 percent, and F: 83 percent.”
However there are 23 schools in Oklahoma with poverty rates higher than 90 percent and with a grade of A or B. Another 49 A and B schools have a poverty rate in the 80s.
Felder reports that, overall, the disparity highlights the challenges students living in poverty face when it comes to school performance.
Oklahoma’s School Report Card system has been widely criticized by educators all over the state, and by education researchers. The 2016 Report Cards, released Thursday, are the last time the grades will be calculated using the controversial system.
The State Department of Education is working on a new A-F grading system that will take student progress into account as well as student achievement on test scores. Non-academic measures will also be figured in to the grade, using a metrics like school attendance, or access to advanced coursework. Superintendent Joy Hofmeister says this new method will provide a more accurate view of what’s going on in schools, as opposed to just a snapshot of how students are doing on state tests.