Oklahoma’s state school board wants to make sure not only that principals around the state report data on school-dropout and college-remediation rates, but also that the data get presented to local school boards for discussion.
“What’s happened, in my opinion, is that there was little information given to locally elected school board members about these two issues,” said state schools Superintendent Sandy Garrett, who proposed the rule at a state board of education meeting on April 24.
Her recommendation—approved unanimously by the board and awaiting an expected signature by Gov. Brad Henry—would require schools serving grades 7-12 to send the principal or a representative to two meetings a year on the dropout and readiness issues.
One meeting would take place each November on dropout rates. The second meeting would happen in January or February and address college-remediation data, outlining how many incoming college freshmen from each Oklahoma high school need remedial classes in math, science, English, and reading.
“In training with school board members, … I found that they knew very little about their local dropout rates and remediation rates per site,” Ms. Garrett said. “It had not been a discussion, nor had it even been given to the local boards in many cases.”
And while the requirement might carry a hint of micromanagement, the proposal has support of local education officials.
“An important part of the superintendent’s role is giving the local board all of the information about what is going on in the school,” said Randall Raburn, the executive director of the Oklahoma Association of School Administrators, which represents district superintendents.
Linda Everett, the executive director of the Oklahoma Association of Secondary School Principals, which represents more than 900 high school principals, agreed.
“Working together is the only way we achieve success, and I’m a big believer in collaboration,” she said. “Principals … appreciate the support of board members and members of the community as they work to encourage students to stay in school.”