For those of you keeping score at home, it's Oklahoma School Superintendent Janet Barresi 1, old-fashioned common sense 0.
We're referring to the Barresi-supported and highly flawed school grading system, which just this week gave more than half of Tulsa schools grades of D or F. That's right, Sooner fans, we now know that urban schools with lots of poor children have more academic problems than—surprise!—suburban schools with children from higher income families.
In other words, Barresi and her staff spent time and money to prove exactly what we (and everybody else) already knew.
As a Tulsa World editorial noted, this unfair grading system "seems designed to cast local schools in the worst possible light."
Moreover, the neither the state Department of Education nor the state legislature is likely to do much to assist the failing schools. Quoting again from the World editorial, "[I]f recent history is any guide, their 'help' will consist of shifting more money away from the local schools and loading them with more standardized test requirements."
No wonder Tulsa Public School Superintendent Keith Ballard has been critical of the state plan. Unlike Barresi, Ballard is working every day to solve real-world problems facing the school, not serving up an ideologically driven rating system that stigmatizes poor children.