Capitol Beat OK

Rise in administrative costs linked to ‘never-ceasing waves of new accountability measures

To The Editor:

If the numbers you cited in Monday’s story about the Education Rally are correct – an increase of 49 percent in administrative costs – the simplest explanation would be the never-ceasing waves of new accountability measures coming from “on high.”

Be it teacher evaluation, which in and of itself is still not set in stone and is changing, common core (which is a great unknown), a plethora of tests, the Reading Sufficiency Act (are we keeping it or not?), and more and more reporting to the SDE (State Department of Education).

A given data item may be sent to the SDE multiple times. Some of these reports require a ream of paper and many hours of staff time to produce.  The correlation between administrative costs and student growth is a moot point. If our student numbers dropped, the administrative costs would probably continue to rise due to the sheer volume of reporting, paperwork, changes in policy, new policy, etc.

We need things to level out so that we who are in the school business can get back to the business of educating the young people of Oklahoma.

Additionally, the rally was not explicitly about more money. Another component that seems to be left out in reporting is that we are testing these kids so much that we are losing opportunities to teach them. Someone told me a very simple analogy that fits here – no matter how many times you weigh a hog, weighing it is not going to make it gain weight.

We need to cut out the notion that our schools are doing poorly. We are doing a good job of educating our young people.  Sure we need some accountability, but no matter how many times you test a student, the testing is not going to increase his/her knowledge of the subject. Time spent in a classroom with a teacher will increase that.

We cannot and should not try to make every students fit into a certain “box”. When I was in school, and I am sure when you were in school, that was not the case. I cannot speak for you but I received a pretty darn good education (1979 graduate). “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” ― Albert Einstein

We all know people who did not fit the mold in their youth but have become very productive citizens, some even downright successful. To counter my points, you will hear things alluding to the fact that this is not the 1960s or 1970s, and that this generation has to have a more stringent education to be successful.

Really, I am not buying that. What this generation needs that I believe your generation and mine had with more frequency, are a strong work ethic and the ability to stick with a task or job. In this ever-changing world being able to think outside the box and to roll up one’s sleeves and work is a priceless commodity.

In closing, I appreciate the work you put into your bulletins. I have gleaned much from them over the years. I have watched you on Sunday morning television news for some time and I generally agree with your views and comments.

I just wanted to take this opportunity to express some of my concerns with components that I believe are left out of the discussion and may help to give you a more complete picture of education.
Thank you,

Wayland Kimble
Chandler Public School Superintendent
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