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The Morning Bell: ACT or SAT, schools answer the question

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Did you grow up in Oklahoma? If so, chances are you took the ACT instead of the SAT. It has long been viewed as a Midwest test (common in Oklahoma), while the SAT was something high schoolers took if they had their sights sets on an East Coast school. 

Beginning this year, all Oklahoma high schools are required to administer the ACT or SAT for 11th graders. Nearly all schools have chosen to go with the ACT, partly a reflection of the state's comfort with the test. But 10 school districts — including Oklahoma City and Tulsa, the state's two largest — have elected to offer the SAT instead.

"We looked at how it offered a better student experience, but we also looked at it from an administrative standpoint," said Laura Buxton, the advanced placement coordinator for Oklahoma City Public Schools. "Some of the features the SAT provides us weren't quite there with ACT."

I recently wrote about the school districts that are going with the SAT and why they made that choice. 

--CHARTER SCHOOL LAWSUIT: Oklahoma City and Tulsa schools have taken action in response to a lawsuit filed against the state by a charter school association, possibly out of fear that the state Board of Education was working on a settlement that would shift money from traditional public schools to charters. 

Andrea Eger of the Tulsa World has a story on the steps taken by the state's two largest district. 

Tulsa Public Schools offered the following statement: “Intervention in this suit is not our first choice. We believe that this issue deserves a legislative solution that is lawful, sustainable, and equitable. We are also concerned about the accelerated pace of the lawsuit and do not have the information we need to understand the legal, fiscal, and programmatic impact on Oklahoma school districts.”

An Oklahoma charter school association filed a lawsuit this summer over how charters are funded compared to traditional public schools. 

If the state Board of Education is planning a settlement it seems likely that would involve a change in how the state's school funding formula is interpreted. If that were the case, OKCPS and Tulsa could argue a change should come from the Legislature, rather than a just a different reading of state statute. 

Alexa Martinez, 3, foreground. At left is Allison Salas, a second grade student at Dove Academy. Story on growth in bilingual services at Capitol Hill Library, 327 SW 27. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman
Alexa Martinez, 3, foreground. At left is Allison Salas, a second grade student at Dove Academy. Story on growth in bilingual services at Capitol Hill Library, 327 SW 27. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman

--NEW SOUTHSIDE LIBRARY: Just one block from Capitol Hill Elementary in south Oklahoma City is the new Capitol Hill Library, which has OKC's largest collection of Spanish-language books and other media resources. As you can see from the photo above, the new library, which is less than one month old, has been a hit with the many kids in the area and local residents see it as an educational tool for a community that can often feel forgotten. 

"This is how we are going to win our children back from the streets, by teaching them to read things that will take them to other places, so they know there are others places besides this neighborhood," said Mary Sosa, a south Oklahoma City resident and advocate. "The world is open to them."

--NO FAN OF SCHOOL PLAN: Oklahoma has submitted its new school plan to the U.S. Department of Education and is awaiting final approval. But some groups have already raised concerns, including the National Down Syndrome Congress and The Advocacy Institute who disagree with Oklahoma's use of student subgroups. 

Oklahoma Watch's Jennifer Palmer took a look at the responses the state Department of Education has received over specifics in the plan and she highlights some of those concerns. 

--TALKING #OKLAED: Gubernatorial candidate Drew Edmondson paid a visit to Miami on his campaign trail, where he talked about a variety of issues, including the state of education in Oklahoma. 

“If all you do is fund a teacher pay raise, then all the kids are still using outmoded textbooks held together with duck tape,” said Edmondson, according to the Miami News-Record. “We have to also bring up the level of expenditures per pupil to the schools to get our textbooks current and get our facilities that schools need to teach.

--SPECIAL SESSION UPDATE: Ahead of big revenue vote, $3,000 teacher raise advances, via NonDoc. But without a revenue plan in place, and one not likely given the continued stalemate in the Legislature, don't count on the teacher pay raise becoming a reality soon. Yesterday, thousands visited the Capitol to urge lawmakers to find a solution to the state's budget solution. 

That does it for today's Morning Bell. Got questions, comments or story ideas? Hit me up at bfelder@oklahoman.com. 

Have a great Wednesday!

Related Photos
Alexa Martinez, 3, foreground. At left is Allison Salas, a second grade student at Dove Academy. Story on growth in bilingual services at Capitol Hill Library, 327 SW 27. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman

Alexa Martinez, 3, foreground. At left is Allison Salas, a second grade student at Dove Academy. Story on growth in bilingual services at Capitol Hill Library, 327 SW 27. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-763c0499443d1a969b1a035eb6849dfc.jpg" alt="Photo - Alexa Martinez, 3, foreground. At left is Allison Salas, a second grade student at Dove Academy. Story on growth in bilingual services at Capitol Hill Library, 327 SW 27. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman" title="Alexa Martinez, 3, foreground. At left is Allison Salas, a second grade student at Dove Academy. Story on growth in bilingual services at Capitol Hill Library, 327 SW 27. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman"><figcaption>Alexa Martinez, 3, foreground. At left is Allison Salas, a second grade student at Dove Academy. Story on growth in bilingual services at Capitol Hill Library, 327 SW 27. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman</figcaption></figure>
Ben Felder

Ben Felder is an investigative reporter for The Oklahoman. A native of Kansas City, Ben has lived in Oklahoma City since 2010 and covered politics, education and local government for the Oklahoma Gazette before joining The Oklahoman in 2016.... Read more ›

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