TPS thinks it’s doing a good job on it’s own. “I think we’re doing a pretty good job with our reform measures,” said Tulsa Public Schools Superintendent, Dr. Keith Ballard. State Senator Brian Crain says he’s seen it for himself. He spent time at Nathan Hale High School Thursday through the Legislators in the Classroom program. It’s one of schools on the low performing list. Senator Crain says he’s seen first hand that Nathan Hale has good teachers and students.
Still, the Oklahoma State Department of Education has submitted an application to the federal government that includes taking over of low performing schools as part of applying for a No Child Left Behind Act wavier. Tulsa Public Schools says the takeover inclusion sent shock waves through district. Dr. Keith Ballard says the change would mean turning the education of Tulsa kids over to the private sector, which he says would be less accountable to parents. Senator Crain agrees. “I can tell you as an adult, as a parent, and as a legislator, that I don’t know anything that the state of Oklahoma or the Department of Education could do that we couldn’t already be doing for ourselves,” he explained.
TPS is concerned about how the process would work and the financial fallout. If the state takes over, he says the district would lose 40% of Title One funds. Those funds are given for low income students. He says that could have a devastating impact on the district. However Dr. Ballard says it’s out of their hands and up to the U.S. Department of Education. He says there really isn’t much it can do at this point, but wait it out.