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State school board member talks about school grading system

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LAWTON, Okla_A member of Oklahoma's Board of Education thinks the A-F School grading System will help put Oklahoma schools on the right track. Retired Major General Lee Baxter of Lawton said it will help everyone understand how their school is doing and which areas need the most improvement.

Ever since the grades were released, it seems like no matter who you talk to they've got something to say about it. While some parents are hesitant to accept the new plan, Baxter is sure this is what's best for Oklahoma public schools.

Oklahoma School Board member Lee Baxter wants you to know the new A-F grading system is here to help.

"It is intended to let everyone know where their school stands and to highlight those areas that schools can improve upon and increase the quality of education for the kids."

But he's not saying it's perfect. In fact the reaction he's gotten from superintendents overall has been mixed.

"You know the system will get better over time. We will make changes to the way it's done and it'll get better through the process."

Baxter said the plan isn't trying to place blame on anyone.

"The whole community has to be involved if you want to improve. You got to have great teachers in the classroom, we got to have good administrators, we got to have parents who care, and we got to have accountability for outcomes and I think that's what A-F is really about."

We wanted to know how the Lawton schools are reacting to the grades they received so we put in a call to the superintendent's office and received a statement which read:

"We feel the data used by the A-F grading system is accurate, but we are concerned that the formula used to produce these grades has issues and unfairly penalizes our students and teacher that work so hard. We are proud of our schools and overall performance rating, but we know there is still much work to be done to achieve the desired level of performance."

As for reactions from other superintendents in the area, Cache Superintendent Randy Batt said they are very pleased with their scores and will use them as a benchmark to improve for the coming year. Altus Superintendent Bob Drury was not available for a comment and when we called the Duncan Superintendent office this morning we were hung up on before we got a chance to get the question across.

If you're wondering, Lawton schools scored above the Oklahoma average. Of the 31 schools graded, there were no failing grades, along with 3 A's, 19 B's and only 9 C's.

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