OSDE Approves Accreditation With Deficiencies

KTUL - August 25, 2023 6:19 am

Tulsa Public Schools is still under local control. It appears Dr. Deborah Gist’s attempt to voluntarily resign to buy the district some time actually worked.

The Oklahoma State Department of Education’s meeting took place on Thursday morning to decide the future of TPS.

State Superintendent Ryan Walters issued the same threat, three times, to TPS after approving their accreditation with deficiencies.

“I will not let this district fail. If they do not fix these problems, I will. The clock has started, there will be accountability, this district will not be allowed to fail,” said Walters.

Walters did not tell the truth of Gist’s voluntary resignation, instead implying the district forced her out.

“Kids deserve action. I would love for that action to come from Tulsa Public Schools itself. I would love to see that change happen. I do believe the board has made a significant step in rooting out the cancer of the district that caused so many problems,” said Walters.

To placate the state board, Tulsa’s school board did not object to his incorrect assertion, but promised rapid change within the next three to four months, with monthly in-person progress reports to the state board.

Tulsa Representative Regina Goodwin was not impressed.

“What is unfortunate is the climate we’re operating in. When I talk to teachers and they tell me there is a culture of intimidation that has been fostered by this state board. By our superintendent. I heard you say ‘Don’t test me’. Or you’re going to do something. Folks don’t need threats, folks need assistance. We don’t need a state board that attacks. We need a state board that assists and understands,” said Goodwin.

Several parents said Walters’ rhetoric has directly led to ongoing threats to student safety in Tulsa.

“You say we need a strong leader, but you’re only really strong when you’re making videos in your car or holding a private press conference in a closed press, answering softball questions on Fox News, or bullying librarians on Twitter while police search her home and school for a bomb threat not one day, not two days, but three days in a row. It happened today,” said a Tulsa parent.

What did come out of it was a conversation between boards. Tulsa and the state, on ways to improve outcomes for our kids.

The state board began Thursday’s meeting with two other votes. One is to keep programs funded by the Chinese government out of Oklahoma schools. The other is to tell schools to only use one set of pronouns per student corresponding to their birth certificate.


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